A court-martial is the highest court in military circles which can be compared to a civilian court but exclusively for military personnel.
Military court-martials are reserved for crimes of different nature committed by military personnel. These crimes are often of severe nature. For crimes that are of a less severe nature, the case is referred to as a Non-Judicial Punishment.
In this article, we will discuss some tips that can help you if you are ever stuck in court martial proceedings.
Hire a Court Martial Attorney
Court martial attorney plays a significant role in court proceedings. This is why we must advise you to hire a good lawyer. Hiring a novice lawyer with a non-military law background may only worsen your situation.
You should hire someone whom you are comfortable with fighting your case. There are dedicated court-martial lawyers who specialize in military law. These lawyers know the complex legal fine print associated with Military Law. They are an excellent choice to help you navigate your current situation.
They understand the court system well and know your rights. Court martial attorneys will ensure that the court does not violate your rights as military personnel. They can help you even before the proceedings start as they can help you to avoid the whole matter altogether.
Hence, for these reasons, we must advise you to hire only the best court martial attorneys.
Some of the crucial reasons why you should hire a court martial attorney are:
- They specialize in military law
- They know the court systems of a military court
- They are well versed in the rights of military personnel as compared to civilian lawyers
Be Completely Honest
You must have heard the proverb, “Honesty is the best policy, ” and it indeed is, especially if you are stuck in a court martial . Your lawyer will only defend you based on the facts you provide to them.
Moreover, brief your lawyer on every tiny detail you can remember about the case. You should not exclude details just because you think they are not necessary.
You often use your judgment and withhold information from your lawyer. You might do this because you think it is irrelevant, but that’s for the lawyer to decide.
People don’t realize this, but when they lie and hide information from their lawyers, they hurt themselves.
Consequences of Lying
When you lie to your counsel, you will seriously compromise their ability to defend you, and the opposition will fully utilize this in their case.
Hence, it is ideal to be completely transparent with your lawyer and fully cooperate with them during the case.
Your lying to the court will not only affect you and your case, but it will also reflect poorly on your lawyer. No lawyer wants to work with a client who lies for a good reason.
If you lie to your clients and are caught in court, everyone assumes that the lawyer was in on it.
Since a lawyer’s reputation is very important, they cannot risk it and may remove themselves from the case. This would leave you in a terrible position before the court.
This is another reason you should avoid lying to your lawyer athttps all costs.
Listen to Your Lawyer
Problems arise when the accused takes matters into his own hands and tries to withhold or alter information and statements.
The accused may do this for a multitude of reasons. However, there is one common reason. They might do this because they think they can represent themselves better than their lawyer does.
This move will hurt the accused and make their case weaker. You need to have complete faith in your lawyer and understand that they know the justice system better than you.
Lawyers know how to exploit loopholes, phrase their arguments and make them. Hence, it is vital to your case to refrain from going rogue and consult your lawyer on everything.
Taking the situation into your own hands will not help you or your case.
The lawyers know the court rules, court language, and other things you are probably not familiar with. Hence, if you act rogue and do not listen to your lawyer, it will look very bad in front of a military judge and panel. Hence, do not hurt your chances of winning the case, and listen to your lawyer.
Types of Court Martial
Military court-martials consist of three types; summary, special, and general.
Summary Court Martial
In a summary court martial proceeding, the judge and jury consist of just one commissioned officer, and the crimes are less severe.
Special Court Martial
Special court martials involve crimes of a more grave nature. The panel, which makes the decision, comprises three members from the military and a military judge. This panel can decide any punishment for the accused except death.
Moreover, in this court-martial, the accused is entitled to a free court martial attorney provided by the military.
General Court Martial
A general court-martial is somewhat similar to a special court-martial. The only difference is that it consists of five military personnel in the panel, and they have the authority to award the death penalty to the accused.
The accused can argue the case through a court martial attorney appointed by the military or an independent lawyer.
Being court-martialed is a severe setback for any military personnel and can be a life-altering moment for most men and women in uniform.
Court martials can result in you being stripped of your uniform and rank and discharged dishonorably.
Moreover, it can even result in death in extreme cases. However, there are some things you can do to make sure that the verdict goes in your favor and that you can retain your rank and dignity in the process.
In this article, we have talked about two things vital to your defense in your court martial case. Firstly, ensure that you engage the services of a reputable court martial lawyer who specializes in military court law. Secondly, we strongly urge you to be completely honest with your lawyer from day one. This way, they can defend you properly during the whole process.