CONSEQUENCES OF A COURT MARTIAL CONVICTION

WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A MILITARY COURT MARTIAL CONVICTION?

There are a great many consequences of a military criminal conviction that clients do not often know about or consider. Therefore, we wanted to list a few here to help you understand and make an informed decision. The following briefly describes the most common outcomes:

CONVICTED FELON

As you may know, being a “convicted felon” has many ramifications in our society. You’ll likely lose your right to vote or to run for public office, your chances of being employed in many fields (law enforcement, medical, or other positions that are considered “sensitive” or involve positions of trust). Whether or not a conviction on a particular charge will be treated as a felony varies from state to state. You should discuss your specific plans with your counsel to find out what your conviction will mean in a particular state.

PUNITIVE DISCHARGE

If you are convicted at a court martial, you may receive a “punitive discharge” (Bad Conduct,  Dishonorable or Dismissal (if you’re an officer). These discharges will take effect after any mandatory appeal process is completed (sometimes as long as three years after your conviction). This means that you remain on active duty until the punitive discharge takes effect or your enlistment expires, whichever occurs first. That said, it is likely that you will be placed in a no-pay “appellate leave” status until this happens. During the wait, you and your dependents will still be permitted to use the Exchange and Commissary and you’ll retain your right to medical and emergency dental. Once your discharge is approved, you’ll lose these benefits.

VOTING RIGHTS

As mentioned, many states restrict the voting rights of convicted felons. You should discuss your specific state rules with your counsel to determine if you might retain voting rights.

GUN RIGHTS

Federal law prohibits a person who has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year from purchasing ammunition or firearms. This also applies to convictions for domestic violence regardless of the confinement time. Your attorney can assist you in understanding your specific state’s rules.

SEX OFFENSES

Convictions for certain “sex offenses” may require that you register as a sex offender. This draconian policy is governed by federal as well as state law. For example, the names of “sex offenders” and the details of their crime will be accessible by members of the public on websites such as this one: www.nsopw.gov

Those required to register as a sex offender will have restrictions on attending colleges, living near parks or schools, and working in industries where they would have contact with minors, to name just a few. As an example, click here for California’s rules, which are very similar to other states. The terms and duration of sex offender registration vary from state to state. Certain states may require registration for offenses not listed in the instruction. Read more about sex offender registration generally by clicking here. Regardless of your state, PLEASE make sure you understand the ramifications of this policy thoroughly before you agree to plead guilty to a crime considered a “sex offense.”

VA BENEFITS

You may not know it now, but the benefits you’ve earned from the Veteran’s Administration are extremely valuable. They include lifetime disability compensation, veteran’s pension programs, free medical care, educational benefits (including the 9/11 GI Bill), housing and home loan guarantees, job training, small businesses loans, mental health counseling, and funeral benefits, just to name a few. Regardless of your age or health, you should NOT take any action that would give up these benefits without careful consideration. For example, the post 9/11 GI Bill is worth over $100,000 alone! Read more about these valuable benefits by clicking here. If you receive a punitive discharge you will likely lose ALL of these benefits. Please consult with an experienced military counsel before you do anything that would render you ineligible for VA benefits.   

IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES

A court-martial conviction can negatively affect a non-citizen’s immigration status, ultimately leading to deportation proceedings. Click here to review Grounds for Deportability. These grounds include, but are not limited to, conviction for a “crime of moral turpitude” for which a sentence of one year or longer may be imposed, conviction for some controlled substance offenses, and convictions for domestic violence.

RETIREMENT BENEFITS

Enlisted members separated by a punitive discharge, and officers separated by a dismissal will lose all retirement benefits, including pay and medical benefits.

As you can see, a court martial conviction could drastically impact your life. You should do EVERYTHING you can to fight in order to avoid one. At King Military Law, we work to fight–and win–this battle every day. Please give us a call if you think we can help. 

King Military Law: Decades of Experience in YOUR Corner–When Experience Matters Most

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Gabe CarothersGabe Carothers
03:05 30 Jul 22
King military law truly cares, and will be by your side every single step of the way. If you are even thinking of calling them. Do It. They are true professionals who care. Thank you king military law.
Ro JairamRo Jairam
15:29 12 Jul 22
Don is the guy you want in your corner. When you are up against the resources of the military and government in general, it can be overwhelming. The military JAGs who may eventually get to defend you do their best, but they are often overrun with cases and can only represent you after you’ve been officially been informed that you’re going to court-martial or administrative separation board.I won’t go into too many details about my specific situation, but Don’s vast experience as a prior judge and JAGC CAPT, his knowledge of the law and particular the UCMJ, and quite frankly, his connections to those in the military legal circles, may have saved my career.Do yourself a favor and call King Military Law for a free consultation. Especially if you think things are going to go sideways (like they did in my case), you should give serious consideration toward hiring an attorney.I’ll end with this since I’m being vague. My situation ended in an outcome that the JAGs were flabbergasted by. I had to make some financial sacrifices to hire this warrior but it was well worth it in the end. The resolution to my situation was fair and equitable, and that’s all I could hope for in the beginning.Thanks Don, and keep fighting the good fight.
Coleman ProffittColeman Proffitt
18:19 26 Jun 22
Don King is a man of integrity, professionalism, and work ethic. He worked tirelessly on my case and was always available for my questions. He made sure that I was well informed on the entire situation and all outcomes. I am thankful that I had Don King on my case, and I would give him the highest recommendation to anyone in need.
ShaunShaun
02:07 09 Apr 22
We only had a Brief conversation. But within those few minutes, He made me smile with relief. He gave me better advice then three lawyers a jag and legal on my ship. I got hit with article 112a, when my ship found a dab pen in my belongings. After his consultation, I feel like I can put my mine at ease. highly recommend 10 out of 10!!!!!!
Roberto AugustinRoberto Augustin
01:40 25 Feb 22
If you are facing any legal issues within your command, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Don. He is one of the best military attorneys you could ever ask for. He is sincere and extremely knowledgeable about the military law. I was in the process of getting separated for a pattern of misconduct a few months before my EOS. I felt so hopeless and scared that I would lose all my benefits. I waited at the last minute to contact Mr. Don. God knows that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. He took his time to listen to my issues and told me right away that he could help me. After I provided him with all the information that was needed for my case, he and his team were able to write a very successful letter to my command admiral and allow me to get out with an honorable discharge. The only regret I have by choosing Attorney Don and his team is not contacting them much earlier than I did.Thanks again, Mr. Don. I greatly appreciate you and your team for helping me win my case.
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