Military members are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The UCMJ is federal law and establishes different legal proceedings for crimes that are committed by those in military service. General courts-martial are the highest level of court the military can utilize, and handle the most serious offenses.
Understanding General Court-Martials
In the military, felony cases are handled in general courts-martial. There must be a military judge, defense counsel, and at least five court members to ensure that justice is served. There is also an extensive pretrial investigation that must be undertaken in order for the trial to proceed. Potential consequences vary widely depending on the crime.
- Dishonorable and bad conduct discharges are both potential consequences of a conviction.
- Prison time can include up to a life-sentence.
- General courts-martial are able to utilize the death penalty when the crime is a capital offense, however certain checks against a judge’s discretionary power activate when the death penalty is a viable option.
In most cases, the punishments will not be the maximums. As with all courts in the United States, the details of the case determine the potential consequences, and most crimes will not face such dire consequences as the death penalty.
Serving the Men and Women Who Serve Us
When facing a general court-martial, a soldier’s career, freedom, and even their life can be at stake. When the stakes are that high, professional and experienced legal help is a necessity. At Garrison Military Law, we know the UCMJ and how to fight for our clients when the chips are down.
Schedule a free consultation online to learn what Garrison can do for you.
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