Over 500+ Successful Court Cases & Counting: See Reviews ➔
500+ Successful Court Cases & Counting: See Reviews ➔

Court Martial Lawyers

Court Martial Defense

Military service members facing a court martial stand to lose their career, retirement, and freedom during an unjust process that is rigged for the prosecution. Bilecki Law Group takes the fight to the military justice system and we win military jury trials that others thought unwinnable.

Military Justice Challenge

How To Take The Fight To The Military Justice System And Win

When you joined the military, you never thought you would be here. If you are a Marine, maybe it was the commercial where the Marine fought the fire dragon with a sword. If you are in the Navy, maybe you joined because you wanted to be a SEAL. Maybe you just joined after 9-11 or the Afghanistan withdrawal to serve others and do your part. What you didn’t join for was to find yourself facing a military court martial and yet, that may very well be the scenario before you right now. It’s scary as hell and rightfully so.

The military justice system is designed to obtain convictions for the sake of “good order and discipline.” It is not a system designed to discover truth. Overzealous prosecutors and investigators do not get command recognition for admitting when they were wrong, when they wasted thousands of dollars and hundreds of man-hours trying to validate a bogus theory or a false accusation. Even if you are so much as under investigation right now, the sum of the military justice system, with every asset at its disposal, exists for the purpose of convicting you. It sucks. It’s not right and it most certainly is not justice.

If that is what you are facing right now, your only reasonable option is to give the military justice system the very thing they don’t want. That is a fight. You fight like hell for yourself, your family, your career, your retirement, and maybe even your freedom…literally. Watch how quickly they’ll move on to the next guy when you present yourself as a hard target. Watch what happens to those who don’t fight. It’s not pretty.

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Court Martial Defense Strategy

What You Are Up Against In a Military Court Martial

In a military court martial, the process starts with the preferral of charges, similar to an indictment. By this stage, the military has often spent considerable time building a case, aiming for conviction. You’re usually first informed of the charges in your commander’s office, highlighting the urgency of immediate legal action. It’s vital to hire a civilian attorney as soon as you know of an investigation, a free military lawyer typically isn’t available until charges are preferred. This early legal intervention can counter the military’s advance in case preparation and might even prevent charges from being filed. Once assigned, a military attorney will be playing catch-up, while the prosecution will have already compiled a comprehensive case against you. Engaging a defense lawyer early is crucial to effectively combat the military justice system’s approach and to protect your rights and interests effectively. It’s crucial to start your defense early, but if not already, the time is now. This is a critical fight for your future. Let’s go over what you’ll face in this process.

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Preferral of Charges

When allegations under the UCMJ warrant formal criminal action, charges are preferred by the command or OSTC based on jurisdiction. This step formalizes the accusations, initiating the court martial process, which leads to an Article 32 hearing. If you have not yet secured defense counsel, now is the time to do so.

Article 32 Hearing

The Article 32 hearing is where a Preliminary Hearing Officer evaluates the evidence, makes a probable cause determination, and recommends whether the charges should be referred to trial. It's critical not to waive this hearing, as advised by some attorneys, because it’s a key step in your defense strategy.

Referral of Charges

After the Article 32 hearing, the Convening Authority, or OSTC based on jurisdiction, decides whether to refer the charges to a court-martial. If referred, the case transitions to a military judge, marking an important stage in the court-martial process and initiating the trial phase.


After charges are referred for court-martial, the arraignment, a crucial stage, follows. Here, the accused is informed of the charges and rights, enters a plea, and the case is docketed. This stage sets the trial dates and key milestones. Without a civilian attorney, there's a risk of losing influence over trial timing, potentially leading to a rushed trial and less preparation time.

Litigating Motions

Motions litigation in a court martial is crucial, as it shapes legal strategies and outcomes. This process involves formal requests to the judge on key issues like witness production and the admissibility of evidence at trial. Skilled civilian defense counsel are essential in this phase, expertly navigating these complexities. The effectiveness of military defense counsel in motions litigation varies, which highlights the risk of relying solely on free military counsel.

Jury Selection and Trial

If a plea agreement isn't reached, the case proceeds to a fully contested court martial, often involving a jury. In this system, heavily invested in securing convictions, entering the trial unprepared risks overwhelming defeat. This emphasizes the need for an experienced trial attorney, thorough preparation, and a strong challenge against a determined prosecution team to secure victory.

Conviction and Sentencing

If you are convicted, the case proceeds to a sentencing hearing, where the military's intent often becomes starkly clear: maintaining order and discipline, rather than necessarily seeking justice. This phase can be challenging as the system may use individuals to set disciplinary examples, regardless of the personal consequences.

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Take the Fight to the Article 32

When we join a case during the investigation stage, we strive to prevent charges from being preferred. Sometimes, we use back-channels or leverage our own investigation. In cases where the government is determined to make an example of you and preferred court martial charges, there’s no room for compromise.

It’s important to note that you typically only gain access to a free JAG defense attorney after the charges are preferred. This attorney may be unfamiliar with your case. Meanwhile, we might have spent a year preparing with you, making us the experienced team.

Let’s discuss the Article 32 hearing, which is often overlooked. Many attorneys advise their clients to waive it, assuming the case will proceed anyway. However, this is a mistake. Attending the hearing allows you to learn the prosecution’s strategy and gain an advantage.

At Bilecki Law Group, we take an aggressive stance at the Article 32 hearing, showing the military justice system that we’re ready to fight. We call witnesses and challenge weak charges, sometimes causing the case to collapse. This benefits you in that the PHO may make a recommendation for the case not to proceed to trial.

We also use the opportunity to present RCM 405k matters, which are written statements sent to the Convening Authority. This allows us to expose weaknesses in the case and put your accuser on notice. Often, this leads the accuser to reconsider their position, as they realize their reputation is at stake.

In summary, our approach is proactive, ensuring you’re well-prepared and well-represented throughout the military justice process.

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Strategic Response to Military Charges

Set The Schedule At The Arraignment

If, after we have fought tooth and nail to avoid the charges being referred, it happens anyway. Then it’s likely the military was dead set on taking this to trial to begin with. Maybe the Convening Authority lacked the moral courage to make the right call, maybe a manipulative Staff Judge Advocate was selling him or her a bill of goods, or maybe the OSTC is looking to guarantee their next promotion.

The military justice system wants to gain a tactical advantage by giving you as little time as possible to prepare. You likely already know this by now, because, though the military spent a year plus investigating you, they preferred your charges on Monday and asked for an Article 32 hearing on Friday. You can sense they fear time…because time can often reveal truth. Here, we’ll officially enter your plea and now, we get a say in the timing and pace of the trial. We deny the prosecution the tactical advantage of going to trial as quickly as possible.


Litigate Motions to Gain A Tactical Advantage

Experience is crucial at this stage. Let’s consider calling witnesses and experts as an example. The prosecution has an unlimited budget for expert testimony and witnesses, while the defense faces challenges in requesting them. We must ask the same people trying to prosecute you for permission to bring in witnesses or experts, which highlights the system’s bias against you.

The prosecution often denies our witness requests, leading to the need for a motion to compel production. Judges frequently deny these requests or grant only a small percentage of them. For instance, if we find 10 witnesses who can discredit the alleged victim, we might only get one, with the rest deemed “cumulative.” This process allows the government to hear what our witnesses have to say, potentially damaging our case.

However, experience matters and can make a difference. There are strategies to secure witness approvals and protect your case without revealing your entire strategy to the prosecution. Inexperienced lawyers or JAG attorneys may struggle here, jeopardizing your case before trial. To win during the litigation phase, you need a defense attorney who knows how to navigate this process and isn’t focused on advancing within the military justice system at your expense.

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Aggressive Court Martial Defense

An Aggressive Offense Is The Best Defense At Trial

After navigating the challenges of the investigation, Article 32 hearing, trial scheduling, and motions hearing, we arrive at the trial date fully prepared to secure your victory. We deeply empathize with the ordeal you’ve endured within a legal system seemingly designed to prove you guilty.

At trial, we adopt an aggressive defense strategy, essentially turning it into an offense. However, it’s important to note that even in a court martial, the odds can be against you. The jury typically consists of 8 individuals, and unlike most legal systems, a unanimous verdict isn’t required for a guilty verdict. If six jurors find you guilty and two say you’re innocent, you’re still deemed guilty. It’s an extraordinary system that doesn’t demand a unanimous verdict to affect your life.

That’s why we fight relentlessly and leave no stone unturned. Our record of court martial cases demonstrates that victory is possible.

We excel at cross-examining government witnesses, often obviating the need to call our own witnesses. The military justice system is accustomed to free JAGs or inexperienced defense lawyers, so when they encounter our fierce defense, it disrupts their expectations. We bring a chaotic element to what would otherwise be a well-organized system, designed to efficiently secure convictions.

Dedication to Our Clients

Fighting Until the Bitter End Of Sentencing

To say that we are not emotionally invested in our clients would be a lie. Much like combat, you do not endure this much battle and embrace this much suck without forging a bond. Make no mistake about it, we are with you until the bitter end. Fortunately, that end is often sweet when you fight like hell. The words “Not Guilty” read aloud brings joy to our soul. The moments before are nerve racking, and the day we don’t get nervous before a verdict is the day we close up shop.

However, you have to know that the military justice system likes to find victory, even in defeat. So you could be declared not guilty of rape, but they’ll come after you and find you guilty of a curfew violation. The sentencing hearing happens right after the trial, so we have to be prepared for this beforehand. We’ll have character witnesses to call and highlight the sum of your military service. Listen, if you dragged two buddies out of an insurgent infested building on the streets of Fallujah, we’re going to make sure the world knows that before they sentence you for some tack on charge. There is a strategy to winning at sentencing too.

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Fighting for Justice: Our Commitment

We’re Not Here to Coexist. We’re Here To Win.

If you’re cleared of all charges, you can resume your normal life – picking up your kids from practice and enjoying a peaceful night’s sleep. Our goal is to help you reclaim your life, and we’re always honest with you. If there’s a chance to avoid a sexual assault charge before trial through a curfew violation, we’ll explore it. However, if the military justice system insists on a trial, they’ll likely get it.

We live by the saying, “be careful what you wish for,” and our own motto is, “We apologize for what happens next.” To truly understand our motto, you need to witness us in action in a courtroom. Your free lawyer may skip the probable cause hearing and pressure you into taking the first plea deal without seeing all the evidence, losing any leverage you had. JAG lawyers often prioritize efficiency and making deals.

Unlike others, our reputation is linked to yours. We’ve earned our name by winning the toughest cases, and we’re not afraid to take on the military justice system. If you’re facing this complex system and have the will to fight, reach out to us, and we’ll fight alongside you – with the determination to win.

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