Articles Posted in Military

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MilitaryMembers of the United States military forces are prosecuted in the special military court, which is called a court-martial. Court-martial proceedings take the form of a trial with a presiding judge, a prosecutor and defensive counsel, who are all trained lawyers and also military officers. The jury also consists of military officers. A court-martial is convened to try members of the U.S. military forces for violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Military crimes are categorized into three categories. Summary court-martial is a court where one officer serves both as a judge and the jury. Such court may sentence up to 30 days in military jail. Special court-martial is the military equivalent of a criminal misdemeanor court, which may sentence up to 6 months. Finally, in general court-martial proceedings the accused may be sentenced to death or life sentence. There are also hosts of non-judicial procedures known as Non-judicial punishment (NJP) in the Navy and Marine Corps.

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Tens of thousands of veterans have completed combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and almost inevitably suffer from some level of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Problems and symptoms include: sleeplessness, violent awakenings, flashbacks, nightmares, suicidal ideation, dissociation from events or reality, impotence, and other complications.

Unfortunately, those suffering from PTSD often self medicate by abusing alcohol and/or drugs. Military DUI charges, drug charges, domestic violence, and other acts of violence are common manifestations.

Research has shown that common symptoms of PTSD often do not express themselves for months or years after traumatic events. Although some symptoms may be present initially, problems intensify with time if untreated.

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Active and reserve military have major problems when arrested or charged with domestic violence. If you’re convicted, it means the end of your career.

What’s known as the “Lautenberg Amendment” makes it a felony for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of “domestic violence” (e.g., assault or attempted assault on a family member) to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms or ammunition. There is no exception for military personnel engaged in official duties. The Amendment also makes it a felony for anyone to sell or issue a firearm or ammunition to a person with such a conviction. This includes commanders and NCOs who furnish weapons or ammunition to Marines or Navy knowing, or having reason to believe, they have qualifying convictions. Some civilian courts were trying to create an exception by saying a firearm could be carried in the line of duty. Marines were pleading guilty to domestic violence and thinking they would be ok. That’s absolutely incorrect and a career killer.

What qualifies as “domestic violence”? In California it’s a long list of relationships. It includes anyone you’ve dated and members of your household.

About Wallin & Klarich


Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.