Virginia has many people in the military who reside in the Commonwealth and there are times when there are accusations of military law violations lodged against them. It is important to understand that the military has its own courts to deal with those who are either members of the military or are students at a service academy. Having legal representation that does not understand how the military justice system works can lead to mistakes in the process. For those faced with charges and the potential penalties for military law violations, it is imperative to be represented by a law firm that is experienced in military cases.
There are many service members, prospective service members and former service members in Virginia. For these individuals, the realities of military law sometimes intersect with civilian law. At other times, they diverge completely. It is important for members of the military, former members of the military and those attending service academies to understand how a military law violation can impact them in the present and future. A dishonorable discharge after a court martial can harm them in a myriad of ways. Regardless of the charges, it is essential to have legal assistance to combat the allegations. This is especially true when it is a young person who is in a military academy.
When members of the United States Armed Forces are accused of illegal activity while serving and the charges are of sufficient severity, there can be a court martial proceeding that can ultimately lead to penalties and a discharge. This is a fundamental part of military law. Since there are so many military personnel stationed in Virginia, it is important to understand how these cases are handled and the potential punishments they might face. Virginia is also the home to many former military members who might be under the impression that once they have left the service, they are no longer subject to its penalties. As a recent Supreme Court decision shows, that is not the case.
Being a member of the U.S. Armed Forces is an honor and a privilege. Those who join are doing so out of duty to their country and to make use of the many benefits that accompany their service. However, it is important to remember that it military law can be complex and those who are accused of violating it can face various penalties. If there is a conviction in a military court, the service member might have a court martial and a dishonorable discharge. When there are allegations of wrongdoing, legal assistance from a law firm that specializes in military matters is a must.
Workers who also serve in the military are afforded job protections under what is known as The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Relief Act of 1994 (USERRA). This Act prevents an employer from discriminating against or firing an employee due to necessary leave for active military service.
After a military member has been convicted in a court-martial trial, they have a post-trial opportunity to submit a request for clemency to the Convening Authority. That Convening Authority is then tasked with fully agreeing and approving a court-martial decision, making a different decision, or granting some form of relief. However, a conviction may only remain the same, or be reduced in some way. It may never be made worse.
Military law can seem like a complex and confusing area of the law with big impacts on the lives of service members and others. Because of this reality, and the significant impact military law can have on many aspects of a service member's life, it is helpful for military members to understand what military law refers to and some of the concerns it may address.
When a military career ends prematurely it can end in an administrative separation which can have a significant and negative impact on military members, their lives and futures. There are two types of administrative separations military service members should be familiar with including administrative separations and punitive discharges.
There are two broad categories of military discharges including an honorable discharge and a dishonorable discharge. There are a variety of circumstances, both good and bad, that my lead to a servicemember's separation from the military so it is helpful for them to understand what those circumstances are.
As this blog has addressed on previous occasions, soldiers and sailors in the United States armed forces are subject to a special set of laws called the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ.