Criminal Law

The Center for Military Law L.L.C. can provide an attorney to represent U.S. Military men and women at Courts-Martial, Article 32 Investigations, Non-Judicial Punishment/Article 15’s, CID/MPI Investigations, AR 15-6 Investigations, and Commander’s Inquiries.


Courts-martial are conducted under the UCMJ and the Manual for Courts-Martial United States. If the trial results in a conviction, the case is reviewed by the convening authority – the commanding officer who referred the case for trial by court-martial. The convening authority has discretion to mitigate the findings and sentence, set aside convictions, and/or to remand convictions and/or sentences back to a court-martial for re-hearing. If the sentence, as approved by the convening authority, includes death, a bad conduct discharge, a dishonorable discharge, dismissal of an officer, or confinement for one year or more, the case is reviewed by an intermediate court. There are four such courts – the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals.

If you're facing a courts-martial in the United States, the Center for Military Law L.L.C. is here to help you. A Courts-Martial is convened to try members of the U.S. military for violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which is the U.S. military's criminal code. Sometimes they can also be convened for other purposes, including military tribunals and the enforcement of martial law in an occupied territory. Courts-martial are governed by the rules of procedure and evidence laid out in the Manual for Courts-Martial, which contains the Rules for Courts-Martial, Military Rules of Evidence, and other guidance. There are three types: Special, Summary, and General.

Article 32 Investigations

An Article 32 hearing is a proceeding under the United States Uniform Code of Military Justice, similar to that of a preliminary hearing in civilian law. Its name is derived from UCMJ section VII ("Trial Procedure") Article 32 (10 U.S.C. § 832), which mandates the hearing. The UCMJ specifies several different levels of formality with which infractions can be dealt. The most serious is a general court-martial. An article 32 hearing is required before a defendant can be referred to a general court-martial, in order to determine whether there is enough evidence to merit a general court-martial.

Offenders in the US military may face non-judicial punishment, a summary court-martial, special court-martial, general court-martial, or administrative separation. A commanding officer, in the role as court-martial convening authority, will consult with the command judge advocate for advice on case dispostition; factors to be considered include, inter alia, the relevant statutory and case law, the seriousness of the offenses, the strength or weakness of each element of the case, the promotion of good order and discipline, and the commander's desire for case disposition.

Non-Judicial Punishment/Article 15’s

A non-judicial punishment (NJP) in the United States Armed Forces is a form of military justice authorized by Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Non-judicial punishment or "NJP" permits commanders to administratively discipline troops without a court-martial. Punishment can range from reprimand to reduction in rank, correctional custody, confinement on bread and water/diminished rations (aboard ships only), loss of pay, extra duty, and/or restrictions. The receipt of non-judicial punishment does not constitute a criminal conviction (it is equivalent to a civil action), but is often placed in the service record of the individual. The process for non-judicial punishment is governed by Part V of the Manual for Courts-Martial and by each service branch's regulations.

Non-judicial punishment proceedings are known by different terms among the services. In the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force, non-judicial punishment is referred to as Article 15; in the Marine Corps it is called being "NJP'd" or being sent to "Office Hours". The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard call non-judicial punishment captain's mast or admiral's mast, depending on the rank of the commanding officer.

CID/MPI Investigations

The Military Police Corps is the uniformed law enforcement branch of the United States Army. Investigations are conducted by Military Police Investigators or the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC), both of which report to the Provost Marshal General. CID does not charge subjects of investigations with crimes. CID investigates allegations of wrongdoing and once an investigation is completed, turns the findings over to the appropriate command and legal authority for disposition and adjudication. Once a person is charged with a crime, that information may become public record through an Article 32 Hearing, Courts Martial etc.

CID Special Agents primarily investigate felony-level crime across the Army and provide investigative support to field commanders. They conduct a wide variety of investigations to include deaths, sexual assault, armed robbery, procurement fraud, computer crimes, counter-drug operations and war crimes. CID agents also provide counter-terrorism support, criminal intelligence support, force protection, forensic laboratory investigative support, and protective services for key Department of Defense and senior Army leadership.

AR 15-6 Investigations

AR 15-6 procedures generally govern investigations requiring detailed fact gathering and analysis and recommendations based on those facts. An "investigation" is simply the process of collecting information for the command, so that the command can make an informed decision. AR 15-6 sets forth procedures for both informal and formal investigations.

Informal investigations usually have a single investigating officer who conducts interviews and collects evidence. In contrast, formal investigations normally involve due process hearings for a designated respondent before a board of several officers. Formal procedures are required whenever a respondent is designated.

Commander’s Inquiries

If a commander receives information that a member of his or her command is accused or suspected of committing an offense or offenses triable by court-martial, the immediate commander is required to make or cause to be made a preliminary inquiry into the charges or suspected offenses. This preliminary inquiry is usually informal.

In the case of simple, minor offenses the inquiry may simply be a matter of the commander obtaining information from the suspected offender’s chain of command. In complex or serious cases the commander should seek the assistance of law enforcement investigators when conducting the preliminary inquiry.

The CFML is fully versed with all types of Military Law and can help you with your defense. Contact us today.


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