Tennessee Court Martial Lawyer

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Tennessee Court Martial Attorney

Being accused of a crime as a military member can be terrifying. You face the possibility of a court-martial trial, and the consequences of being convicted can be severe, including loss of rank, confinement, and even a discharge. The court-martial process can be a complex and overwhelming experience with several stages. Securing the legal representation of a Tennessee court-martial lawyer can give you the ability to confidently navigate this situation.

Tennessee Court Martial Lawyer


Choose Michael J. Thompson, Attorney at Law

At the law office of Michael J. Thompson, Attorney at Law, our legal team works hard to provide our clients with outstanding representation. Defense attorney James Phillips served in the military as an Army JAG and has experience working as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer in military cases. His in-depth knowledge of military law makes him a very reliable advocate for service members facing court-martial.

Understanding Court-Martial Proceedings

Court-martial proceedings are criminal proceedings held in military court, governed by the Manual for Courts-Martial. Generally, courts-martial are convened to try U.S. military service members accused of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). It is up to the discretion of a military commanding officer to decide if a case should be disposed of by court-martial and, if so, which level of court-martial.

There are three possible levels of court-martial a commander may choose from, each differing in rights, procedures, and punishments:

Summary Court-Martial

This is the lowest court-martial level, only meant to try enlisted service members for minor offenses. At this level, penalties are not generally very severe. However, summary courts-martial do not have a panel or jury. The hearing is presided over by a single military officer.

Special Court-Martial

Special court-martial is the intermediate court-martial level that tries cases more on the misdemeanor level. Like summary courts-martial, typically only enlisted members are tried at this level. The court usually consists of a military judge and a jury, some of which can be enlisted as well upon request.

General Court-Martial

This level of court-martial is the highest, and cases tried here can be at a level equal to a felony. A service member convicted by general court-martial can potentially receive some of the harshest penalties. This court can consist of a military judge and jury, and enlisted members can request for some of the jury to be enlisted. There must be an Article 32 hearing before a case can be sent to a general court-martial.

Legal Rights for Military Service Members

Service members who have allegations against them have several rights that are protected under federal laws, including the UCMJ when they are being tried by court-martial. There are some important rights you should be aware of when facing the possibility of court-martial proceedings:

  • Legal Counsel – Military service members have a right to legal counsel when being tried by special court-martial and general court-martial. They may either be represented by a military or civilian lawyer. Service members tried by summary court-martial have no right to legal counsel and may only hire their own lawyer.
  • Trial – All service members have a right to trial by court-martial before a military judge alone, except in capital cases, or a military judge and a jury of their peers. They also have the right to object to trial by summary court-martial in favor of a jury trial.
  • Self-Incrimination – Service members have a right to avoid self-incrimination during the investigation process and court-martial proceedings.
  • Confront Witnesses – Service members have the right to confront witnesses who are testifying against them and cross-examine them.
  • Present Evidence – Service members have the right to call witnesses and present evidence in their defense at a court-martial trial.
  • Appeal a Decision – A service member who is convicted by court-martial has the right to appeal the decision and have the trial reviewed.

It is essential to understand all the legal rights you have if you face court-martial. Consult with a lawyer at the law office of Michael J. Thompson, Attorney at Law, who can help you protect and defend your rights at every stage of the process.

Legal Representation From a Former Marine



Q. How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in Tennessee?

A. In Tennessee, the cost of a criminal defense lawyer varies depending on such factors as location, the lawyer’s level of experience, their reputation, and how complex your case is. Additionally, many criminal defense lawyers will either charge a set hourly fee or a flat fee. With an hourly fee, you pay for every hour the lawyer spends on your case. A flat fee is a set amount for the lawyer to work your entire case, regardless of how long it takes.

Q. What Happens if You Lose a Court-Martial?

A. If you lose a court-martial, meaning you are found guilty of the charges, a sentencing hearing will be held where you will be given your punishment. The punishment you receive for a court-martial conviction depends on what you were charged with and the type of court-martial. Once you are sentenced, you may be entitled to an appeal.

Q. Can I Negotiate a Plea Agreement if I Am Facing Court-Martial Proceedings?

A. Yes, you can negotiate a plea agreement if you are facing court-martial proceedings. A plea agreement usually means pleading guilty or confessing to specific charges. In exchange for a guilty plea, the convening authority may promise a lighter sentence, reduced charges, withdrawal of certain charges, or a referral to a certain court-martial.

Q. Who Can Convene a Court-Martial?

A. Only a convening authority can convene a court-martial, which is a military officer who has been given the legal power to convene a court-martial. This is usually the commanding officer of a military installation or unit.

The most senior level officer of an installation or unit has the authority to convene any court-martial, as well as the U.S. President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary concerned. There are some lower-ranking officers who also have the authority to convene a special court-martial or summary court-martial.

Your Tennessee Court-Martial Lawyer

Securing an experienced and knowledgeable court-martial lawyer is crucial if you are a service member facing these serious military legal proceedings. Contact Michael J. Thompson, Attorney at Law, to schedule a consultation and have your case assessed by a dedicated Tennessee court-martial lawyer.

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15744 Fort Campbell Blvd
Oak Grove, KY 42262