Military Criminal Defense Attorneys

Defending Those Who Protect Our Country

At McCormack & McCormack, our Virginia Beach military lawyers fight to protect the legal rights of men and women who put their own lives at risk to defend the rest of us. 

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces serve to protect and uphold the principles of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but unfortunately, their own rights are frequently trampled in the course of a military criminal investigation, court-martial or administrative separation proceeding. 

This is especially true in military sex offense cases, where the rules are seemingly changing each year towards enhancing the “rights” of the alleged victim, at the expense of the due process rights of the accused.

How Our Military Defense Lawyers Can Help

If you are charged with a criminal offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), defend the allegations against you by securing the professional representation of an extremely experienced and aggressive civilian attorney who has successfully fought against all branches of the military in countless cases. 

Although you are entitled to an appointed military defense counsel once you are formally charged by your command, the appointed counsel is often an attorney with limited and sometimes no criminal litigation experience. Our attorneys offer nationwide military legal services.

To take the first steps toward a trial-tested military defense, call (888) 490-0876 to request a free case evaluation with a military lawyer near you at McCormack & McCormack.

Types of Military Offenses

With the extensive support of our administrative staff and our highly experienced military paralegals, as well as the exhaustive preparation and aggressive courtroom representation which we invest in every case we represent, we regularly achieve outstanding results for our clients.

Some of the military cases we handle include:

To request an initial consultation with a military criminal defense lawyer in Virginia Beach, please call (888) 490-0876 today or contact us online.

Why Hire a Military Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you are a member of the United States military and have been charged with a crime, it is in your best interest to work with an attorney who is not only experienced in civilian cases but in military criminal defense as well. 

Criminal charges against military service members can be handled in one of three jurisdictions: state court, federal court, or military courts (also known as courts-martial). While these courts are separate, they do have overlapping jurisdiction. This may mean that a military member could be tried in a court-martial, civilian court (state or federal), or both on extremely rare occasions. 

If your case originates from a military criminal investigation (NCIS, OSI, CID, CGIS) then it is most likely that your case will be handled by a military court. In some circumstances, however, a military investigation may ultimately be prosecuted by a civilian court.

Similarly, an investigation, or allegation that originates from non-military law enforcement (local police/detectives, FBI, DEA, ATF) will generally be prosecuted in state or federal civilian court—but on rare occasions those cases may be taken by a military court.

Can Someone Be Prosecuted Multiple Times? 

Military courts are considered federal courts, so while a military member cannot be prosecuted a second time by a civilian federal court, a military member can be prosecuted a second time by a state court. The opposite is also true, a military member previously prosecuted by the state may be prosecuted again under the UCMJ by the military. This is fairly uncommon, but the military prosecuting a person after a state case is resolved is more common than the state prosecuting someone after the military.

Another important consideration is that, as a military member, even if your case is handled by a civilian court, you will almost always face collateral disciplinary consequences from the military. Many attorneys who are not well versed in military defense will not be able to properly advise you regarding the potential consequences to your military service stemming from your criminal case. Therefore, you will be better served with an attorney representing you who is well-versed in both your criminal and military needs.

The bottom line is that McCormack & McCormack is uniquely situated to meet your needs as we handle state, federal, and military criminal cases.

Why Should I Choose McCormack & McCormack?

At McCormack & McCormack, our attorneys have extensive experience defending military personnel in criminal cases. They also have served in the military themselves. Our firm’s military experience equips us to take on the challenges presented and fight to defend your name and your case with a full understanding of the civilian and military consequences. Whether you are located in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, or on any other military base worldwide, we should be your first call.

Attorney Robert Canoy

Attorney Robert Canoy is the primary attorney who handles military criminal and administrative cases. Mr. Canoy served in the U.S. Coast Guard as a JAG for over a decade, completing tours as both a prosecutor and defense counsel. Robert Canoy left the U.S. Coast Guard as one of the most experienced litigators in the service. He has defended countless military members both while on active duty and as a civilian attorney. Similarly, Mr. Canoy also defends military members and civilians in state and federal court. 

Mr. Canoy has also trained military criminal investigators at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center on a recurring basis—making him well-versed in military investigators’ capabilities and tactics.

Attorney Jarrett L. McCormack

Attorney Jarrett L. McCormack also gained military experience by serving as an intern with the U.S. Navy JAG Corps. Jarrett McCormack routinely defends military members facing charges in federal and state civilian court.His experience working for the Navy JAG Corps, as well as his collaboration with experienced military defense attorneys make him the perfect fit to defend military members facing civilian charges.

Our track record includes the successful defense of thousands of court-martials and administrative separation/officer Show Cause Boards of Inquiry. Our support staff also includes multiple veterans who have extensive military justice backgrounds.

The Importance of Experienced Support Staff 

In today’s environment, many civilian attorneys practice military law out of a “virtual office” space, which they share with numerous other attorneys when desk or meeting space is needed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of any attorney you are consulting with – does he or she have a full-time office with an experienced paralegal support staff? If so, what are the paralegal’s background and experience?

Paralegals are a critical force multiplier. When you hire an attorney who works out of their home or who is not part of a firm, you have to understand that this attorney is burdened with a lot of administrative and management tasks with time requirements that take away from time they could otherwise dedicate to completing the important tasks necessary for your case. It also means that when they are busy in court, working with other clients, or completing other tasks—you may have no way to get in contact with them for an emergency because they have no support staff.

What You Can Expect When Working with Us

When we take on a new criminal case, our attorneys will fully evaluate the facts and evidence and provide our client with an honest assessment of the situation. Doing so helps our clients know what to expect from the process. We will then begin to prepare the best possible defense against the charges.

Regrettably, when consulted, many civilian defense attorneys will only tell the potential client what he or she wants to hear in an effort to retain them as a client. We will not do that; painting a false picture or “sugar-coating” things is not helpful in the long run. This is your life and your future, and you need an attorney who will be upfront and honest with you. 

We Are Not Afraid to Go to Trial

Each case, its facts, and the available evidence are different. A methodical and strategic approach is necessary. Our attorneys are prepared to do what is necessary to help you secure the best possible result on your case. Many times this can be a dismissal or reduction of the charges, or taking the case to trial to secure a not-guilty verdict. 

Our attorneys, do not apply a cookie-cutter approach to their cases. In one situation, a pitbull-style approach to cross-examination may be necessary—but that style might be completely inappropriate and counter-productive in a different situation. Flexibility and utilizing different trial skills are what set apart the best litigators from the average.

Furthermore, Robert Canoy and Jarrett McCormack are skilled litigators who take a no-nonsense approach in court and are well-known for conducting withering cross-examination of alleged victims and adverse witnesses at trial.

When Should I Contact a Military Defense Lawyer?

If at all possible, you want to retain legal representation while you are still under investigation and before any civilian charges, court-martial charges or adverse administrative actions have been initiated against you. The value of retaining counsel early during the investigative stage cannot be overstated. 

In many cases, we may be able to intervene early and favorably resolve the situation without charges being filed. In almost all circumstances, agreeing to be interviewed by investigators thinking that the investigator will simply close the case after talking to you is a serious mistake that can have a devastating impact on the resolution of your case even if you are completely innocent. 

Remember, it is best to retain your military defense counsel as soon as you become aware of the investigation.

What Are the Penalties for a Court-Martial Conviction?

If you have been accused of committing a military offense, upon conviction you will not only be facing a record of a federal conviction, but you may face a sentence to include:

  • Substantial confinement
  • Reduction in pay grade (if enlisted)
  • Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
  • Punitive discharge – Bad Conduct or Dishonorable (if enlisted); Dismissal (if officer)
  • Sex offender registration (mandatory for conviction of any sex offense)

In most court-martials, there is one single factor that may determine the final outcome of the case, regardless of the quality and scope of the evidence: the experience and aggressiveness of the defense attorney. The experience and skill level of the defense lawyer may make the difference between the accused being able to continue his or her career, or ending up in confinement and facing a future of living with a criminal record and sex offender registration in sex offense cases.

Impact of a Civilian Criminal Conviction on Your Military Career

Conviction of a crime can have a detrimental impact on anyone's career, particularly on a member of the military. The moment you are charged with a crime, your career progression is placed on hold. Even if you are not convicted of the offense with which you've been charged, you could miss valuable opportunities for advancement due to the legal process.

If you are convicted, you could face administrative separation action, which can result in a discharge characterization of "other than honorable" and ruin your chances of any future career as a service member.

Many civilian attorneys misunderstand military legal action and subsequent ramifications. For example, civilian lawyers with no military background commonly make the mistake of thinking that a deferral or first-offender disposition of a criminal charge will not affect the client's military status and cannot be used by the military for adverse action; however, for the purposes of administrative separation action, the military considers deferral or first-offender status to be equal to a conviction.

Our firm understands that, in many cases, a client's outstanding military career can be used to secure a more favorable result.

Choose Our Top Ranked Military Defense Attorneys

McCormack & McCormack has decades of combined experience and is proud to provide aggressive and capable criminal defense representation for those who defend our country. We are fully aware of the career consequences that your charges, not to mention a conviction, may have and will work relentlessly to expedite your case to a reduction or dismissal of your charges.

If you are an officer or enlisted member facing the loss of your career as a result of a Show Cause Board of Inquiry or administrative separation action, know that our firm has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in similar cases, saving their careers. We also provide military administrative and criminal defense worldwide.

We routinely provide criminal defense in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and other cities and counties across the Commonwealth of Virginia. We travel to Texas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, and Germany routinely to represent military clients. We currently represent clients from the Air Force, Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard.

Read reviews from former clients and check out our military case results to see why people turn to us when they need the best military defense  lawyers near them.

Contact us online or give us a call at (888) 490-0876 for a confidential case evaluation to discuss the matter with Hampton Roads strongest Military defense attorneys.

Military FAQ

What are some common military criminal charges?

Common military criminal charges include AWOL (Absent Without Leave), drug offenses, sexual assault, theft, fraud, and more. These charges can have serious consequences, including dishonorable discharge, loss of benefits, and imprisonment.

Can I be tried under civilian law and military law for the same offense?

Yes, service members can be tried under both civilian law and military law for the same offense, depending on the circumstances of the case. This is known as "dual jurisdiction," and it allows military authorities to prosecute service members for offenses committed both on and off duty.


What rights do I have as a service member facing criminal charges?

As a service member facing criminal charges, you have the right to remain silent, the right to legal representation, the right to a fair trial, and the right to appeal any adverse decisions. It's essential to exercise these rights and seek the guidance of a qualified military criminal defense attorney.


What is the role of a military defense attorney?

A military defense attorney's role is to provide legal representation and advocacy for service members facing criminal charges. They will investigate the case, gather evidence, develop a defense strategy, and represent you in court or during military proceedings.


What are the potential consequences of a military criminal conviction?

The potential consequences of a military criminal conviction can vary depending on the severity of the offense and other factors. They may include dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay and allowances, confinement, and loss of military benefits.


Can I appeal a military criminal conviction?

Yes, service members have the right to appeal a military criminal conviction. The appeals process varies depending on the branch of the military and the type of court-martial or administrative action involved. An experienced military defense attorney can guide you through the appeals process.


How can I find the right military criminal defense attorney for my case?

When choosing a military criminal defense attorney, it's essential to look for someone with experience, expertise in military law, and a track record of success in handling cases similar to yours. You can research attorneys online, ask for referrals from fellow service members, and schedule consultations to discuss your case

Contact Us

Call (888) 490-0876 or use our quick contact form to send us your questions today.

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Why Hire McCormack & McCormack?

Providing Nothing Less than Exceptional Client Service

Along with a strong focus on successful results, the entire team at McCormack & McCormack is committed to providing our clients with the exceptional legal service that they deserve. When we agree to represent your case, we will take the time to build a trusting attorney-client relationship. In doing so, we believe that we will be better prepared to address the unique circumstances of your case and provide you with the personalized guidance that you will need during this difficult time. To fulfill this promise to our clients, we have employed an extensive support staff of highly experienced paralegals. By ensuring that each and every case receives the attention that it needs, we have found that our clients feel comfortable in the hands of our dedicated team.