You have worked hard for your military career. If you are being threatened with a rank reduction, discharge or a Court-Martial you should hire private defense counsel to fight for your rights.

military law and a gavel Benefits of Hiring a Utah Private Military Lawyer to Help you.

(1). Trial Experience. Your appointed military lawyer will often not have any comparable trial experience compared to his civilian counterparts practicing law in Utah. Private practice lawyers simply have more trial experience than your appointed Captain Judge Advocate.

(2). Co-Counsel. You can hire a private criminal defense attorney to try the case to the panel, but still hang on to your court appointed Judge Advocate. The combination of the court appointed attorney understanding the players in the system coupled with the privately retained civilian attorney is a strong combination to fight for your military career.  Having a strong trial lawyer in our corner, advocating for your legal rights makes a difference, especially when the stakes are high.

(3). Private Counsel are not in the System. Your privately retained attorney does not report to a military commander.   Your privately retained Utah Court-Martial attorney does not have an upcoming officer evaluation report of any kind to be concerned about. Having a privately retained military attorney on your side in addition to your court appointed Judge Advocate will give you the best chances at success.


General Courts-Marital. Being charged in a General Courts-Martial is very serious business and has serious military prison sentences. Having capable and experienced trial counsel is critical. Rape, murder, sexual assault and aggravated assault are common charges in General Court-Martials.

Summary Courts-Martial. The American criminal military justice system has three types of Court-Martial: (1). General, (2). Special, and (3). Summary.

A summary court-martial is the lowest, or less severe level of court-martial used today. It is designed to resolve minor misconduct with speed, but in return the accused has less constitutional rights than the other types of court-martials. Having a privately retained military lawyer with experience in military law will help you understand the spectrum of consequences when you are charged in a summary matter.

Special Courts-Martial. A Special Court-Martial is a middle level military court. Special Court-Martials consists of one military judge, prosecutor (trial counsel), defense attorney, and a minimum of three military officers sitting as a jury. A jury in military courts are called “panels.” The accused has special rules for making composition requests of the panel.

Administrative Discharge Boards. Often allegations of misconduct are levied against you where an administrative discharge board is convened to discharge you out of the service. The discharge characterization is extremely important for future military benefits. General Discharge; Honorable Discharge; other than Honorable Discharge; Dishonorable Discharge are the types of discharge characterizations available.

Rank Reductions. Having an advocate on your side to defend false allegations of misconduct can make the difference in keeping E7 or being reduced to E5. Often rank reductions are the result of a personality conflict, rather than misconduct. Having capable privately retained counsel can help you keep your rank.

Legal Assistance. Private practicing Utah lawyers will have a fuller and more experienced understanding of Utah law. It is imperative to get Utah legal advice from a Utah licensed attorney who will know the intricacies of Utah’s debt collection law, divorce, criminal expungements, and real estate. Many types of law are considered “state law.” Meaning that each state does these areas of law a bit differently than another state. Classic areas of historically state governed law are: Domestic relations, Criminal law, Real property law and Estate planning.

Divorce. Military divorces can be very complicated because there can be conflicting legal residences between the divorcing parties and competing jurisdictions as to which state and court will hear the divorce proceedings.

Family law and domestic relations law are historically state-governed areas of law that are particular to that state. Although much of the body of family law is the same across the nation, there are important distinctions in Utah’s family law to merit hiring a local, Utah-licensed attorney.

Military Retirement Assets. One of the biggest assets in a marriage can be the retirement assets accrued during the marriage. The home value and equity can come and go, but the retirement asset is often the largest and most stable monetary asset accrued during a marriage.

Properly splitting up a military retirement takes special court orders signed by the judge and served on the appropriate retirement administrators. It is well worth your time and money to hire a Utah based attorney to property execute the judge’s orders on how the retirement asset is split.


Attorney Jake Gunter has served nearly 16 years as a Judge Advocate in the Utah Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserves. MAJ Gunter has extensive trial experience defending people accused of crimes, in juries, judge trials, administrative reduction boards and legal assistance.

MAJ Gunter’s current position is commander of the 653 Trial Defense Services.

Call Attorney Jake Gunter for a free office consultation regarding your military law issues. (801) 373-6345.

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