Consequences for court-martial while you’re still in the military are well defined, but how will a court-martial affect your life after the military? Unfortunately, a court-martial can follow you into civilian life in a number of ways. Here are a few examples:
This is the military equivalent of a civilian felony, and these consequences carry over into civilian life. The ramifications include difficulty finding employment and difficultly applying for loans.
Federal criminal record
Convictions at a court-martial will also appear on your federal criminal record, including military-specific crimes such as AWOL and failure to report. Such convictions can affect your ability to get a job, restrict you from owning firearms and, in sexual assault cases, require you to register as a sex offender wherever you settle.
Leaving the military under a dark cloud has consequences that can manifest themselves later in life when one’s character is under scrutiny. For example, selective colleges have been known to reject enrollment applications by individuals who did not leave the military honorably.
Loss of military benefits
While bad conduct or a dishonorable discharge isn’t an automatic cancellation of your military benefits, it’s certainly a possibility. The VA has avenues to reapply for lost benefits, but the outcome will vary depending on your situation.
Protecting your post-military life
A court-martial is a serious event with potentially lasting consequences. It’s in your best interest to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you, for the sake of your future.