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Your Rights Before the Court Martial Process
When you’re facing charges as a military member, it’s strongly advisable to hire a reputable military defense attorney in San Diego and thoroughly prepare for the court martial process that’s ahead of you. One of the initial and most essential parts of devising an efficient strategy is getting to know your rights before the court.
What rights do I have in court martial proceedings?
You have four options to choose from during the court martial process, and you should thoroughly discuss each of them with your lawyer:
The right to an attorney
Every member facing charges has the right to a uniformed lawyer free of charge. This lawyer is provided by the military, and you can choose to accept them, hire a civilian alternative, or do both.
What matters is that you opt for an expert you feel comfortable with and who you believe can deliver the best possible service. Look for a lawyer with considerable experience in military law to be your legal representative.
The right to plead guilty or not guilty
The decision to plead guilty or not guilty is completely up to you. You can seek advice from your lawyer who will analyze the available evidence and provide their opinion. Normally, they’ll advise you to plead not guilty if you believe yourself not to be so under a moral obligation.
At times, pleading guilty can have some advantages. To do so, you must swear in and testify to persuade the judge of your plea. Once you plead guilty, you give up your constitutional right to a trial by your peers, and the prosecution doesn’t have to go through the process of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
You need to take into consideration a lot of factors to make the best decision on your plea, and your lawyer will help you reach an informed decision.
The right to remain silent
It is always wise to remain silent until the beginning of your trial. This way, you don’t risk jeopardizing your case in any way. However, you can also choose to remain silent during the trial, which will force the prosecution to try to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You can also choose to testify, and the lawyer will then prepare you to take the stand.
During the phase of sentencing, you can also opt between remaining silent and testifying. In the latter case, you provide an unsworn statement which the prosecution can’t cross-examine.
The right to decide on the court’s panel
You have the right to choose the makeup of the court’s panel. You can choose to exclusively have officers on the panel or to have only a judge. This decision highly depends on the particularities of an individual case.
However, for technical defense, it’s normally more convenient to opt for a judge instead of a panel. Panel is typically more likely to hand down a more lenient sentence. In any case, you should base your decision on the particular circumstances of your case.
Who is the most notable military defense attorney in San Diego?
Preparing an efficient defense strategy for the court martial process requires that you understand what a court martial is and what the process includes. However, another crucial step is hiring an experienced and trustworthy attorney to defend your case. Our dedicated team of seasoned lawyers at Monder Criminal Lawyer Group takes every single case with utmost care and goes above and beyond to give you peace of mind.
Take a peaceful stroll along the Balboa Park to ease your mind, then come and visit our office for a free consultation.