Should I turn down my Article 15 for a Court-Martial?
It depends. Many argue that this is a never a good idea. The reason for that is because the stakes are higher at a court-martial. At a court- martial, you have the chance at a criminal conviction and the possible sentence is much more serious. Most importantly, at a court-martial, you could receive a punitive discharge and/or time in jail. That being said, every case is different. I cannot say that you should NEVER turn down an Article 15 for a court-martial, because that may not be true in your case. The bad news about an Article 15 is that the same commander that issued you the Article 15, then acts as your judge in your Article 15 “mini trial.” Obviously, it can be an uphill battle to convince him or her of your innocence or that you deserve a light sentence. Additionally, if an Article 15 ends up in your official file, your career could come to a screeching halt. So, if you feel that you may be in a situation where turning down an Article 15 for a court-martial is the right answer for you, sit down and speak with an attorney. Every case is unique. You owe to yourself, your career and your family to get one-on-one advice before making such a bold decision. To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.