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Is a Court Martial Conviction Considered a Felony?


Question: Is a Court Martial Conviction Considered a Felony?
Answer: It depends. A military court-martial conviction is generally considered a "felony conviction," if the maximum permissible punishment for the offense is one year or more in prison.

Note it doesn't matter what sentence is actually imposed, it's based on the MAXIMUM punishment the court *COULD* have imposed. Maximum permissible punishment is based on the offense, and the type of court-martial. The maximum prison-term which can be adjudged by a Summary court-martial is 30 days, regardless of the offense. Special court-martials can impose sentenances up up to one year, but prior to May 2002, Special court-martials were limited to imposing sentances no greater than six months. General court-martials can impose any sentance, up to the maximum punishment listed for the particular offense in the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM).

So, those convicted by a Summary court-martial, and those convicted by a Special court-martial, prior to May 2002, are not considered to have a "felony conviction."

For those convicted by a General court-martial, or a Special court-martial (May 2002 and later) may have a "felony conviction," depending on the maximum punishment authorized for the offense, under the MCM.

For more information about court-martials, see our Military Justice 101 article, Part 7.

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