Military Criminal Charges

Military Criminal Defense Attorney/Legal Hold Navy

In the military, potential criminal charges include “usual” crimes, such as robbery, arson, drugs, assault, and something not found in the civilian world, “conduct” charges, such as desertion, failing to obey an order, hazarding a vessel, or conduct unbecoming of an officer, to name a few. Conduct-type criminal charges arise from certain acts committed by a member of the military that would not be a crime in the civilian world.

Military criminal charges, governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, can arise when a member of military commits a wrongful act on or off the base, even if you are on leave, or, believe it or not, AWOL. Further, it is possible, although not very common, for a member of the military to commit an act off base and be prosecuted both by the military and the civilian courts.

A conviction in a military court can have disastrous and far-reaching consequences; a conviction by special court martial is a misdemeanor, while a conviction at general court martial is a felon. Whatever the conviction, it will undoubtedly have a significant adverse effect on your career.



Frequently, the military investigation becomes known to the member before charges are preferred to the commanding officer. It can, and often does, take many months for the investigators to track down various witnesses and evidence, which, in a military environment, is affected by deployments and the scattering of needed information to all parts of the globe.

During the investigative phase, your service duties may or may not be affected. You may be in pre-trial confinement or restriction, but at the very least, you will likely be placed in “legal hold” during the entirety of the investigation. This legal hold status can prevent deployment, promotion, transfer, or release from active duty. During this critical time, there are steps that can be taken during the investigation that may have profound effect on the outcome of the case.

Military Criminal Lawyer

You should strongly consider hiring a civilian attorney, with substantial prior military court martial experience or military defense attorney, immediately upon finding out you are under investigation. Your civilian attorney may have timely advice which, at that critical point in time, may be unavailable later.

If you are suspected of using drugs, your civilian attorney may suggest that you obtain a forensic hair follicle examination, a negative result would serve to counter supposed “eyewitness” testimony. Timing is critical – there may be both witnesses and evidence, to support the defense that can be lost with the passage of time. Don’t let it happen to you.


If charges are preferred you will be advised of the charges against you and you will be provided with a detailed military defense counsel. You also have the right to have absolute right to choose and retain your own civilian defense counsel.

The first significant stage of the process is the Article 32 investigation. At the Article 32 hearing, the military prosecution team will present evidence to an Investigating Officer. You also have the right to present witnesses and evidence, and to cross examine the prosecution’s witnesses. This hearing is crucial to your defense and having an aggressive military defense attorneys or defense team up and ready could make the difference between having the charges dismissed, or being forced to proceed to trial.

After the hearing, the Investigating Officer will write a recommendation to the commanding officer. If the commanding officer decides to refer the charges against you to court martial, you will be heading down a slippery slope toward trial.


It is possible that your Commanding Officer may opt to conduct an Article 15 hearing rather than proceeding to a court martial. The Article 15 hearing is generally conducted through reports and written statements. You will have the opportunity to present your case through a written response.

The results of this type of hearing can be devastating to your military career and should be handled with the utmost care and consideration and with military lawyer or skilled lawyers. You should not try to represent yourself through such a procedure.


If you are going to be tried in the military, you will have a trial either before a judge or a panel of other military members. If you are an officer, your panel will consist of higher ranking officers. If you are an enlisted member, your panel will consist of officers, but you may request that at least one-third of the panel be enlisted members – all of whom would be of a higher rank than you.

If you are tried by a military judge sitting alone, the judge will determine guilt or lack thereof – if convicted, the judge will impose the sentence. If you are tried by a court martial consisting of members, the members will determine if you are guilty, and, if necessary, will impose sentence.


A Special Court Martial has specific limits; a conviction carries with it a maximum sentence of 12 months confinement, forfeitures of 2/3 of the base pay for up to one year, reduction to the lowest pay grade, and a Bad Conduct Discharge. The conviction is a misdemeanor and will be treated as such in the civilian world.


A general court-martial is the most serious level of court-martial proceedings in the United States military system. It is composed of a military judge, trial counsel (prosecutor), defense counsel, and atleast five court members. The accused is provided with defense counsel, which is usually a judge’s advocate. The accused may also be represented by civilian counsel. The accused may also be represented by civilian counsel. The general court-martial has jurisdiction over all offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) that are punishable by death, dishonorable discharge, or more than one year confinement.

A General Court Martial has specific limits. A conviction carries with it a maximum sentence of the death penalty, forfeitures of total pay, reduction to the lowest pay grade, and a Dishonorable Discharge. This conviction is a felony and will be treated as such in the civilian world.

Each potential charge at a Special or General Court Martial carries its own maximum sentence – which, if there are multiple charges, are added together to determine the maximum sentence at trial. If the maximum sentence determined by adding individual charges is less than the maximum sentence which could be adjudged by the court, then the maximum sentence is the lesser number.


As a client, you can now draw on the combined talents and resources of a large law firm with one goal — getting the best possible result for your case. We stand ready to defend you both inside and outside the courtroom.

Call us now at 855-LAW-PRO1 (855-529-7761) for a free consultation with one of our criminal attorneys. Early intervention is the key to our mutual success.

Gina Tennen


At A Glance

  • Expert legal strategist.
  • Experienced in both prosecution and defense.
  • Relentless fighter for her clients with results to prove it.
  • Received the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers Award
  • Featured in Time Magazine’s “Leaders of Criminal Defense” in the 100 Most Influential People edition.

Executive Managing Attorney Gina Tennen is a renowned leading advocate of personal liberties. Her meticulous trial preparation and exceptional ability to pursue every possible defense has earned her the admiration of clients and respect from prosecutors, judges, and other criminal attorneys all over the nation.

Lawyer Tennen began her career as a Senior Law Clerk for one of the toughest District Attorney’s offices in the country where she gained remarkable experience in juvenile crimes, elder abuse, parole hearings, child abuse, sex and other serious crimes. Her experience at the District Attorney’s Office armed her knowledge and case strategy in exploiting the other side’s weaknesses for the client’s advantage and building a rock solid defense. Criminal attorney Tennen’s experience on both sides and brilliant maneuvering throughout is evidenced in her winning track record. In fact, even before earning her law degree, she was instrumental in getting excellent results on several criminal cases outshining her peers.

A consummate strategist and top criminal attorney, lawyer Tennen works tirelessly on many high profile criminal cases. She is known as a relentless fighter who never gives up on any case. Whether the case is hers or handled by another criminal defense attorney from LibertyBell Law Group, no matter how small the case may seem she asserts that every client deserves the right to the best legal representation.

It is her deep belief and what she has built her entire career and lifelong dedication to that there is always hope for every client and every avenue should be pursued regardless of the time and energy it takes. For criminal attorney, Gina Tennen, devoting the finest criminal defense for clients is a habit and talent that you must apply and do all the time.

You demand the best defense. Take hold of your life and speak to our defense attorneys by calling 855-LAW-PRO1 (855-529-7761) now.

Founder Gina Tennen and all the defense attorneys at LibertyBell Law Group uphold that when the bell rings, it rings for life and liberty for all.



Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub.


I hired Gina and her team for my son who was facing 10 years for something they said he did when he was 17 years old. Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub. She did not stop. She fought hard and was able to defend the charges. We are so grateful to her and her team. They gave us our son. He recovered his life!

– L. W.
Best defense lawyers in the country.


I hired this law firm in 2014 for my son who was facing 16 years in prison for a felony robbery. Lina Helou answered all our questions. I was extremely distraught regarding what my son was facing but Lina comforted me and told me that it would be okay. And thank goodness LibertyBell saved my son from going to jail and they were able to obtain only 3 years of probation. I could not have hired a better law firm for my son and if you want the best defense call LibertyBell Law Group. Thank God for this great group of lawyers.

– V. J.
A great team of lawyers.


I do not have enough words to describe how incredible the experience with this firm was. They work very hard to make sure you have winning results. I could not have asked for better service from the moment I called, until my case was over. I was glad I made the right choice. Thank you again LibertyBell Law Group!

– S. O.
She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence.


My father had found this group through his company and coworkers. I was assigned Gina Tennen and I cannot explain in just a review on how gratefull I am to be working with her. My case was an accusation of unlawful sex. This had looked extremely bad on my part since I was in a fraternity and she was in a sorority. During these times with Greek life, there are too many bad stigmas surrounding these organizations. Gina had believed in me and knew that I was innocent and that these accusations just were not true. She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence. I totally recommend this law group because they are willing to put in the work to help your situation.

– C. D.
Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding.


When I first heard I was under a criminal investigation, I initially thought I would try and resolve this in the best way possible, without legal representation, as we were all interested in a "just" outcome. I quickly discovered that was not the case and contacted Gina at LibertyBell. She clearly described the expectations and the choices available to me. She was always available to me, and when I called, if she couldn't talk with me at that time, she would quickly get back to me. Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding. Her fee's were stipulated up front, as well as what those fees covered and what they did not.

– S. B.
Attorney Gina Tennen was on point from day one.


Attorney Gina Tennen was on point from day one putting pressure on the sherrif's office to get things handled. With Child molestation accusatinos being thrown around Gina and Attorney Castro were great at keeping the pressure on and had no charges filled. The DCFS indications were appealed and we won with flying colors. Great service, great work, and will use again for all legal matters.

– A. B.
Will Recommend, Total Experience, Awesome Team


Being involved in legal matters can be scary. When researching who to put my trust in, I came across Liberty and I am glad that I did. From the first time that I met with Gina and her team she made me feel comfortable and listened to all that I had to say. She assured me that her team would be on it and that they would do everything that they could! A little while in, Alan took over my case. When meeting with him you can tell that this is his passion and I immediately knew he was going to do everything in his power to make the outcome right! He was relentless and worked day and night working on the case. He kept in constant communication with me and truly cared not only about me but about my family as well. I am forever grateful for the support that this whole team has given me and would definitely recommend them to anyone who is looking for truly the best lawyers!

– L. B.