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What Happens During a Court-Martial

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By : military lawyer    29 or more times read
Submitted 2017-01-25 06:01:09
If you have been accused of a crime against the military, you may face a court-martial. The court-martial process can be a very high-pressure situation. It is important that you understand what may happen and how the process will go. While your court martial lawyer is sure to explain the process and answer any questions you have, here is a brief look at what you should expect.

The Players

It is important to understand that a court-martial is very much like a regular court case. The main exceptions are that punishment is determined by a military judge following the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In addition, if you choose a jury, it will consist of other military members. Punishments will also be carried out through the military. The investigators will either be Criminal Investigation Division officers or military police investigators.

Type of Court Martials

There are a few different types of courts-martial. Which one you will attend depends on the crime you have been charged with and whether you are an active member of the military.

The Beginning of the Process

When the process begins, you will be investigated and evidence will be gathered. Something called an Article 32 investigation will take place before the court-martial is officially declared. This is the investigation phase where it is determined if there is enough evidence to take to court and prove you guilty of the accused crime. In fact, you may be able to have your court martial lawyer on hand to question witnesses and call witnesses for you. It is possible for a good military defense lawyer to be able to stop the process at this point by proving there is no solid case against you.

The Court-Martial

If you are not able to prove your innocence during an Article 32 investigation, you will be formally charged and face a court-martial. As with any court case, the process involves two steps. One is when the case is heard, the evidence is presented and witnesses are questioned. The second step is sentencing if you are found guilty. If you have a jury, they will deliberate and vote on a verdict. It usually requires a two-thirds majority for a verdict to be valid. If you are found guilty, then you immediately begin the sentencing phase. There is no waiting period for this. It happens right away.


After you have been sentenced, you can request clemency. Your sentence may be revoked or reduced. It can also stay the same. This is like the appeals process in a civilian case. It is typically your last chance to present your case and try to prove your innocence.

A court-martial is a serious situation. The military doesn’t just order one for anything. They usually have a pretty well-thought out and solid case before one is declared. Once you are in a court-martial situation, it is imperative to make sure that you work with your court martial lawyer to ensure you are properly represented and your case is clearly presented. Ideally, you want to come out of the court-martial being judged not guilty.
Author Resource:- John Trinh has been writing for 10+ years. He first delved into the world of writing when he wrote his first article for his university's paper. Since then, John has enjoyed writing about technology, business, marketing, and anything that he thinks he should write about. For more details about our products please visit our site :- court martial lawyer
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