Why Do I Need A Civilian Military Attorney for a Court Martial?

If you are facing a court-martial and are concerned over the government-appointed legal representation you are getting, you may want to consider hiring a civilian military attorney to handle your case. The consequences you will face if found guilty can affect you for the rest of your life. 

The government has unlimited resources to investigate you and will work extensively for a guilty verdict. If you are found guilty, you could lose your military career and may find yourself in prison. 

A military attorney in the civil sector usually has experience as a military attorney prior to working as a civilian attorney. They have worked both sides of the court-martial proceedings, both prosecuting and defending. Their extensive experience in the courtroom works in your favor when facing this very serious charge.

When to Contact an Attorney

Once you become aware you may be the subject of a criminal investigation you should contact an attorney. By the time the military assigns you a government-appointed attorney you may already have charges levied against you. It is important to be represented by an attorney during the investigation process and be present during any questioning you are subject to. An experienced civilian attorney can advise you through the investigation period to lessen the chance for you to incriminate yourself. 

You can still use the JAG (the military-assigned attorney) along with the civilian attorney if you like — the JAG attorney will not cost you. They can work together to present the best defense for you. 

Using a JAG attorney will put you at a disadvantage for a few reasons:

  • You will not get the JAG’s undivided attention to your court-martial proceedings. Most military attorneys are assigned several cases at the same time and cannot spend the necessary time with you to fully understand the specifics about your case. Additionally, you are not assigned a JAG until charges are presented, leaving minimal time to prepare for your trial.
  • While there are good JAG defense attorneys, most are new to the practice with little experience going before a court-martial board. In addition, because they belong to the military, it may be conflicting for them to come up against their superiors in court.

Why Hiring an Experienced Civilian Military Attorney is Critical

Losing a court-martial trial is not just being banned from the military. It can affect most areas of your life, including:

  • Future military jobs
  • Current military job
  • Enlistment bonuses
  • Military retirement benefits
  • Any VA benefits
  • You may have to repay money received for education received at military institutes
  • You may have to spend time in prison
  • If convicted of a sexual offense, register as a sex offender
  • Difficulty finding a civilian job because of criminal record

Serious legal matters such as insubordination, manslaughter, desertion, or sexual assault require the help of experienced attorneys in the civilian arena. There is a cost to hiring a civilian military attorney; however, the investment is worth it in the long run if the civilian military criminal defense attorney in Quantico, VA you hired works hard, such as one from The Federal Practice Group, to get the most favorable outcome possible for you.

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