Interviewer: If your case doesn’t go to court martial, you mentioned that non-judicial punishment might be imposed. What happens during that scenario?
Non-Judicial Punishment Does Not Entail a Jail Sentence
Chris: It really depends on your rank. If you go to a non-judicial punishment, it’s still a forum. You can still present evidence of your innocence.
The Punishment Can be the Basis for a Discharge from Military Service
They make a decision. There’s no jail sentence involved. You can get fined. If you’re an enlisted member, you can lose rank and that’s pretty much it. It’s a form of really serious punishment but it’s the equivalent to a fine and it can be the basis for a discharge.
Interviewer: They could discharge you even if it’s a non-judicial punishment?
Chris: Yes. For instance if they give you an article 15 for a DUI, then they can initiate a discharge and, at the discharge hearing, they can literally throw you out of the military. If you don’t have enough time in grade, if you don’t have enough time in the service or your rank doesn’t require a board of inquiry or a discharge board, then they’ll simply kick you out.
Interviewer: Will discharges also be a form of punishment if you go to a general court martial or a special court martial?
During a Court Martial, Your Rank Is a Factor in a Potential Discharge from Military Service
Chris: Only enlisted servicemen or women can receive a bad conduct discharge at a special court-martial. You can receive either a dishonorable discharge or a bad conduct discharge at a general court-martial.
An officer can only receive a dismissal at a general court-martial. Whether you are an officer or enlisted or depending on the type of court, these factors will determine whether or not they discharge you from the service, too.
At a court-martial, you can receive a fine. You can receive forfeiture of pay. You can receive reduction in grade, if you’re enlisted and, if you’re an officer or enlisted, you can receive confinement.