Defence Lawyer for military offences
If you serve in the Armed Forces and you are concerned about an allegation made against you, it is crucial that you seek legal advice from an expert in military law.
At Draycott Browne, we represent clients across the armed forces who face investigation or charges; we understand the potential impact of such investigations on the career or family of military personnel, and we work hard on your behalf to provide the best defence available.
No matter what the offence, if arrested, either by Service Police or civilian police, it is your right to be given legal advice and representation at interview to ensure that you receive fair treatment and that your legal rights are upheld.
Whether you are based in the UK or overseas, Draycott Browne can offer you legal representation from initial interview and throughout any subsequent legal proceedings. If you need legal advice in relation to a military offence, speak to us as soon as possible - we are well known for our efficient, pragmatic approach and we will work proactively on your behalf to obtain the best possible outcome.
What is the Court Martial?
The Court Martial has been in place for hundreds of years and exists to regulate the conduct of anyone serving in the military. The Armed Forces Act 2006 came into force on 31 October 2009, creating a single system of service law which applies to personnel of the military (the Army, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force) and any civilians who are subject to service discipline. The Court Martial has global jurisdiction and deals with all types of criminal cases, whether civilian or military, and will deal with both minor disciplinaries and serious criminal offences. Similar to a civilian Crown Court in many ways, the Court Marshal differs in that it usually consists of a Judge Advocate and a number of warrant and commissioned officers, rather than a jury. Offences involving military personnel of the most serious nature, such as rape or murder, may be heard in the civilian Crown Court.
If you work for the armed forces and are arrested or charged with an offence, speak to Draycott Browne. Our specialist military team will offer expert advice tailored to your case, ensuring that your rights and best interests are defended.
What happens if you are arrested for a military offence?
If you are arrested, either by civilian or service police, you will have to attend an interview, at which you are entitled to free and independent legal representation, whether you are in the UK or overseas. We would always recommend that you ensure that you have representation before you attend an interview to ensure that you do not inadvertently do or say anything that might jeopardise your case. The Service Police may ask you to attend an interview voluntarily, rather than under arrest, but if this does happen you still have the same rights to representation, which we would strongly advise that you take up before attending any such interview.
If an offence is alleged, an investigation will usually be launched, either by the Commanding Officer or the Service Police – this may have been referred by the civilian police initially. Depending on the findings, the case may be referred to the Court Martial or dealt with summarily – you have the right to choose a trial by Court Martial if you would prefer.
If you choose to stand trial by Court Martial, you will face a Judge Advocate and a board of Lay Members, and the prosecutor will be a service lawyer. You have the right to be defended by a civilian legal team of your choice.
What offences can be investigated, or may be charged in a Court Martial?
A Court Martial has the capability to deal with a wide range of offences, from driving offences, fraud, drug-related, violent or sex offences. If an act is committed by a serving member of the military that would be considered a criminal offence in England and Wales, that person can be tried for the offence before the Court Martial, no matter where in the world the offence was committed.
The Court Martial deals with a very wide range of offences, both criminal and disciplinary, with penalties ranging from demotion to life imprisonment. They include offences relating to:
- Theft and dishonestly
- Violence (i.e., Assault, GBH, ABH)
- Sexual offences
- Motoring offences
- Possession of firearms
- Damaging, misapplying, or wasting Service property
- Offences in connection with flying
There is the perception, particularly amongst civilians that the penalties handed down by the Court Martial are particularly harsh. However, they need to be considered not just in terms of seriousness, but also alongside the position of responsibility held by members of the Armed Forces and the potential threat caused to the wider public and national security by the offence.
What are the penalties for a military offence?
If you are found guilty of the charges against you, the penalties are similar to those available in a civilian Crown Court. However, depending on the circumstances there are also specific military punishments such as detention, demotion and dismissal. Sentences can range from dismissal to a lifetime custodial sentence; serious military offences, for example those involving violence, recklessly disobeying an order, or endangerment can carry a prison sentence of up to ten years. Sentences such as bullying a colleague, failing to attend for duty, being unfit for duty or being disrespectful to a superior can carry a sentence of up to two years in prison.
When you work with us, our military legal experts will ensure that you are fully aware of any potential outcomes and will advise you accordingly; it is crucial that you understand the potential consequences of how you choose to plead, and we will make sure that you make the right decision for your case and situation.
Is it possible to appeal a Court Martial sentence?
If you feel that the sentence you received was unfair or unsafe and you wish to appeal, it may be possible to take your case to the Court Martial Appeal Court. The Court Martial Appeal Court will hear appeals relating to decisions and sentences that are made by the Court Martial.
Depending on the circumstances, it may also be appropriate to make a further appeal to the Supreme Court. Your legal representative will be able to advise you on your options and the best course of action if this circumstance arises.
How can Draycott Browne help you?
At Draycott Browne, we have experienced Court Martial and military law specialists with an excellent track record of representing personnel who serve the armed services. We would strongly advise seeking legal advice as early as possible if you find yourself facing military charges, and employing a solicitor who understands how Court Martial and military charges are dealt with is key.
We offer round the clock assistance and our clients turn to us for our reputation in the legal world for the highest standards of client care, our down to earth approach and our skilful approach to crafting a defence case. No matter where in the world you are based, get in touch with us today for advice and representation – our dedicated team are ready to listen and assist you with the situation you find yourself in.
Contact an expert military offences solicitor today
When your liberty is potentially at stake it is vital that you have the best possible legal team defending you against criminal charges. Draycott Browne regularly represents clients across the UK facing military law charges, and has built a formidable reputation across the legal sector.
By entrusting your case to us, one of the UK's top Criminal Investigation Defence Law Firms, you can be assured that you will be working with a team of skilled legal experts, who have a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of military law.
We take pride in our supportive approach, during what can be a stressful and distressing time for many of our clients. You can be sure that you will be treated with understanding, empathy and respect at all times.
Our legal team of Criminal Investigation Defence Solicitors is on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We operate within Manchester and across North West England. If you or someone you know has been arrested and needs expert legal advice, call Draycott Browne on 0161 228 2244 or complete our contact form.
When you are facing the stiffest challenge, you cannot afford to settle for anything less than Draycott Browne.