There are three kinds of Courts Martial in the military. The least severe forum is a summary court martial. Accepting a summary court martial forum has benefits and drawbacks. You give up your right to a jury (member panel). Instead, you are tried by an officer who will decide if you are guilty or innocent and also impose punishment. That punishment however, is capped at 30 days of confinement and you cannot receive a punitive discharge, which is the most serious punishment the military can impose short of death. A special courts martial gives you the opportunity to be tried by a member panel, but also has limits on the punishment imposed. The timeline between being accused and court is much shorter, but you can only be sentenced to up to one year of confinement and only a Bad Conduct Discharge (not a Dishonorable Discharge). While most states interpret a special court martial as the equivalent of a misdemeanor, the military makes no such distinction, and every state will have their own interpretation based upon their own laws. It is a Federal Conviction, and will affect you for the rest of your life. The most severe kind of case is a General Courts Martial. There are no limits on the punishment you can receive at a General Courts Martial. Before a GCM can convene, you are entitled to an Article 32 hearing. This is your first chance to hear the evidence the government has against you. Having a competent lawyer represent you at the Article 32 hearing is important because it is a great opportunity to shape the evidence before trial and you have the potential to convince the government you did not commit a crime. You should have a comprehensive strategy that encompasses every phase of the process. No matter what you are facing, you deserve an attorney who has the experience to fight for you. Do not accept an attorney who does not keep you informed, who does not give your case the attention it deserves, or who is so over-worked that he or she cannot give you justice. Give me a call and we can discuss what your options are and I will share what my strategic approach would be.