The military court-martial process is governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The process begins with a charge being initiated against you. This article discusses preferred charges that lead to a special or general court-martial.

Before the Court-Martial Trial

Before the start of the trial starts, a person has the right to hire counsel, and request witnesses.

Right to Counsel

A person has the right to get assigned military defense counsel as and when a charge has been initiated against him. Defense counsel will be allotted to you through a trial defense service. If you want to hire a specific Judge advocate, then you can request that lawyer.

Hiring a civilian attorney is also admissible, but you will be needed to pay the fee of attorney. Tacoma is a middle-sized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County in Washington state, US. You should not dismiss the court martial lawyer in Tacoma, WA, even if you want to seek assistance of a civilian lawyer. The military attorney can assist your civilian lawyer and also keep the fees down.

Level of Court-Martial

Once the charges get initiated and you get a lawyer, then the next step will be to:

  • Determine the level of “court-martial” to “mention” the case as general or special
  • Lower the charge so that it can be solved via an Article 15 punishment, or
  • Release of the charges.

If your commander wishes the case to reach court-martial, then he or she will have to perform an investigation prior to “referring” the trial case. An informal examination will serve if your legal case is referred to special court martial. A formal examination is still needed before a general court-martial.

It is important to participate actively in the hearing but you can anytime take private counsel or military counsel. It is also legitimate if your attorney cross-evaluates the witnesses of prosecutor, challenge proofs, call your witnesses, and brings your own proofs.

Pre-Trial Proceedings

Before the commencement of trial procedure, both attorneys will form an evidence and file pretrial motions and witnesses if deemed necessary. The prosecutor also referred as “trial counsel” is obliged to assemble for all witnesses for the defense as well as the prosecution to be present at the trial. The government will be liable to pay the fee to bring witnesses to the place of trial. This includes expert witnesses too which are a lot expensive.

How to choose the best court-martial lawyer?

Choosing the right lawyer has a significant impact on the overall verdict of the case. It is important to educate yourself by performing a thorough research of the background of the civilian lawyer that you want to hire.

  • Has this lawyer offered his services in the army?
  • For how long did they serve?
  • How many court-martial cases have been handled by them?
  • What extent of their practice is devoted to representation of soldiers?
  • Do they have specialization in army criminal defense?


Dealing with a military court-martial trial procedure can be easy, time and cost effective when you know the right ways to do it and hire the correct lawyer.