Defending those Who Protect the United States of America
The Carlson Law Firm is committed to representing military members facing criminal charges, UCMJ violations, and other administrative penalties. A military criminal defense attorney from our firm can represent clients from all branches of the armed forces throughout Texas and across the nation.
We have the Knowledge and experience
Because the military criminal justice system is very different from the civilian criminal court process, it is crucial to work with lawyers who have the knowledge and resources to handle these cases. Our legal team has decades of experience protecting the rights, ranks, and future of military members – and a Military Criminal Defense Attorney from The Carlson Law Firm is prepared to fight for you.
Protecting Your rights
The members of the United States Armed Forces serve to protect and uphold the principles of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but unfortunately, their own rights are sometimes trampled in the course of a criminal investigation or court-martial. Put yourself in the best position to defend the allegations against you by securing professional representation of an extremely experienced civilian attorney who has successfully fought against the military in countless cases.
Many of the members of our legal team have military service under their belt. We consider our insider knowledge of the military criminal justice system to be a vital asset when it comes to your defense.
Article 15 defense
An Article 15 or Captain’s Mast is a non-judicial punishment(NJP) determined by a commander or other superior officer in an informal proceeding. Article 15 offenses are generally not serious, such as a minor theft or DUI but you may still be at risk of an Administrative Separation or dishonorable discharge. Though you do not have the right to be represented by an attorney in an Article 15 or NJP proceeding, an experienced court-martial lawyer from the firm may be able to help you to determine a strategy to lessen the severity of any penalties that might be imposed, or help you make an informed decision of whether you should accept the punishment or demand trial by court-martial.
Types of Punishment
Every situation is different; therefore punishments vary, however common punishments include:
- Loss of Pay
- Reduction in Rank
- Restriction to Military Quarters
- Extra Duties
It is important for to remember that if you refuse an Article 15, you can be represented by a civilian lawyer throughout the proceedings. As your legal counsel, our team will advise you of the preliminary steps before you submit to an Article 15.
Court Martial defense
The military has a specialized legal system for military personnel and, occasionally, retired and former military personnel. Others associated with the military (including prisoners of war, military prisoners, and members of quasi-military organizations are also subjected to the military court. Although it bears a striking resemblance to the civilian legal system in the United States, there are some marked differences as well.
Types of Court Martial cases
Court martial cases vary widely, and it takes a skilled military attorney to mount an effective defense. Our team of military attorneys defends those accused of a variety of issues, including:
- High-Profile Media Cases
- Murder / Homicide
- Sexual Assault / Rape
- Other Sex-Related Offenses
- DUI and Alcohol-Related Offenses
- Larceny / Fraud
- Assault and Battery
- Child-Related Offenses
- DNA Evidence
- Computer Crimes
- Military-Specific Offenses (e.g., AWOL, Dereliction, Conduct Unbecoming)
- Reservists Facing UCMJ
- Government Fraud
What Is a Court Martial?
A “court martial” is a court that conducts military trials. There are three types of courts martial, and each type has unique requirements with regard to who acts as a judge or jury.
Summary Court Martial
A summary court-martial is typically held if you are being charged with a petty, less severe crime. This court process does not require a military judge or an attorney. Rather, the trial is conducted by a commissioned officer. He or she will review the facts of your case, the legal precedent, and the sentencing guidelines. If you are found guilty in a summary court-martial, you face one or more of the following:
- Confinement for up to 30 days
- A maximum of 45 days of hard labor
- Restriction to a particular area (such as the barracks) for up to 60 days
- Pay reduction for one month
- Loss of rank
Special Court Martial
The special court-martial is the military equivalent of a trial for a misdemeanor crime in a civilian court. A military judge presides over special courts-martial. If you are prosecuted in a special court-martial, you are assigned a military attorney, but you may hire a private defense attorney. A panel of three service members will decide the case, unless you specifically request for a judge to do so. If you are convicted of a military crime in a special court-martial, you face:
- A maximum of 364 days of confinement
- Forfeiture of up to six months pay
- Three months of hard labor
- Misconduct discharge
General Court Martial
The general court-martial is reserved for the most serious offenses. In a general court-martial, a military judge presides over your case, and you are assigned a military attorney. The trial is held before a panel of at least five court members. However, if you are facing the possibility of death penalty, the trial must be held before a panel of at least 10 court members. As with a special court-martial, you may request that a judge decide the verdict, except in cases where the prosecution seeks the death penalty. Under a general court-martial, you face the maximum sentence allowed by UCMJ, including:
- Life imprisonment
- Dishonorable discharge
Military Separation Board
When command recommends that a service member be involuntarily discharged based on performance, misconduct, or mental or physical ability, the matter is evaluated by an administrative military separation board. An administrative separation hearing offers the service member the opportunity to fight for retention in the military prior to a discharge being issued.
Typically two questions are posed. First, will the service member who is referred for separation actually be separated from military service? Second, if the member is to actually be separated, how will the service member’s prior military service be characterized, meaning what type of discharge will he or she receive: Honorable Discharge, General Discharge under Honorable Conditions, or Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharge?
A service member is entitled to a board hearing if either the Command seeks to separate him under Other Than Honorable Conditions (OTH) or where the service member, or if enlisted or a Non-Commissioned Officer, he has six or more years of service.
Get Help NOW
For officers, being notified of a board of inquiry is the first step of the process to determine whether you will be allowed to remain on active duty. For enlisted men and women, a command investigation may similarly result in the convening of an administrative separation board to verify whether misconduct or nonperformance warrants administrative separation as a possible consequence.
The time to get a lawyer on your side is the day you receive notice that an investigation is underway. Time is of the essence. Preparation is an important part of what it takes to protect your rights.
There's a Carlson Law Firm near you
With 12 locations throughout Texas, there’s a Carlson Law Firm near you. We have law offices located in Killeen, Temple, Waco, Round Rock, Austin, San Antonio, Laredo, Bryan, Lubbock, and Corpus Christi.