If you refuse trial by summary court-martial, your command has the option to try your case as a special court-martial or general court-martial instead. Special courts-martial are misdemeanor courts and have jurisdiction over both officer and enlisted personnel. The court is presided over by a military judge, and is composed of at least three active-duty members forming the military equivalent of a jury. If desired, you may request trial by a military judge alone.
Conduct of the trial is governed by the Military Rules for Court-Martial and Evidence. For enlisted service members, special courts-martial may impose up to one year of confinement, forfeiture of all pay allowances, a reduction in rate to the lowest enlisted pay grade, and a Bad Conduct Discharge. For officers, the court is limited to a letter of reprimand as punishment.
The special court-martial process begins when your chain of command, with the assistance of the JAG office, determines a court-martial is appropriate for the charges. If the commander determines that the case should proceed to special court-martial then the proceedings begin with the appointment of active duty service members to serve as the court-martial panel and the referral of charges to them. Unlike a general court-martial, a pre-trial investigation is not required prior to commencing trial. Once the charges are referred to a special court-martial, the case can begin within three days. An accused service member has the same procedural rights at a special court-martial as at a general court-martial.