When you face disciplinary action in the military, you can lose your career if convicted.
Is Military Discipline Like Civilian Law?
As a member of our military, it is important to understand the situation you find yourself in. As a military service person, you are dedicating your very life to your fellow country-people. As a result, when you are disciplined by the military, it affects your entire life, both professionally and personally. At the Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, you will find that same level of dedication to you. According to their staffers, military discipline is vastly different from civilian law.
Every American citizen should possess at least an elementary understanding of the judicial system. As a member of the military, it is imperative that you understand common military disciplinary actions. Currently, you may find yourself in this situation or you may just be considering joining this nation’s military. In either case, you should have a basic understanding of what happens to you as a member of the military.
What Rules Does the Military Use?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, by definition, a disciplinary action is a method for dealing with a worker who causes problems but does not obey company (military) rules. The military employs both punitive and non-punitive disciplinary actions against its members.
Essentially, the United States military has its own judicial system. Though it mirrors the United States judicial system, it has complexities that only an experienced attorney can navigate. According to the website, Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, court-martial trials are governed by the Manual for Court Marshal MCM. The MCM contains the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the UCMJ. It also contains the MRE or Military Rules of Evidence and the Rules for Court Marshal or the RCM. The Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, US Space Force and the Coast Guard all have their own rules of criminal trial procedure. However, the UCMJ is the criminal code that applies to all military members, regardless of branch.
When Do I Need an Attorney?
A JAG or Judge Advocate General is a member of the military who offers legal advice and is able to represent you in military court action. Information from the Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens explains that the firm’s attorneys are retired active-duty military JAG’s. In many common military disciplinary actions, an attorney is not needed. In non-punitive disciplinary actions, an attorney is not required. An attorney is required for a court-martial. You can use a JAG or a civilian attorney.
Common Military Disciplinary Actions
Some common disciplinary military actions include:
- Addition of military instruction
Depending upon the infraction and your response to it, these types of disciplinary military actions are minor. If you have questions about any disciplinary action from your commanding officer, it is a good idea to contact an attorney before you acquiesce and have the corrective action added to your military record. Some of these disciplinary actions can be used in further punitive corrective action such as a court-martial.
These “non-punitive” disciplinary actions can become serious once they are added to your military file. Future rank advancement may be difficult. These reprimands or admonitions may be oral or written. Though they are very common military disciplinary actions, they should not be taken lightly. Speaking with your military appointed attorney or a civilian attorney who has military experience is a good idea.
I’m Facing a Court-Martial
There are three types of court-martial that you can face as a military member. These are criminal charges and fines, demotions, prison time or death can be imposed if you are found guilty at a court-martial. That is why it is imperative to have proper legal representation if you are facing a court-martial. However, there is one type of court-martial where you will not require an attorney. That is a summary court-martial.
The charges which precipitate your court-martial are generally criminal charges that constitute felonies. This is another important reason why an experienced military defense attorney is critical. You will be given an appointed JAG from your military branch of service. You also have the right to hire a civilian defense attorney if you are facing a General or Special court-martial. If you take the option of hiring a civilian defense attorney, it’s a good idea to hire someone with military experience. Your military appointed JAG will then become the co-counsel on your case.
According to the staff at the Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, a general court-martial generally involves felonies, while a special court martial is similar to a misdemeanor court trial. Charges in these matters are the same misdemeanor or felony charges you would face as a civilian. In the military, you are tried by court-martial as opposed to being criminally charged in a civilian court.
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