Fort Hood Military Criminal Defense Attorney
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Skilled Legal Representation for Service Members
The Carlson Law Firm in Killeen is committed to representing Fort Hood military members facing criminal charges, UCMJ violations, and other administrative penalties. Our firm provides top of the line representation for our clients across all branches of the armed forces stationed in the Killeen area. A Fort Hood Military Criminal Defense Attorney will help protect your rights.
The military criminal justice system is much different from civilian criminal courts. It is crucial that members of the armed forces work with attorneys who have the knowledge, resources, and experience to handle these types of cases. The Carlson Law Firm legal team has decades of experience protecting the rights, ranks, and future of military members in the Fort Hood area — and we are prepared to fight for you.
The members of the US Armed Forces serve to protect and uphold the principles of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but unfortunately, their rights are sometimes trampled in the course of a criminal investigation or court-martial. The Carlson Law Firm can put you in the best position to defend yourself from the allegations leveled against you when you secure our legal expertise.
Much of our legal team has military service under their belt. We consider our insider knowledge of the military criminal justice to be vital when it comes to mapping the defense strategy of Fort Hood servicemen and women. Call The Carlson Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with a Fort Hood Military Criminal Defense Attorney.
Fort Hood Article 15
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. For Fort Hood military personnel, Article 15 offenses are generally not serious, such as 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 Carlson Law Firm may be able to help you determine a strategy to lessen the severity of 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 Fort Hood Military Members May Face
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 our local military personnel 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.
Fort Hood Military Discharge Upgrade
Fort Hood military servicemen and women have come across unfortunate circumstances where they’ve experienced errors or injustices in their military personnel records. In other instances, they have received unfair or erroneous characterizations of service. We can help get this information corrected. If you need a Military Discharge Upgrade, a Fort Hood Military Criminal Defense Attorney from The Carlson Law Firm can help.
What is the process?
Each military branch has two entities that have the authority to either upgrade your discharge or correct your military records: The Discharge Review Board (DRB) and the Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR).
Discharge Review Board
The DRB may only upgrade discharges or change the reason for the discharge. It cannot change reenlistment (RE) codes, reinstate service members, or otherwise modify or change any other contents of military personnel records. Discharges can be upgraded as follows:
- A General can be upgraded to an Honorable
- An Other Than Honorable can be upgraded to a General or Honorable
- A Bad Conduct Discharge resulting from a Special Court Martial can be upgraded to an Honorable, General, or Other Than Honorable
- And Other Than Honorable discharge received while in entry-level status can be upgraded to an uncharacterized discharge
The DRB cannot review a discharge resulting from a General Court-martial. In addition, it cannot overturn, pardon or eliminate a court-martial conviction. A Fort Hood Military Criminal Defense Attorney can help to explain this process in detail.
Board For Correction of Military Records
The Army and Air Force BCMRs, and the Board for Correction of Naval Records are authorized to change your military personnel records in several ways:
- Review and change the decision of a DRB regarding a discharge
- Review and change discharges, including Bad Conduct Discharges or Dishonorable Discharges and/or Dismissals, resulting from General Court-martial
- Change discharges to/from medical/disability retirement, enabling a VA pension
- Change reenlistment (RE) codes
- Eliminate disciplinary actions (fines, reductions in rank, etc.)
- Remove bad performance evaluations, counseling entries, etc.
- Reinstate service members
- Make other changes to personnel records
Court Martial Defense
A court martial, simply, is a court the conducts military trials. A Fort Hood Military Criminal Defense Attorney from The Carlson Law Firm has the skill and knowledge to defend Fort Hood active personnel, and occasionally, retired and former military personnel, in military court. There are three types of court martials, and each class has unique requirements about who acts as a judge or jury:
Summary Court Martial
A summary court-martial is typically held if you are being charged with a less severe crime. A commissioned officer conducts the trial. He or she will review the facts of your case, legal precedent, and the sentencing guidelines. If a guilty verdict is reached, you face one or more of the following:
- Confinement for up to 30 days
- Hard labor, with a maximum sentence of 45 days
- 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
A special court-martial is the military equivalent of a trial for a misdemeanor crime in civilian court. A military judge presides over special courts-martial. If you are prosecuted in a special court-martial, you will be assigned a military attorney, however, you may have to 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
Reserved for the most serious offenses, in a general court-martial, you are assigned a military attorney and a military judge presides over your case. The trial is held before a panel of at least five court members. However, if you are facing the possibility of the 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
Court Martial Cases The Carlson Law Firm Can Handle
Court martial cases vary widely, and it takes a skilled military attorney to mount an effective defense. Similar to public defenders in civilian courts, the military lawyer assigned to your case might have several cases on his or her desk. Further, the attorney appointed to you is still a member of the military and must abide by certain rules when defending you—rules that a private attorney does not have to follow. Our team of military attorneys defends those accused of a variety of issues, including:
- Military-Specific Offense (e.g., AWOL, Dereliction, Conduct Unbecoming)
- High-Profile Media Cases
- Sexual Assault/Rape
- Other Sex-Related Offenses
- DUI and Alcohol-Related Offenses
- Assault and Battery
- Child-Related Offenses
- DNA Evidence
- Computer Crimes
- Reservists Facing UCMJ
- Government Fraud
Military Separation Board
The Military Separation Board evaluates involuntary discharges recommended by command. Fort Hood area service members may be involuntary discharge can be recommended based on performance, misconduct, or mental or physical ability. An administrative separation hearing offers service members the opportunity to fight for retention in the military prior to a discharge being issued.
Two questions are typically posed:
- Will the service member who is referred for separation actually be separated from military service?
- If the member is to actually be separated, how will the service member’s prior military service be characterized? In other words, will he or she receive Honorable Discharge, General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions, or Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharge.
Service members are entitled to a board hearing if either the Command seeks to separate him under Other Than Honorable (OTH) conditions or where the service member if enlisted or a Non-Commissioned Officer, has six or more years of service.
When To Hire An Experienced Military Separation Board Attorney in Killeen
Time is of the essence. You should retain an attorney the day you receive notice that an investigation is underway.
For officers, being notified of a board inquiry is the first step in the determination of 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.
A Fort Hood Military Criminal Defense Attorney Will Defend Your Reputation and Rightful Military Benefits
The Carlson Law Firm is a veteran owned and veteran operated law firm. Many of our firm’s partners and associates are former JAG officers with extensive knowledge of the military criminal system. Fort Hood area service members can trust our founding military criminal defense attorneys understand the unique challenges you are up against. Too often, we hear from servicemen and women who mistakenly accept punishment or let erroneous discharge records go. The Carlson Law Firm has a team of experienced attorneys ready to counsel you on the best course of action for you and your military career. A Fort Hood Military Criminal Defense Attorney fight to protect your rights and your future.
Contact The Carlson Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation. We care. We can help.