Q: What becomes of service members after a court-martial conviction and military discharge?
The impact of a court-martial conviction significantly affects a service member’s future (as well as their family’s future) in many ways, so hiring a skilled civilian military court-martial defense attorney from the outset is critical.
A court-martial is not the time to trust your future to a free court-appointed member of the military defense counsel, who is likely overworked and inexperienced. Not only might a skilled civilian military defense attorney get the charges dismissed, but alternatively might secure a more lenient punishment.
Depending on the type and severity of the charges, a service member convicted in a court-martial can receive punishments ranging from death, confinement, rank reduction, forfeiture of pay, bad conduct or dishonorable discharge, and more. These collective punishments impact not only the service member’s freedom, but their military career, pension, and benefits. In addition, a dishonorable discharge –which acts like the equivalent of a felony conviction in the civilian world – –can affect a former service member’s ability to get a civilian job, get a federal college or other loan or job, own a firearm and more. A bad conduct discharge is also considerably damaging to post-military life.
On occasion, service members who have been convicted after court-martial and received a bad conduct or dishonorable discharge, go on to have troubles and make headlines in the civilian world.
One recent example involves the alleged shooter in the recent Texas church massacre, who was reportedly “given a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force” in 2014 after being “court-martialed in 2012 for allegedly assaulting his wife and their child and serving 12 months in custody”.
While a person who has been dishonorably discharged is prohibited by federal law from buying a firearm, it was reportedly unclear how the multiple weapons allegedly found in the shooter’s vehicle had been obtained or whether his bad conduct discharge would have triggered the law.
If you are or believe you might be facing a military court-martial, the experienced civilian military defense attorneys at Elkus, Sisson, and Rosenstein P.C. will aggressively fight on your behalf to defend your reputation, freedom, and military career. Contact us today for a free consultation.
From our offices in Denver and Colorado Springs, we represent service members of all ranks, in all branches, all over the world.