Being in the armed services is like a whole different life from what many civilians experience. From the responsibilities that fall on their shoulders to the rules and regulations that they have to follow beyond even that of local and federal laws. So when a serviceman has any type of run-in with the law and they get arrested, it tends to be a lot more strict and complicated. Here is a quick overview of some of the differences between being arrested as a serviceman and that of a civilian.
With civilians, when you get arrested and you do not have the means to pay for a private lawyer, you are able to be assigned a public defender to help with your case from the state, however, if you are in the armed services, the government provides additional legal resources for people in the military who are in need. You usually need to qualify financially but it is a benefit of having that extra boost of help when needed.
Court appearance forgiveness
Often, people in the military are assigned to various places and are not always available to be at scheduled court hearings so when this happens, the courts are often very understanding of this and far more flexible to rescheduling court dates to work with any type of deployment. It is to be noted that the court and understanding about deployment but other more personal reasons will be treated as asking for an exemption just like any other civilian would be.
Getting Demoted in Rank
One of the most prominent ways in which an arrest may affect a serviceman is the possible demotion of rank because of said issue. If the crime the serviceman is being charged with is severe enough then the military courts will look into punishments beyond that of the law to hold the person responsible for their actions. This is because when you are in the military you not only represent yourself but the military as a whole and they expect the conduct even while not in service to reflect that so any mishaps are taken extremely seriously.
And finally, the most severe punishment that can be handed down by the military is a dishonorable discharge. This is of course only used for the most serious of crimes but it is something that goes on a record and can affect many aspects of life such as getting a job or other activities where that can be looked into.
Overall, if the crime is relatively minor, most likely all that will happen will be some type of warning or citation but it is to be noted that if a serious transgression occurs, the punishment of the law will only be a part of the punishment.