Military Defense Lawyer

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If you're facing charges in South Carolina's military court system, it's crucial to have a dedicated advocate on your side. Our law firm has extensive experience in criminal defense, offering comprehensive legal support tailored to your unique situation. With a deep understanding of military regulations and procedures, our attorneys are committed to safeguarding your rights and securing the best possible outcome for your case.

Don't face military criminal charges alone. Trust our experienced team to provide the strong defense you need. Call us today at (803) 879-4499 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled South Carolina military defense lawyer and take the first step toward protecting your future.

Overview of Military Criminal Law

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) serves as the foundation for military law in the United States, governing the conduct of service members across all branches of the armed forces. Enacted by Congress, the UCMJ outlines the legal framework for addressing offenses ranging from desertion and insubordination to more serious crimes like espionage and murder. It provides a comprehensive set of rules and procedures to maintain discipline, order, and morale within the military.

The UCMJ covers a wide range of topics, including military jurisdiction, the rights of service members, and the process for investigating and prosecuting alleged violations. It also establishes the structure of military courts, which adjudicate cases involving service members accused of violating military law.

Understanding the intricacies of the UCMJ is essential for both military personnel and their legal representatives when navigating the complexities of military justice. If you're facing charges under the UCMJ, it's imperative to seek guidance from a knowledgeable attorney who can provide advice and representation throughout the legal process.

Key Differences Between Military and Civilian Criminal Law

Military criminal law and civilian criminal law differ in several key aspects, reflecting the distinct nature of military service and the unique circumstances of military life. Here are some of the key differences:

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  1. Jurisdiction: Military criminal law applies exclusively to members of the armed forces, regardless of where they are stationed or deployed. Civilian criminal law, on the other hand, applies to all individuals within the jurisdiction of a particular state or country.
  2. Legal System: The military has its own legal system, governed primarily by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), while civilians are subject to the legal systems of their respective jurisdictions, such as state or federal law in the United States.
  3. Courts: Military justice operates through military courts, including courts-martial and military tribunals, which handle cases involving service members accused of violating military law. Civilian criminal cases are typically heard in civilian courts, such as municipal, state, or federal courts.
  4. Procedures: Military criminal proceedings often follow different procedures than civilian criminal trials. For example, courts-martial may involve panels of military personnel acting as judges or jurors, and the rules of evidence may vary from those in civilian courts.
  5. Punishments: While many offenses under military law have civilian counterparts, the punishments imposed by military courts can differ. In addition to traditional penalties like imprisonment and fines, military courts can impose unique disciplinary measures, such as reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay, and dishonorable discharge.
  6. Command Influence: Military justice operates within a hierarchical command structure, which can influence the handling of criminal cases. Commanders may have authority over aspects of the legal process, such as deciding whether to prefer charges, convene courts-martial, or grant clemency.

Understanding these differences is crucial for both service members and civilians who may be involved in or affected by military criminal proceedings. If you are facing military criminal charges, it's essential to seek guidance from an attorney with experience in military law to navigate the complexities of the legal system and protect your rights effectively.

Charges We Can Help Military Personnel With

Individuals in the military may face various types of criminal charges, ranging from relatively minor offenses to serious felonies. Some common types of criminal charges that military personnel may encounter include:

Absent Without Leave (AWOL)

Absence Without Leave is a serious offense in the military that occurs when a service member is absent from their duty station or fails to report for duty without proper authorization. AWOL charges can result in severe consequences, including potential disciplinary action, loss of pay, reduction in rank, and even court-martial proceedings.

It's essential for military members facing AWOL charges to seek legal representation immediately to understand their rights and options. A skilled military defense attorney can provide guidance, advocate on behalf of the service member, and work to mitigate the potential consequences of AWOL charges.

Drug Offenses

Drug charges for military members can have severe consequences, impacting their military career and future opportunities. Whether it's possession, distribution, or use of illegal drugs, these charges can lead to administrative actions, such as discharge from service, as well as criminal penalties, including imprisonment. Military members facing drug charges need experienced legal representation to navigate the complexities of military law and defend their rights.

A knowledgeable military defense attorney can assess the circumstances of the case, challenge the evidence presented, and work to achieve the best possible outcome for the service member, ensuring their rights are protected throughout the legal process.


DUI charges for military members are taken very seriously, as they not only violate civilian laws but also military regulations. A DUI conviction in SC can result in administrative actions within the military, including demotion, loss of security clearance, or even discharge from service. Additionally, military members may face criminal penalties, such as fines, imprisonment, and a permanent mark on their record.

It's crucial for service members facing DUI charges to seek immediate legal assistance from a skilled military defense attorney who understands both civilian and military legal systems. With the right representation, they can work to minimize the consequences and protect their military career and future opportunities.

Weapons Violations

Weapons charges for military members can have severe consequences, both within the military and under civilian law. Violations of weapons laws can result in disciplinary actions within the military, including court-martial proceedings and administrative sanctions. Additionally, service members may face criminal charges in civilian courts, which can lead to fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record.

Given the potential impact on their military career and future civilian opportunities, it's essential for military members facing weapons charges to seek legal representation from a knowledgeable military defense attorney. With the right advocate by their side, service members can navigate the complexities of military and civilian law, work to protect their rights, and strive to achieve the best possible outcome in their case.

Conduct Unbecoming an Officer

Conduct Unbecoming an Officer encompasses a broad range of behaviors that are deemed to be inconsistent with the values and standards expected of officers. These charges can include acts of misconduct, such as dishonesty, fraud, harassment, or behavior that brings discredit upon the armed forces. Conviction of Conduct Unbecoming an Officer can have serious consequences, including dismissal from service, loss of rank, forfeiture of pay, and a tarnished reputation.

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Military members facing these charges must seek immediate legal counsel from a skilled military defense attorney who can provide guidance and representation throughout the legal process. With experienced advocacy, service members can defend against allegations, protect their rights, and work toward minimizing the impact on their military career and future prospects.

These are just a few examples of the types of criminal charges that military personnel may face. It's essential for service members to understand their legal rights and options if accused of criminal misconduct and to seek qualified legal representation to navigate the military justice system effectively.

What to Look For in a Military Defense Lawyer

When hiring a military defense attorney to represent you in legal proceedings, it's essential to consider several key qualities to ensure you receive the best possible representation. Here are some qualities to look for:

  1. Experience: Look for an attorney with extensive experience in military law and defense. They should have a proven track record of handling cases similar to yours and achieving successful outcomes for their clients.
  2. Knowledge of Military Law: Military law is complex and distinct from civilian law. Your attorney should have a comprehensive understanding of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other relevant military regulations and procedures.
  3. Trial Experience: A skilled military defense attorney should have significant trial experience, including court-martial and military tribunals. They should be familiar with courtroom procedures and tactics and capable of effectively presenting your case before a military judge or panel.
  4. Strategic Thinking: Look for an attorney who is strategic and forward-thinking in their approach to your case. They should be able to develop a sound legal strategy tailored to your specific circumstances and objectives.
  5. Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential in any legal matter. Your attorney should be an excellent communicator who can clearly explain complex legal concepts, keep you informed about developments in your case, and address your questions and concerns promptly.
  6. Attention to Detail: Military cases often involve intricate details and nuances that can significantly impact the outcome. Your attorney should possess keen attention to detail and meticulously analyze evidence, documents, and testimony to build a strong defense on your behalf.
  7. Commitment and Dedication: Look for an attorney who is genuinely committed to advocating for your rights and interests. They should demonstrate dedication to your case and be willing to invest the time and effort necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.
  8. Empathy and Understanding: Facing military legal proceedings can be incredibly stressful and challenging. Your attorney should be empathetic and understanding of your situation, providing compassionate support and guidance throughout the process.

By seeking out an attorney who embodies these qualities, you can feel confident that you have a strong advocate fighting for you in your military defense case.

Call Our Military Defense Law Firm Today

Facing criminal charges in the military can be incredibly daunting, with potential consequences that extend far beyond civilian legal proceedings. It's crucial for service members to have competent and experienced legal representation to navigate the complexities of the military justice system. A skilled South Carolina military criminal defense lawyer can provide invaluable support, advocating for the rights and interests of military personnel throughout every stage of the legal process.

If you or a loved one is facing military criminal charges in South Carolina, don't hesitate to seek the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. Contact our Columbia criminal defense law firm today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help protect your rights, preserve your military career, and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Your future and reputation are too important to leave to chance, so take proactive steps to secure the skilled legal representation you deserve.