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Criminal allegations are always worrisome regardless of the circumstances, but when it is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, there are other concerns that must be addressed. This is true for Virginia residents and people across the world who are on active duty or are attending one of the service academies. A violation of military law can result in a court-martial and a discharge. In addition to the potential penalties, there will be long-term consequences beyond the legal ramifications, as the conviction will follow the person as they seek to get jobs in the civilian world, try to get admitted to a school and more.

According to recent reports, a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Academy is confronted with multiple charges including assault. The male sergeant was accused of assaulting a woman with whom he is said to have been in an intimate relationship. Other allegations include not registering weapons he had in his on-base residence and that he made threats. Many of the allegations came about from an incident in late April. The man is accused of confronting the woman with a gun, grabbing her and choking her.

In the case, a hearing officer will determine if there is sufficient evidence to court-martial the sergeant. He could be imprisoned for a maximum of eight years for the worst charges. With the other assault allegations, he could have three months to three years in jail. The academy can court-martial the sergeant, punish him in a different way or dismiss the case.

Military law is different from civilian law in many ways and those who are facing charges while they are in the military must make certain that they understand the law. Not only can the charges result in a court-martial and a discharge, but there can be extensive jail time as well. There are three different forms of courts-martial: a summary court-martial, a special court-martial and a general court-martial. Understanding military law is crucial to a case and creating a strong defense.