Hawaii Court-Martial Lawyer

Crimes subject to court-martial are outlined in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). There are crimes that overlap with the civilian sector, but also crimes, which are unique to the military, such as AWOL and willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer.  Serious punishments available in the civilian sector, such as confinement for life and the death penalty, are available under the UCMJ, but military specific punishments also exist, such as reduction in rank and dismissal from the service. If you need a highly experienced Hawaii court martial lawyer look no further.  

The court-martial process includes the following stages:

  • The Investigation: If you are being investigated for criminal charges, it is still possible for the prosecution to decide not to charge you or to handle your matter administratively rather than criminally.  At this stage, however, you will not have a military lawyer assigned to your case, so it may be wise to hire a civilian attorney to assist you through this stage.
  • Preferral of Charges: Preferral of charges means the case is no longer being investigated and you are officially charged with a crime.  During this stage you will learn whether your case is being sent to a General or Special Court-Martial (Summary is rare). At a Special Court-Martial the maximum period of confinement is either six months or one year (depending on whether it is judge alone or with members) and you do not have the right to an Article 32 Hearing. A General Court-Martial is typically used for felony level offenses, you have the right to an Article 32 Hearing, and the maximum sentence goes all the way up to life without parole and in rare cases, the death penalty.  Even after preferral however, it is still possible for your case to be handled administratively and not proceed to court-martial.  At this stage you will be assigned a military attorney.
  • Article 32 Hearing: At this hearing, an impartial Judge Advocate acts as a hearing officer and decides whether there is probable cause to support the charges against you.  At this stage you have the right to request witnesses and present evidence on your behalf.  However, the hearing officer’s findings are just recommendations to the convening authority, who is not required to follow them.  It is important that your attorney have a deliberate and well thought out strategy at this stage.
  • Referral of Charges: At this stage the Court-Martial Convening Authority, which is the Commanding General or Admiral “refers” the charges against you to trial by court-martial. This means the charges have been officially approved and absent some strange circumstance, the rest of your case will occur in a military court.
  • Arraignment: This will be your first court appearance and will officially bring you into the court system. The military judge will read from a script and the military prosecutor will announce the general nature of the charges against you. At this stage you will be asked to enter your plea and your lawyer will ask the judge for permission to enter your plea at a later time.
  • Motions: Filing and litigating motions is one of the most important stages of the court-martial process. For example, evidence can be suppressed at this stage causing all charges against you to be dismissed or shaping the trial in your favor.  It is critical that your defense attorney identifies all possible motions and aggressively litigates them.
  • The Trial: This is the event for which you and your attorney have been preparing for months.  It generally consists of panel member (jury) selection, opening statements, presentation of evidence, and closing statements. Although the government has the burden to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, your attorney should be telling the story of your innocence at every stage.
  • Sentencing: If you have entered a guilty plea or been found guilty of any offense, you immediately enter a sentencing phase.  Unlike the Hawaii state and federal Courts, there is no delay.  It is critical that your defense attorney is prepared ahead of time for this possibility.  The government will put on evidence in aggravation, which essentially means talking about why what you did is really bad. This is also your chance to put in evidence of extenuation or mitigation, that is, giving your side of the story.  Even if  you have been found guilty, effective representation here is critical to lessen the gravity of your ultimate punishment. 

Hawaii court martial lawyer  – We have Hawaii court martial lawyers located locally and but also court martial lawyers around the United States to assist you at whatever stage you are at in the process. Our Hawaii court martial lawyer is uniquely equipped to fight for your freedom as she was stationed here herself as an active duty JAG at Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield.

Contact us now to speak with one of our experienced Hawaii court martial lawyers for a free and confidential case consultation regardless of what stage you are at in the process. Our court-martial lawyers are located in Hawaii and Georgia,  but will travel around the globe to fight for your freedom.

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2019 Manual for Courts-Martial