Military Justice Resources
Have you found yourself accused of a crime or a pattern of misconduct? Is your command trying to NJP you soon? You probably need military justice resources and we want to ensure our future clients have access to military justice knowledge. If you need help navigating the waters of military justice, you’ve come to the right place. Explore our free resources below. If you have questions, call our office to speak with a knowledgable military justice attorney today or schedule a call for a time that works for your schedule by accessing our online calendar.
Help, I’ve Been Accused…What Do I Say? | Free Military Justice Resources
Law enforcement play games with Service members accused of crimes too often. Although an NCIS or OSI Agent may tell you they have lots of evidence, they are really hoping you just admit to the hunch they are investigating. Don’t get nervous. Instead, download our one page handout. You can print it or screenshot it and bring it with you when you meet with your command or law enforcement. Remember, the law protects your right to remain silent. Bring our free handout to your meeting to show law enforcement and your command you know the law.
If you find yourself under investigation by either your command or law enforcement, you should speak with an attorney who can help you navigate it. But, if you don’t have time or need some help, our free military justice resources will help you if you find yourself in an interrogation room or across the desk from your Commanding Officer.
As service members and military defense attorneys look for ways to defeat allegations related to drug charges, sex crimes, domestic violence, and several others, the following public resources may be of helpful to defend your case at courts-martial.
- Military Judges’ Benchbook: If you ever thought military judges had photographic memories and knew everything about military law, you’d be wrong. Instead, the military judges use this electronic benchbook. It is organized to help judges look at what the law is, how a court-martial should proceed, and provides insight for all parties to the court-martial.
- The Criminal Law Deskbook: This deskbook is a staple for all military defense attorneys practicing military law. This free online resource is available to the public and organized in a friendly manner.
- The 2023 Manual for Courts-Martial: The 2023 Manual for Courts-Martial is the Bible for military justice. The manual explains everything between your rights to counsel and how clemency works. The MCM went though several updates over the years, but the 2023 version is the most up to date.
- CAAF Opinion Digest: The Court of Appeals for the Armed Services is the court overseeing all courts of criminal appeals for the military. If you are looking to learn the military law, this site will help identify issues and connect it to the case law.
- The Constitution of the United States: Although service members give up some rights as it relates to the First Amendment, the Constitution remains at the heart of military criminal defense.
ADSEP Board Resources
Service members accused of misconduct may find themselves facing an administrative separation. This may be in the form of an ADSEP Board — where the service member will be able to present evidence, call witnesses, and put on a defense, if they choose. The other form could be a “no-board” administrative separation. Commands will use this option if they want to separate the service member, but they don’t believe an other than honorable characterization is needed.
If you or another service member are wondering what may happen to your case, download our free one-page handout showing what options your command may have against you and how you can prepare.
Marine Corps ADSEP Board
The Marine Corps uses Marine Corps Order 1900.16 CH 2, also known as the MARCORSEPMAN, to run its boards. The order contains all the rules and procedures. Download a free copy of it here: MARCORSEPMAN.
Navy ADSEP Board
The Navy uses the MILPERSMAN to organize and structure its enlisted administrative separations for Sailors. Here is a link to view the resource: MILSPERSMAN.
Army Administrative Separation Boards (Chapter)
If your Army command decided to separate you, they are using Army Regulation 635-200, Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations. You can download this resource here: Army Discharge Board (Chapter) AR 635-200.
Air Force Administrative Separation Boards
The Air Force uses Instruction 36-3211, which implements Air Force Policy Directive (AFPD) 36-32, Military Retirements and Separations. You can download it here: Department of the Air Force Instruction 36-3211.
Board of Inquiry (BOI) Resources
The military invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and developing its officers. But when it comes time to terminate an officer’s service due to officer misconduct, the services are still required to follow their own policies and procedures. The services use the following authorities:
- US Marine Corps: SECNAVINST 1920.6D
- US Navy: SECNAVINST 1920.6D
- US Army: AR 600-8-24
- US Air Force: DAFI 36-3211.
- US Coast Guard: COMDTINST 1004.A
NJP / Non-Judicial Punishment Resources
Non-judicial punishment can be a stressful time for many service members. An NJP can ruin a career or prevent re-enlisting. Because of the long term effects of an NJP, service members need to be knowledgable about their options.
Download our one page handout discussing your options at NJP.
Visual Learners may find our NJP Decision Tree easier to understand. You can download it for free by clicking the button below.
Military Discharge Review Boards (MDRBs)
Each branch of service has a discharge review board assigned to consider military upgrade applications.
Marine Corps and Navy (NDRB)
The Naval Discharge Review Board (NDRB) is the civilian board tasked with considering military discharge upgrades for Marines and Sailors who separated with less than honorable service. NDRB has the authority to review and determine whether a service member’s discharge was granted in a proper manner and was fair and equitable considering the regulations in effect at the time of the discharge. However, the NDRB does not have have the authority to:
- Change the Narrative Reason for Separation from or to a Physical Disability or Medical Discharge;
- Upgrade a discharge for the sole purpose of facilitating access to VA benefits (i.e., GI Bill, home loans, medical treatment, or disability payments);
- Upgrade a discharge to improve civilian or government employment opportunities;
- Automatically upgrade a discharge based solely on the passage of time or good conduct subsequent to leaving Naval Service;
- Reinstate an Applicant into the Navy or Marine Corps;
- Recall a former member to active duty;
- Cancel or void enlistment contracts;
- Review a discharge or dismissal resulting from a General Court-Martial;
- Alter the judgment of a court-martial; however, the NDRB can upgrade the discharge or dismissal if clemency is warranted;
- Revoke any discharge or dismissal.
However, if a Marine or Sailor needs to do any of the bulleted points above, they can submit an DD-149 application to the Board of Corrections for Naval Records.
Otherwise, Marines and Sailors can complete DD Form 293 to start the discharge upgrade process.
The Army Discharge Review Board (ADRB) reviews discharges of former soldiers, on the basis of issues of propriety and equity; except if the date of the former soldier’s discharge is more than 15 years or if the former soldier was punitively discharged by a General Court Martial. The purpose of the review is to determine if the discharge was granted in a proper manner, according to regulatory procedures in effect at the time, and that it was equitable, considering current policy, mitigating factors, and the total record.
The ADRB is not authorized to revoke a discharge, to reinstate a person who was separated from the Army, or to recall a person to active duty. Bad conduct discharges given as a result of a special court martial may be upgraded only on the basis of clemency.
Former Soldiers may complete DD Form 293 to start their Army discharge upgrade application.
Air Force (AFDRB)
In the US Air Force, the Air Force Review Boards Agency is the agency responsible for overseeing military and civilian personnel matters. Specifically, the AFRBA houses the Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council (SAFPC). This council includes the Air Force Discharge Review Board (AFDRB) which is the statutory board that examines an applicant’s administrative discharge and may change the characterization of service and/or the reason for the discharge based on standards of equity or propriety.
The AFDRB uses the following authorities to guide its process and decisions:
Airmen and Guardians looking to petition the AFDRB should complete a DD Form 293 to start their Air Force Discharge Upgrade.
Coast Guard (CGDRB)
The Coast Guard Discharge Review Board under Title 10, United States Code, 1553 provides the Secretary with the authority to establish a board to review discharges from the Service.
Former Coast Guard or Coast Guard Reserve members discharged within the past 15 years who believe their separation was inequitable and/or lacking legal sufficiency may apply. To apply, you must complete and submit an application, DD Form 293, along with any documentary evidence to support your case.
When Military Law Enforcement arrest service members or civilians on base, they often take a sample of their DNA. That DNA sample goes into the Army’s Combined DNA Index System. Service members and civilians may request to remove their DNA from CODIS by following the guidelines outlined in Department of Defense Instruction 5505.14.