Court Martial Lawyer in Colorado Springs
A court martial is a military court proceeding that you may have to face as member of the US military, if you are accused of a crime. Military commanders who uphold the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) will convene this reprimand hearing. An official order from your chain of command will notify you of the date of your court martial, depending on which branch of service you were in.
A military attorney will be provided to you to defend yourself against the accusations, but you also have the right to obtain legal representation from a civilian military defense lawyer. Considering the unique position and complexities involved in the court martial system, you will need a civilian criminal defense attorney in Colorado with demonstrated skill and experience in military law in order to put up a strong defense.
Types of Court Martial
General Court Martial
The general court martial is usually reserved for the most serious types of crimes. It will have five or more commanding officers to review the accusations against you and determine the outcome. Although you will have more rights under this type of court martial, the penalties are typically more severe.
Special Court Martial
A military judge alone or a panel of at least four members and a military judge may preside over a special court martial. If you are accused, you could face penalties such as reduction of pay grade, forfeiture of pay, imprisonment of up to one year, and bad conduct charges.
Summary Court Martial
This court martial is reserved for minor offenses that enlisted soldiers are alleged to have committed. It is regarded as the lowest level of court martial and allows for rapid legal resolutions. However, the rights of the accused are more limited than in the case of a general court martial.
Article 32 Hearings
Although this is a less formal type of court martial, Article 32 hearings still constitute a form of disciplinary action. The proceeding is usually led by a commanding officer.
NJP / Article 15
Article 15, also known as NJP (non-judicial proceeding), office hours, or captain’s mast, is type of punishment that involves disciplining, but without the requirement of a formal court martial proceeding.
No BCD Special Court Martial
A new form of special court martial was created in 2019, which is known as No BCD (bad conduct discharge) Special Court Martial. It handles offenses that carry a maximum prison sentence of two years and is designed to provide faster legal resolutions.
Violent Crimes or Sexual Misconduct in Military
Members of the US military are held to very high standards of conduct when it comes to criminal offenses. A member charged with a violent or sexual crime will have to appear before a court martial. Legal consequences of these offenses may include:
- Imprisonment (in a regional confinement facility)
- Complete forfeiture of military benefits (such as, pay, benefits, allowances, and a dishonorable discharge)
- Reduced ability to make a career of choice as a civilian (because the felony charge will show up during an employer’s background check)
Whether you are facing charges of a violent crime or sexual assault in the military, you should obtain legal counsel from a seasoned civilian court martial defense lawyer in Colorado. A conviction for these offenses can have very serious consequences for your life and career.
When the stakes are high, it is prudent to choose a highly motivated and focused civilian criminal defense lawyer rather than depend on a free military attorney who may not be as well-equipped to successfully handle your case.
Drug Charges in the Military
Any service member can be subjected to random drug tests and will face serious legal consequences if they are found in violation of the military drug policies. In Colorado, you can legally purchase marijuana as a service member, and it will not attract any state charges.
In addition, as long as you have not consumed or possessed marijuana on your post, you are not likely to face federal charges. (But if you do it on the base, it is a different matter because the base is considered federal property.) However, any service member is required to abide by the UCMJ, which means that unlike federal and state law, you could be charged with a legal offense for merely entering a store that sells marijuana.
This rule will apply not only when you are on duty, but also when you are on leave or are off duty. You are required to abide by the UCMJ regulations as long as you remain a member of the United States military.
Right to Appeal a Court Martial Conviction
If the court martial convicts you, all is still not lost. You will have the right to file an appeal to a superior decision-making authority for a review. In principle, your appeal could proceed all the way up to the US Supreme Court.
You are entitled to hire the services of an attorney to represent you during all stages of appellate review. But the key is that you should have a skilled and knowledgeable court martial appeals attorney by your side to increase your chances of overturning a conviction.
Choose an Experienced Military Law Attorney in Colorado
Members of the US military are not obligated to settle for a court-appointed lawyer for their defense. If you are accused of a crime as service member, you have a right to be represented by a civilian military law attorney.
But considering the potential legal consequences of a court martial, it is best to have a seasoned criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with the intricacies of the military justice system.
At Anderson & Carnahan in Colorado, our legal team led by Attorney Stephen Anderson has established a successful track record with military law cases, and we have the knowledge and resources to provide you with a strategic legal defense. Stephen Anderson is a former JAG Officer of the US Air Force and a past Chief Trial Counsel for Peterson Air Force Base.
With over two decades of experience representing clients in civilian and military courts, Stephen Anderson is positioned to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
To schedule a free consultation, call us at (719) 473-9099 or fill out this online form.