Experienced USCG Civilian Defense Attorney
Like every other branch of the military, the United States Coast Guard is governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Under the UCMJ, a Coast Guard member or officer accused of misconduct will have those allegations investigated by the commanding officer or by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, the federal law enforcement agency empowered to investigate wrongdoing in the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard is significantly smaller than the other branches of the military, with less than half the number of active duty members compared to the Navy or Air Force Reserve. But despite the small size, every month hundreds of Coast Guard members and officers face some form of military justice. In the second quarter of 2018 alone, non-judicial punishment was imposed 142 times. Combined, members were sentenced to more than $16,000 in pay forfeiture, over 2,700 days of restriction, and more than 2,100 days of extra duty. These penalties are only a fraction of what members convicted at trial by court-martial received.
A conviction at trial by court-martial can cost you everything: your career, your freedom, and in the most serious cases your life. But if you fight back, you may be able to avoid a conviction altogether.
The first step towards winning your trial by court-martial is obtaining tough, experienced defense counsel that will never be intimidated. Attorney Patrick J. McLain is a retired Marine Corps military judge who has the experience to take on any type of case the U.S. Coast Guard may bring.
- USCG Base Kodiak
- USCG Sector Juneau
- USCG ATC Mobile
- USCG Air Station Los Angeles
- USCG Air Station San Francisco
- USCG Group Humboldt Bay
- USCG Sector LA-Long Beach
- USCG Sector San Diego
- Coast Guard Academy
- USCG Sector Long Island Sound
- USCG Air Station Miami
- USCG Sector Jacksonville
- USCG Sector Key West
- USCG Sector Honolulu
- USCG Air Station Cape Cod
- USCG Sector Boston
- USCG Sector Baltimore
- USCG Sector Northern New England
- USCG Station Boothbay Harbor
- USCG Sector Detroit
- USCG Sector Sault Ste Marie
- USCG Station Duluth
- USCG Station Elizabeth City
- Training Center Cape May
- USCG Sandy Hook NJ
- USCG Sector Buffalo
- USCG Sector New York
- USCG Station Montauk
- USCG Sector Columbia River
- USCG Sector Delaware Bay
- USCG Air Station Borinquen
- USCG Sector San Juan
- USCG Sector Charleston
- USCG Sector Corpus Christi
- USCG Sector Houston-Galveston
- USCG Sector Hampton Roads
- USCG Training Center Yorktown
- USCG Station Burlington
- USCG Sector Lake Michigan
Your Rights as a Coast Guard Court-Martial
During a Coast Guard court-martial, you have rights provided by both the UCMJ as well as the Constitution of the United States. It is important to note that you have protections above and beyond those granted to defendants in civilian courts. The Constitutional rights that protect you include:
- The right to avoid self-incrimination;
- The right to face your accuser;
- The right to call witnesses;
- Presumption of your innocence;
- Protection against unlawful search and seizure;
- The right to a fair and speedy trial; and
- Protection against double jeopardy.
The rights guaranteed by the UCMJ expand well beyond the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. For starters, protections against self-incrimination are far more robust under the UCMJ than under the Miranda warning required in civilian cases. In civilian cases, law enforcement is only required to inform a defendant of their rights when they are in custody, and there is no requirement that they inform the defendant of the charge currently under investigation. According to Article 31(b) of the UCMJ, a Coast Guard member must have his or her rights read whenever questioned, and law enforcement must inform the Coast Guard member of the specific charges.
Another difference between the protections in civilian court and under the UCMJ involves the right to an attorney at government expense. While all defendants are entitled to legal counsel in the civilian system, the government only picks up the tab when the defendant can show he or she cannot afford an attorney. Under the UCMJ, all Coast Guard members are entitled to defense counsel at no cost.
Despite having the right to a DSO at no cost, hiring civilian defense counsel may give you the best chance of prevailing at trial. While DSOs are capable attorneys, only experienced civilian defense counsel can provide the resources and experience you need to have the best chance at avoiding a conviction.
Collateral Consequences of a Court-Martial
In addition to the penalties formalized in the UCMJ, there are other collateral consequences that come with a conviction at trial by court-martial. In some cases, these consequences can haunt you long after your military career is over. This is due in part to the fact that some court-martial convictions are treated as felonies under the laws of certain states. As a convicted felon, you could face any of the following in civilian life:
- Difficulty obtaining housing
- Difficulty maintaining employment
- Losing the right to vote or own firearms
- Repayment of enlistment bonuses, and/or
- Repayment of educational benefits.
Discuss Your Case With Experienced Civilian Defense Counsel
Remember, if you win at trial, the above-mentioned consequences never become a reality.
A tremendous lawyer in a time of need. After being accused of conduct unbecoming an officer for personal conduct while off duty, I hired Mr. McLain to help me through the process. He diligently worked behind the scenes to make sure my voice was being heard. Despite my inability to listen to his direction early on, Mr. Mclain was patient and continued to fight on my behalf. Mr. McLain helped me win at a board of inquiry with no other disciplinary action. A sincere man, who is dedicated to his clients. Would strongly recommend and is a great asset to military clients everywhere.- Former Client
It took some time to make it happen, but it did just like Patrick said, he is a hard charging guy that can help you get what you deserve, Thanks to him I am now able to get on with my life.- Chip
I have found my lawyer Patrick McLain, to be honest, right to the point, consistently giving me realistic outcomes through the whole process of my case. He's definitely no nonsense, cut to the chase. As a client…I've never been left hanging; he makes sure all my correspondence is returned. He's got amazing strength and integrity with the combination of experience, insight, and knowledge of military law. He stands behind his words and expects the same in return. I say my blessings every day for him taking my case. With him as my attorney, I've achieved best possible outcomes.- Gina F.
Mr. McLain helped me through the most difficult experience in my life. As a Marine Officer facing an upcoming board of inquiry for conduct issues, I was fearful of losing a career that I deeply cherished. Mr. McLain not only gave me perfect legal advice throughout the process, but also reached out many times to see how I was doing on a personal level. A great lawyer and better person, Mr. McLain helped me become successful in my board of inquiry and keep moving forward in my career. His knowledge and experience are top notch, and his military experience and personal qualities make him the best lawyer out there to defend military personnel. Would highly recommend to anyone.- Jonathan
My husband hired Patrick for his summary court martial and Patrick and his team were there every step of the way. They communicated everything they needed and were even there when either me or my husband had any questions. He is a hard worker and will fight for you the moment you choose him to be on your team!- Angela
He completely cared, took my case personally, always made me feel as though I was his most important client, and was knowledgeable on all subjects. I give him the highest rating possible and totally recommend him to anyone who is- Mike
I called McLain when the military charged me with some B.S., McLain immediately jumped into action and made things happen in my favor. Don't do it alone … your military chain of command will try to make you think that your cooperation will help you, it will NOT. I was entirely impressed with McLain's work on my- Chris C.
I cannot recommend Patrick highly enough. I won my military case due to his diligence, knowledge and experience in military law. Had I proceeded on my own, I would have lost, for the process was simply too complex. When working with Patrick, there was never a time when I felt left in the dark on my case, nor a time when his assessments and instructions were unclear. Should you be in any difficult circumstance, Patrick will work his tail off for you and keep you clearly informed on the status of your case. Again, I highly recommend the services of Patrick McLain.- Dan C.