MILITARY - A Discussion of the Law and Lawyers
The United States military have their own military laws and legal system service members must live by, in addition to state and federal laws. Military laws govern the behavior of military personnel and violations are tried in a military court, known as a court-martial. All laws are created and maintained by the military, and any party with questions about military law or facing charges under it should consult a military attorney.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is the general guideline, similar to state statutes and legislation, that governs all members of the US armed services, and some federal employees who work closely with the military. In addition, each military branch may choose to add additional laws or regulations for their particular service members. Each branch has their own military court system to hear all cases stemming from violations of the UCMJ. Military courts may also hear a case for violations of state or federal laws, depending on where and the type of incident that occurred. A trial in a military court, or a court-martial, is conducted in front of a panel of officers or service members ranking higher than the defendant, and overseen by a military judge. Depending on the crime, a court-martial can impose sentences ranging from reducing rank, dishonorable discharge, to imprisonment and even death. Military law provides avenues for convicted defendants to file an appeal of their sentence, at which point a higher military court will review the case and determine if the defendant was properly convicted and sentenced. Any defendant facing charges in a military court should consult a military attorney.
Consulting a Military Attorney
A military attorney, known as Judge Advocate, is an officer in the military who serves as an attorney enforcing military law. Criminal defendants will be prosecuted by a Judge Advocate representing that branch of the military as a whole, similar to a state or federal prosecutor. A military attorney is familiar with military laws, and is able to represent a party in military court. A military attorney is also available to consult parties on various military laws, international rules of engagement, government contract and administrative law, and any other national or international law in an area the military operates. Service members may choose to hire a private or civilian attorney with military experience - often retired or separated attorneys. Any party with questions about military law, or are facing charges in a military court, should speak with a military attorney.