Special Courts-Martial

Military Law Info & Help

In the military, court martial trials are governed by the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM), which contains the Uniform Code of Military Justice [1](UCMJ), Rules for Courts-Martial (RCM) and the Military Rules of Evidence [2](MRE).  Chapter II, [3] of the Manual for Courts-Martial provides, in part, as follows:

“Special courts-martial.

(A) In general. Except as otherwise expressly provided, special courts-martial may try any person subject to the code for any noncapital offense made punishable by the code and, as provided in this rule, for capital offenses.”

Attorney Keith Scherer

Keith Scherer – Military Attorney.  Call 877-867-5247 now for a FREE consultation!

A special court-martial is the intermediate level court-martial and is often characterized as the military equivalent of a civilian misdemeanor court.  A special court-martial may try anyone subject to the UCMJ, including officers, midshipmen, reservists who allegedly committed crimes when in active-duty status, and, under certain, circumstances, military retirees.

Regardless of the offenses involved, a special court-martial sentence is limited to no more than twelve-months confinement (or a lesser amount if the offenses have a lower maximum), forfeiture of two-third’s pay per month for six months, a bad-conduct discharge (for enlisted personnel), and lesser punishments.

Punishments Resulting from Special Court Martial

Pursuant to the terms of the RCM:

“(B) Punishments.

(i) Upon a finding of guilty, special courts- martial may adjudge, under limitations prescribed by this Manual, any punishment authorized under R.C.M. 1003 except death, dishonorable discharge, dismissal, confinement for more than 1 year, hard labor without confinement for more than 3 months, forfeiture of pay exceeding two-thirds pay per month, or any forfeiture of pay for more than 1 year.”

Call Gagne, Scherer & Associates, LLC today to schedule a consultation with a civilian military criminal defense lawyer.

With a special court-martial, the military accused will be appointed a military defense lawyer in his or her branch of service.  The military accused also has the right to hire a civilian defense attorney.  The statutes and procedures regarding a special court-martial are complex making it important to consult with a civilian military criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you have been accused of a crime.  To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our military criminal defense attorneys, call our office today at 877-867-5247.


[1] http://www.ucmj.us
[2] https://www.hqmc.marines.mil/Portals/135/Docs/JAM/JSC/New%20MREs%20-%20Updated%20June%202015.pdf