Fort Hood Military Defense Lawyer
The Uniform Code of Military Justice sets forth the laws that govern servicepeople in all branches of service. If you are facing an accusation of violating the UCMJ, it is a serious matter that requires legal representation to be sure you receive the best possible defense.
At the Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, our attorneys bring decades of experience, both as active-duty military members and as defenders of servicepeople accused of military offenses.
Your case can have serious consequences to your career, personal life and finances. These matters may affect you long after your military service has concluded.
That’s why having a Foot Hood military lawyer at your side is crucial. Start your defense by contacting a military defense attorney for Fort Hood at (828) 333-5996 or visiting our webpage for a free initial consultation.
Why a Fort Hood Military Defense Lawyer Is a Must Service people who are accused of wrongdoing under the UCMJ may need to participate in a court-martial trial, which is a criminal trial for those service members accused of committing crimes under the UCMJ’s articles.
In some cases, under Article 32 of the UCMJ, an investigation is allowed (much like a pretrial hearing in a state or federal case) to determine if it’s advisable to move forward with the case. The investigation’s goal is to assess whether a crime has been committed and whether probable cause exists to believe that the accused person committed said crime.
Court-martial trials use the same procedures and rules as those in federal trials in district courts. They are one reason you want a Fort Hood military defense attorney that has experience in criminal cases both in the military and in federal and state court systems.
Attorney Stevens has handled criminal military cases since 1995, including allegations of computer crime, desertion, fraud, national security breaches, manslaughter, murder, rape and other sex-related offenses, and war crimes.
The consequences of being found guilty of violating the UCMJ can be severe. You could lose rank, face a dishonorable discharge, end up serving time in prison, and face other personal and professional consequences that could be devastating for the rest of your life.
You could risk loss of military housing benefits; future employment, even in the private sector; repayment of military academy tuition benefits; and reimbursement of enlistment bonuses. You could even lose out on medical benefits from the Veterans Administration later in life.
How a Fort Hood Military Defense Lawyer Can Help
Military adverse actions, whether board hearings, courts-martial, or other disciplinary actions and/or investigations could significantly affect not only your military life but your personal life, too. You could lose rank, future retirement and other benefits. You could end up in prison, face a dishonorable discharge, or face other personal and professional consequences that could be devastating to your livelihood.
The Fort Hood military defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens were all in the military and worked in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG’s) office. They are skillful in representing current and former servicemembers who might be involved in military defense cases. They have resolved many cases involving allegations of violations of the UCMJ of all types.
When you retain a military defense lawyer, he forms a team to investigate your case and ensure that the military has not and does not violate your rights. Some of the cases we handle include but are not limited to:
- Administrative discharges
- Punitive UCMJ articles
- Article 32 hearings
- Re-enlistment issues
- Article 15 hearings and issues.
You could lose out on benefits such as military housing benefits; future employment, even in the private sector; repayment of military academy tuition benefits; and reimbursement of enlistment bonuses. You could even lose out on medical benefits from the Veterans Administration later in life.
Civilian Attorney or Attorney from the Staff Judge Advocate’s Office?
You might be considering a private attorney, then wonder why you should pay for an attorney when the military provides free legal services. The biggest reason is that the military appoints a lawyer to represent you – you do not get to choose. The lawyer the military might assign could be a junior-level JAG officer with less experience.
When your career and life are on the line, you need an attorney who understands the military and has the experience to represent you regardless of what you have been accused of. Our Fort Hood military defense lawyers were all on active duty in the past and have worked within the legal field, including as JAG officers, while in the military.
Our legal team takes any allegations against you seriously and provides personalized legal advocacy, including providing a thorough investigation into your case.
Courts-Martial and Article Hearings
When looking for a civilian attorney, you cannot pick just any lawyer. You must have an attorney who is familiar with the military’s article hearings and courts-martial. The military has three types of courts-martial: general court-martial, special court-martial, and summary court-martial.
A summary court-martial is more like an administrative hearing. You do not receive a federal criminal conviction at the end of a summary court-martial.
However, you can receive a federal criminal conviction in a general court-martial or special court-martial. As for convictions, a general court-martial conviction is worse than a special court-martial conviction. The two compare closely to felonies and misdemeanors, respectively, in civilian life.
The rules for courts-martial are also different than the state’s criminal code. The Manual for Courts-Martial, which includes the Uniform Code of Military Justice and other rules, dictates the rules of the trial and how the court comes to its decision. As for sentencing, the UCMJ determines how much time you should receive, depending on the crime you were accused of.
General Court-Martial Rulings
In addition to confinement time, a general court-martial could result in hard labor, fines, forfeiting pay and allowances, reprimands, punitive discharge, bad conduct discharge, dishonorable discharge, or reduction in rank. The UCMJ also allows for no punishment.
Special Court-Martial Rulings
If you are enlisted, there are maximum sentences you can receive if the court finds you guilty:
- Bad conduct discharge
- One-year of confinement
- Forfeiting two-thirds of your pay per month for one year
- Reduction in rank to E-1.
You could also receive no punishment. Additionally, if an officer receives special courts-martial, he or she cannot receive a punitive discharge or a rank reduction.
Article 32 Hearings
An Article 32 hearing results in a non-binding recommendation of whether the appointed Preliminary Hearing Officer believes probable cause exists and how the case should be handled, whether dropping the case or moving ahead to a court-martial or another type of action. The rules do not require an Article 32 hearing for a special court-martial.
An Article 32 hearing could result in:
- Moving the case to a general court-martial or a special court-martial
- Adding or amending charges
- Administrative discharge
- Nonjudicial punishment
- Dropping the case.
If you must attend an Article 32 hearing, you should consider it a serious action and retain an attorney to represent your interests in the hearing.
Article 15 Hearings
Depending on your service branch, an Article 15 Hearing might be called “Nonjudicial Punishment,” “N.J.P.,” “Office Hours,” or “Captain’s Mast.” An Article 15 hearing is an administrative hearing under UCMJ Article 15 and is service-specific. It is not a criminal trial. Punishments do not include prison or jail time but can still affect your livelihood even though you do not have a criminal record.
Being found guilty under Article 15 could cause you to lose rank, forfeit promotions and assignments, or even lead to an administrative discharge. Because a “conviction” under Article 15 could significantly affect your service, you should always retain an attorney who has experience with handling Article 15 hearings.
Contact a Fort Hood Military Defense Lawyer Today
If you face any of the administrative hearings or courts-martial because of accusations against you, not having legal representation or having legal representation with little to no experience could significantly affect not only your military life but your personal life as well. Your actions or inactions today could also cause you to lose the benefits you are entitled to as a veteran, especially if you receive an other than honorable discharge.
Instead of taking the chance of turning your life upside down, contact a Fort Hood military defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens today by calling (828) 333-5996 or visiting our webpage for a consultation.