Experienced Yokota Air Base Civilian Defense Lawyer

Built in 1940 by the Imperial Japanese Army, Yokota Air Base served as an air testing ground for the Japanese throughout World War II. Following their surrender, the base was taken over by the United States Air Force. Today, the base is home to the 374th Airlift Wing, and it serves as the broadcast center for the American Forces Network.

If you are facing disciplinary charges while serving at Yokota Air Base, contact attorney Patrick J. McLain right away.

Military Discipline at Yokota Air Base

At Yokota Air Base, there are two commonly-used forms of military justice: nonjudicial punishment and trial by court-martial. Both processes have their differences but each can result in serious consequences.

Nonjudicial Punishment

A common form of military justice is known as nonjudicial punishment (NJP). These proceedings, also known as Article 15 in the Air Force, are administrative in nature. That means a conviction will not lead to a permanent criminal record. However, the consequences that follow a conviction can still haunt you for the rest of your career.

Your commanding officer can initiate an Article 15 against you. What's more, he may oversee the proceeding as opposed to a military judge. The process is far less formal than a criminal trial. While there is a right to appeal an unfavorable decision at an NJP, the appeal is heard up the chain of command as opposed to going through a court of appeals.

Nonjudicial punishment is optional. You have the right to reject the process entirely in favor of a trial by court-martial. This may seem like an odd choice, given that the penalties in a court-martial are higher than in an Article 15. However, defendants at trial enjoy more procedural protections compared to nonjudicial punishment. Before making this decision, contact civilian defense counsel to discuss your options.


A trial by court-martial is a criminal proceeding. If convicted, it will result in a permanent criminal record. This conviction can follow you long after your career in the Air Force is over. A court-martial is similar to a civilian criminal trial in many ways. The military judge that oversees the trial will enforce strict rules regarding witness testimony and other evidence.

If you are convicted, you are entitled to file an appeal. In fact, specific charges could automatically lead to appellate review. Throughout the trial and appeal, you have the right to hire your choice of civilian defense counsel.

Common Offenses at Yokota Air Base

Common offenses that may result in an Article 15 or court-martial are listed below.

Common NJP Offenses

  • Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
  • Drunk on duty
  • Fraternization
  • Violation of orders
  • Destroying government property

Common Court-Martial Offenses

Potential Penalties

Many of the penalties in an NJP and a court-martial are similar. These include restriction, loss of pay, loss of rank, and extra duties. There are additional penalties for a court-martial, however, including confinement and a punitive discharge.

Yokota Air Base Civilian Defense Counsel

If you are facing charges at Yokota Air Base, you are entitled to hire your choice of civilian defense counsel. Contact attorney and retired military judge Patrick J. McLain to learn more.