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A court-martial will be the most frightening challenge, short of war, you may have to face. By the time your situation is referred to a court-martial, it will have been reviewed and investigated by many people. If the Command believes the misconduct is serious, you will be ordered to appear before an Article 32, Pretrial Investigation. This investigation is similar to a grand jury or preliminary hearing in the civilian criminal justice system. During the Article 32, you get to be present, question the witnesses testifying in support of the military, call witnesses and present evidence on your behalf and can testify or make an unsworn statement if you desire.

During the actual court-martial, you will have to make decisions on whether you want to be tried by the military judge alone or if you want a court-martial panel made up of members of your command and if you want to testify under oath to tell your story. Other decisions that must be made are determining what defenses may be used to defend you, what witnesses to call and who you should try to excuse as members. These are all significant decisions that will impact the final result. You need me there to explain your rights and help you make the right decision, giving your case the best chances for success.

Besides a court-martial, there are numerous administrative hearings that can end your career, and for certain service members that have licensing requirements, your ability to perform your job as a civilian. If you are facing a court-martial, you need an experienced attorney who will be aggressive and fight to ensure your rights are protected. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.

- John Schum, Honolulu Criminal Defense Attorney and Military Lawyer

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