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The Uniform code of Military Justice is the backbone of all military justice. In the UCMJ, there are provisions for three different types of courts-martial; Summary, Special, and General. Because of the possible repercussions to a person’s military career, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Clearwater criminal defense lawyer. The Clearwater court martial lawyers of the Law Offices of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos, PLLC are here to help you keep your military career and name clean. We are conveniently located in the Clearwater area. Call for a consultation 727.441.9030
Summary Courts-Martial are the most basic form of a court-martial. The trial portion consists of one commissioned officer. In this type of court-martial, only enlisted people are able to be court-martialed and only then for non-capital offenses. The accused has the right to refuse trial by summary court-martial but does not have the right to a lawyer or attorney under this type. Also, if the accused does not refuse the summary court-martial, they have the right to cross-examine witness, call their own witnesses, and produce evidence. The accused may also testify in his or her own defense. The accused also has the right to remain silent. Punishment following a court-martial in which the accused does not win varies. If the accused is above the fourth pay grade, the court-martial may impose any punishment not forbidden by law except death, dismissal, dishonorable or bad conduct discharge, confinement for more than 1 month, hard labor without confinement for more than 45 days, restriction to a specified area for more than 2 months, or forfeiture of more than 2/3s of 1 months pay. All other enlisted service members are subject to the above and, in addition, they can be faced with confinement for a maximum of one month and their pay can be reduced to the lowest pay grade, E-1.
Special Courts-martial are the equivalent of a civilian misdemeanor court. They consist of a tribunal of not less than 3 people plus a military judge. The accused has the option of being tried by the military judge but must request this option. Every person in the military that is subject to the UCMJ is eligible for a trial in this court. This includes officers and midshipmen. The punishments for a special courts-martial conviction are anything that falls under RCM 1003, excluding death, dishonorable discharge, dismissal, confinement for more than 1 year, hard labor without confinement for more than 3 months, forfeiture of pay exceeding 2/3s of pay per month, or any forfeiture of pay for more than 1 year. The accused can have a lawyer in this case.
General Courts-Martial are the highest level of court-martial. They are the equivalent of a civilian felony court. This court-martial classification must have at least 5 members of the military and a military judge. The accused can, like a special court-martial, request to be tried by the military judge alone. All people in the military that are subject to the UCMJ are eligible to be tried in this manner. This includes midshipmen and officers as well. The general court-martial may hand down any sentence that is not prohibited by the UCMJ. This includes death when it is specifically authorized.