Military Court Martial Process

Owens & Kurz, LLC has the Military experience you need on your side.

Court-Martial Defense Attorneys

Defending Service Members Facing Court-Martial Nationwide

If you are accused of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), you will likely face a court-martial. The Military justice system differs from the civilian justice system and is regulated by the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM).

For this reason, you need a seasoned court-martial defense attorney familiar with the Court Martial Process. At Owens & Kurz, LLC, we are former active service members with over 40 years of combined legal experience.

We know exactly what you are facing and are devoted to your best possible results. Contact our court-martial defense lawyers by calling (888) 570-4612.

What Is a Court-Martial?

court-martial is a military judicial court for armed service members accused of a crime or misconduct. Courts-martial have unique and limited jurisdictions, and they do not have the jurisdiction to try those who are not members of the armed forces.

Once accused of a crime, a service member will undergo a process that is vastly different from the procedure in a civilian case. From pre-trial to final sentencing, you will be subjected to military laws and regulations like the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). This code provides prescribed disciplinary measures and is a unique penal code written specifically to address military concerns. Understanding them and navigating successfully through each step requires the experience of a criminal defense attorney who specifically serves service members.

Once accused of a crime, you will be subjected to one of three court-martial processes:

  • Summary court-martial: For minor incidents, this simplified court-martial process aims to solve cases quickly and efficiently. During a summary court-martial, you also have fewer rights during the proceedings. Remember, the process can also result in rank reduction and confinement and contribute to a subsequent discharge. You can have civilian counsel at this proceeding.
  • Special court-martial: A small court, usually involving a military judge and no less than three officers for the panel, can ultimately lead to punishments involving discharge, forfeitures, and confinement.
  • General court-martial: The most serious of the court-martials, a general court-martial is reserved for felony-level offenses. During the trial, the prosecution and defense present their cases before a jury of military service members. These proceedings can sentence you to a punitive discharge, reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and allowances, and jail time.

What Are My Rights If I Am Court-Martialed?

In special and general courts-martial, you have the right to be represented by an appointed military attorney. You can also choose to hire a civilian lawyer. While lawyers are seldom involved in summary courts-martial, and free military attorneys are unavailable, you have the right to hire a civilian lawyer for your trial.

Depending on the type of case, there may be a different military court involved in the case. In special and general courts-martial, you can also request that your case be tried by a Military judge alone – or that your panel be made up of at least one-third of enlisted personnel.

In summary courts-martial, you have the right to call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, produce evidence, and testify or remain silent. You also have the right to a review of your trial if you are convicted by any court-martial. Some appeals proceed to the United States Supreme Court.

Should I Hire a Civilian Attorney?

All U.S. citizens and service members have the right to an attorney – and to choose their legal counsel. While this is always an option for you, you can also hire a civilian attorney with many more years of experience than military defense attorneys who are deeply familiar with courts-marital, the MCM, and the UCMJ. The choice is yours.

Find confidence in knowing that your legal representatives understand the pressures and expectations of military life and are skilled at applying this unique and beneficial knowledge to your case. 

At Owens & Kurz, LLC, we know what it is like to serve in the military, and we will fight for you. Schedule a consultation with our court-martial defense attorneys today.



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