Colorado SPrings Court Martial Defense Lawyer
Put Decades of Experience in Your Corner
At Aviso Law, we understand the stress and complexity involved with being suspected of committing a crime in the military, and we are experts at the types of court-martial involved. It takes an adept, knowledgeable lawyer experienced in military law and court martial defense to successfully represent you.
At Aviso Law our military attorneys provide world-class representation to the Colorado Springs, Denver and Douglas county areas, and we have the experience, skill and client-focused approach needed to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
Being suspected of committing a crime in the military can come with serious consequences. Commanders put service members suspected of committing crimes into pretrial confinement, give them Article 15s, initiate separation proceedings and have the authority to charge military members with federal offenses that can result in years of confinement.
If you are suspected of committing a crime in the military, ask for an attorney and refrain from making a statement or talking about the situation to anyone, including your command or the investigator.
For a guarantee of the best results possible, contact us at Aviso Law if you are suspected of committing a crime in the military. As attorneys and former judge Advocates, we fight tirelessly to protect the rights, freedoms, and futures of military members facing criminal allegations, investigations and other disciplinary actions.
Types of Court-Martial
There are three types of court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice:
These are reserved for minor offense in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. For personnel in grade E-5 or above, the maximum punishments a Summary Court-Martial may impose are being restricted for two months or less, forfeiture of two-thirds monthly pay for one month or less and one reduction in grade.
E4 and below may face confinement for one month or less and other punishments. A conviction from a summary court-martial is not considered a conviction under state or federal law.
Special courts-martial are reserved for less serious offenses, such as drug use, assault, theft and giving a false official statement. Regardless of the offense, a special court-martial sentence is limited to no more than 12 months confinement, forfeiture of two-thirds pay per month for twelve months and a bad-conduct discharge for enlisted service members.
General courts-martial are reserved for the most serious offenses in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including murder, rape, sexual assault, fraud, violent crimes, desertion and drugs distribution. A pretrial investigation under Article 32, Uniform Code of Military Justice, must be conducted before a case may be referred to a general court-martial, unless waived by the accused.
A general court-martial conviction is treated as the equivalent of a felony conviction in state or federal court and carries serious consequences to include confinement ranging from years to life, a dishonorable or bad-conduct discharge for enlisted personnel, and dismissal for officers.
How Can a Court Martial Be Dropped?
Dropping a court-martial refers to the process of discontinuing or dismissing the charges and proceedings against the accused.
There are a few ways in which a court-martial can be dropped:
- Lack of Sufficient Evidence: If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to support the charges or if the evidence is deemed unreliable or insufficient, the court-martial may be dropped. The defense can argue that there is a lack of evidence, present counterarguments, or challenge the credibility of witnesses or the legality of the evidence.
- New Evidence: If new evidence emerges that significantly affects the case and potentially exonerates the accused, the court-martial may be dropped. This evidence could be in the form of documents, testimonies, or other relevant information that was not previously available or known. The defense can present this evidence to the court, and if it undermines the prosecution's case or casts doubt on the guilt of the accused, the court-martial may be discontinued.
- Refusal of Key Witnesses: Witnesses play a crucial role in court-martial proceedings by providing testimony and supporting evidence. If key witnesses refuse to participate or are unavailable to testify, it can weaken the prosecution's case. The court relies on witness testimonies to establish facts and prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If essential witnesses decline to participate or cannot be compelled to testify, the prosecution may be left with insufficient evidence to proceed, leading to the court-martial being dropped.
Administrative Disposition: In some cases, the military may choose to handle the matter administratively rather than proceeding with a court-martial. This could involve taking non-judicial disciplinary action, such as issuing a reprimand, imposing extra duties, or initiating administrative separations or discharge proceedings. If the administrative process is deemed sufficient to address the offense, the court-martial may be dropped.
- Pretrial Agreement: Before a court-martial reaches the trial stage, the prosecution and the defense can negotiate a pretrial agreement. This agreement may involve the accused pleading guilty to lesser charges or a reduced sentence in exchange for the charges being dropped or a lighter punishment. If the agreement is accepted by the court-martial convening authority, the case may be resolved without a trial.
- Prosecutorial Discretion: The convening authority, who has the power to refer a case to a court-martial, also has the discretion to drop the charges or dismiss the case. This may happen if there are extenuating circumstances, if the accused's conduct has been exemplary since the charges were filed, or if the military determines that pursuing the court-martial is not in the best interests of justice or the armed forces.
- Constitutional or Legal Violations: If the accused's constitutional rights were violated during the investigation or proceedings, such as unlawful search and seizure or denial of due process, the court-martial may be dropped. In such cases, the defense can file motions to suppress evidence or dismiss the case based on these violations.
Our Colorado Springs court martial defense attorneys can explore every legal avenue to get the entire case dismissed dismissed before appearing in the courtroom. We can thoroughly evaluate your case, determine your available legal options, and help you obtain the most favorable outcome.
At Aviso Law, we have had proven success representing hundreds of service members in separation boards, show cause boards and administrative reduction boards. Administrative proceedings can end your military career, affect your service characterization and jeopardize civilian job opportunities. By choosing us, you can rest assured that we will aggressively and effectively handle your administrative proceedings and stop at nothing to get the best result possible.
Many times military members facing a separation will be entitled to a board of inquiry if the command is proposing to separate the military member with an Other Than Honorable discharge or if the military member has more than six years of military service. The board will take place before a panel of officers and senior enlisted. At the board you will have the right to be present, and to be represented by a military lawyer, or a civilian military lawyer. If you are pending administrative discharge, it’s vital to have an attorney that understands the military system and can fight to preserve your career and benefits. Our attorneys have military experience, understand the ins and outs of the system, and will work tirelessly for your justice.
Every attorney will tell you they put their clients first. That is true for Aviso Law but it’s how we go about it that sets up apart. We understand the difference between being prepared and aggressive in courtrooms, while being understanding and pragmatic in client meetings. We believe in being realistic as well as easy to work with through all the phases of your case, both in and out of court; this saves you money and time while still receiving the service you deserve with the goal of achieving desired results.
To us, success isn’t measured by the years we’ve spent behind a desk but by the careers we’ve built, the contacts we’ve made, and the thousands of clients we’ve served to protect jobs, families, education, and reputations. We developed our careers in Colorado’s military and civil courts, successfully defending clients from all walks of life. We come highly rated by our clients and have received professional recognition for our work.
Breaking the Mold
We’re not your typical law firm. We don’t wear fancy suits (unless we have to in court) and we don’t hide behind big imposing desks. Reflective on our military roots, we strive to serve. We understand the legal process can be threatening and worrisome, which is why we work with our clients to get results. We aim to be respectful, diligent, and cost-effective while practicing the highest standards of legal representation.