If you are on active duty, there are numerous issues that can call for the assistance of an attorney. The most significant situations usually concern charges brought by a command under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Commanders often choose to “prefer” charges against a soldier, sailor, airman or marine and, in certain circumstances, those or other charges are “referred” by a commander for a court martial. Those charges most likely come from of the punitive articles listed in the UCMJ. An attorney can play a vital role in the defense of a case even before charges are preferred by a command.
Is There Any Protection Under Military Law Against Cruelty and Maltreatment?
If you're a member of the armed forces facing a Military DUI charge, the process and consequences can be much different than someone who faces a civilian charge. There are some important differences you need to understand when you're dealing with a Military DUI charge.
What is intoxicated for a military DUI? For members of the military, a military court can use the state's legal blood alcohol limit for a military DUI. However, military courts aren't limited to the state's legal limit. If your blood alcohol limit is lower than the state's legal limit, but the military court feels it was enough to impair your ability to operate a vehicle, you can still be charged with a military DUI.
Where will your military DUI be tried? Unlike civilian DUI, a military court will try your military DUI. This means that you'll need an attorney that understands military law and military DUI. As in a civilian court, one charged with a military DUI has the right to a defense attorney. It's important that you get an attorney to assist you with the military DUI as quickly as possible. While civilian court proceedings tend to stretch out over a long period of time, military DUI court will move much faster.
What type of sentencing applies to military DUI conviction? In a military DUI conviction, there can be a wide variety of punishment. In a civilian trial, a DUI sentence is limited to community service, jail time, fines, loss of license, community service, and DUI programs. These are all limited by state law.
In a military DUI case, the sentencing can be quite different. For example, military DUI does not have a maximum legal sentence, so the court will be able to decide the sentence. A military DUI conviction can result in dishonorable discharge, a rank reduction, a pay deduction, loss of security clearance, fines, and imprisonment. At the very least you may receive a formal reprimand for a military DUI.
How will a military DUI affect my career? A military DUI can have a serious impact on your military career. It's possible to receive a dishonorable discharge ending your military career permanently. Less severe, but still serious, consequences of a military career include the inability to increase in rank or pay grade. Your military DUI conviction will become part of your permanent military record. In the armed forced, a military DUI is a very serious charge with serious consequences.
When Unauthorized Absence Or AWOL May Not Be a Crime According to Military Law
If charges are brought before a court martial panel, the service member faces a daunting task. Having the right attorney representing the service member is critical.
If convicted at court martial, a panel can consider a number of options for punishment. If the panel decides to separate the service member from the armed forces, a service member can receive 1 of 5 possible types of discharge: Honorable, Under Honorable Conditions (often called a “General Discharge”), Under Other than Honorable Conditions, Bad-Conduct Discharge, or Dishonorable Discharge. The last 2 of this list, Bad-Conduct Discharge, or Dishonorable Discharge, can only be given after a conviction at court martial. Whether a service member will retain various benefits, including VA benefits, his/her Montgomery GI bill, or even his/her retirement, hinges greatly on the characterization of discharge.
Another form of discharge is uncharacterized. An uncharacterized “Entry Level Separation” typically is granted in situations when a service member is in his/her first 180 days in the service and is not adjusting well to the military lifestyle.
An alternative to bringing a service member to court martial is bringing the service member before an administrative board. There are many boards in the various service branches. Some are convened to determine whether the service member has committed misconduct sufficient to be separated (essentially fired) from the service branch. Other boards are convened to determine whether an injury is severe enough to prohibit continued service by a service member. Officers who are suspected of misconduct might be brought before a board of officers or a board of inquiry. Experienced representation before administrative boards is critical to a service member’s success or failure.
Reservists often times encounter as many legal issues as their active duty brethren. Many times a reservist receives orders activating the service member to duty. The orders may have been issued erroneously. However, disregarding those orders can create its own set of issues. Alternatively, some reservists find that reporting for active duty may cause a devastating impact on their families and civilian lives. Consulting with the right, experienced attorney is important in determining what a service member’s rights and obligations are.
Some reservists encounter issues with their civilian bosses before leaving for an activation or deployment or when they return from one. Federal laws such as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) help protect service members who face these problems. Our lawyers help navigate these difficult issues. A service member has enough to think about when deployment orders are issued – this should not be one of them.
Many veterans and ex-service members attempt to correct their military records. However, the process can be confusing and paralyzing. We can help you prepare your application before the Army Board of Correction of Military Records (ABCMR), Air Force Board of Correction of Military Records (AFBCMR), and the Board of Correction of Naval Records (BCNR).
Hire an Aggressive Military Lawyer to Defend Yourself in a Military Court
Unlike a civilian case where you could escape a serious sentence or fines especially if you had committed a violation for the first time, military courts have a very high level of strictness that throw the book of military justice at you with your very first offense. If you are in the army, navy or air-force and have fallen foul of military laws then you should hire an aggressive Military Lawyer to defend yourself in a military court.
Armed forces in countries like the United States of America have separate laws and also have an extensive legal team in the form of JAG or Judge Advocate General Division. If you end up breaking any law during your stint in the armed forces then you could find yourself facing a court martial that could end with disastrous results. Depending on the nature of your crime, you could simply face a pay cut or end up with a dishonorable discharge. You could also face a stiff prison sentence unlike a civilian case where you just might end up with a slap on your wrists.
The armed forces have huge resources in terms of finance and manpower that is sure to be used against you in case you end up making a legal mistake. You will thus require an equally aggressive Military Lawyer that has enough experience in handling different types of military cases including the one that you find yourself in. Your lawyer should be well-conversant with all military laws along with the latest amendments. Since the military usually awards severe sentences even to minor infractions, an experienced lawyer can help you to win your case or at least try to get a reduced sentence in case of a loss.
If you do not have a pro-active and aggressive lawyer to represent your case then you could be pressurized into signing a guilty plea or enter into a plea deal that could anyway harm your interests. An expert lawyer with in-depth military law knowledge could study the proposals offered by the prosecution and help you make an informed decision that could save you from a long prison sentence or a discharge. Since the military has a very high conviction rate, you would most certainly be doomed if you do not have an experienced and fearless Military Lawyer on your side.
Your lawyer will anyway be outnumbered by lawyers and experts from the armed forces once he or she takes up your case. In case you are in the midst of getting a divorce when serving in the military then again such a lawyer that is an expert in divorce cases could help you to successfully get a divorce and get on with your life again. You could also hire a lawyer in case your military pension is stuck due to any reason. In any case, your lawyer will surely have a tough fight on his or her hands since the military will surely put its might behind each case so as to secure a conviction or victory.
If you are a member of the armed forces then you would be governed under military law and any infringement on your part could be met with harsh legal action. You should certainly hire an aggressive Military Lawyer to protect yourself, your reputation and your finances in case you end up on the other side of the military fence.