Types of Court-Martial Punishments

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After a service member has been convicted in a court-martial, the trial will immediately transition to a sentencing phase. There are many possible punishments for those found guilty in a court-martial. Your punishment will greatly depend upon the type of court-martial in which you were convicted. 

There are three types of court-martials: 1) general; 2) special; and 3) summary. These court martial try the most serious, moderate, and least serious crimes respectively. 

General Court-Martial Punishments

When a service member is convicted in a general court-martial there are a number of punishments they may incur. These punishments range from reprimand to, in some cases, capital punishment. Other punishments a service member may receive in a general court-martial include:

  • Confinement (could be many years to life in prison)
  • Loss of pay/allowances
  • Pay grade reduction
  • Rank reduction
  • Bad-conduct discharge (BCD)
  • Dishonorable discharge (DD)
  • Dismissal
  • Fines
  • Restrictions

The presiding authority is responsible for deciding the punishment you receive. 

Special Court-Martial Punishments

When a service member is convicted in a special court-martial the potential punishments are not as severe. In fact, the maximum punishment that one can receive in a special court-martial is:

  • Up to one year of confinement;
  • Up to three months of hard labor;
  • A reduction in your pay grade;
  •  BC discharge; and/or 
  • A loss of two-thirds of your pay for up to one year.

Summary Court-Martial Punishments

When a service member is convicted in a summary court-martial the potential punishments are the least severe. The maximum punishments include:

  • 30 days confinement;
  • 45 days hard labor without confinement; 
  • 45 days of restrictions (chosen by the commissioned officer); 
  • A loss of two-thirds of your pay for one month; and/or 
  • A reduction in your pay grade. 

It should be noted that those service members with a pay grade above an E-4 may not be confined or receive hard labor. These individuals can simply have their pay grade reduced. 

While military and civilian justice systems are completely separate, if a military member is convicted of a non-consensual sex offense in the military, he or she will most likely have to register as a sex offender under civilian law too.

The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible. If you are a military service member and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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