If you are facing a court martial, you have options. First, you need to make sure that you are working with an experienced military lawyer that understands how to navigate through the military court system. This is entirely different from civilian court and the changes in procedure alone can create challenges for a novice attorney. As someone with JAG experience, Craig Drummond represents clients in military and civilian court equally well.
The Charges Impact Where You Will Be Tried
What you are charged with will make the biggest impact on whether or not you face court martial. For example, if you are charged with a DUI or assault off-base, you could be tried in civilian court and need the help of a criminal lawyer in Las Vegas. While you still could face penalties or reprimand, your trial could be held outside of the military justice system.
Options for Avoiding a Court Martial
If you are charged with a crime that is specifically related to the military code, you will need a military lawyer to represent you. In that case, your attorney could negotiate on your behalf prior to the trial starting, similar to entering a plea bargain in a civilian trial. In many cases you can make a request to be separated from the military in exchange for having the charges dropped. Once you are discharged, they will be. Additionally, if you are retirement-eligible, deciding to retire could be a far better option than facing a court martial. You should still receive your retirement benefits so there is no risk for you financially. For officers, there is one additional option and that is retiring at a lower rank. This is an administrative process and requires approval but it is worth serious consideration as a way to avoid more serious penalties.
Just because you are accused of a crime and facing court martial, does not mean that you are guilty of committing one. When you are charged in military court, you are still innocent until proven guilty so if you want to fight the charges, you can and should. As long as you have an experienced military attorney on your hand that can build a strong case, you will have a good opportunity for having the charges dismissed or being found innocent. While there is never a way to predict what the results of a trial will be, you can be sure that having an attorney on your side will increase your chances of success.
Do you know anyone that has faced a court martial? What was their experience?