Many liken the special court-martial to a civilian misdemeanor court action since confinement is limited to one year. But service members can also receive bad conduct discharges, forfeiture of 2/3 of their pay for one year, and reduction to pay grade E-1. The punishments can also deprive service members of all benefits of service provided by the Department of Defense and the Veteran’s administration. Thus, in so many ways, special courts-martial will have life impacting repercussions for service members. The importance of special courts-martial in service members' lives cannot be overstated.
At a special court-martial, an accused has the right to a detailed active duty military lawyer, an active duty military lawyer of his own choice if that counsel is available, and a civilian military lawyer. He can request trial by members, including enlisted members, as well as trial by judge alone.
Common special court-martial cases include: disrespect, desertion and absence without leave, drug use, fraternization, larceny, assault, and disobeying orders.
If you are facing a special court-martial, Jeffrey Meeks and Bruce White offer a free consultation to discuss your case. When choosing a military lawyer, there is no substitute for experience. We offer over 45 years experience litigating these cases. Call before it is too late.
Manual for Courts-Martial (2012)