Although the government provides you with a free JAG attorney if you’ve been court-martialed, you’re likely much better off hiring a private attorney for your legal defense. A court-martial is a very serious offense with many types of different consequences. It just may wind up costing you more in the long run if you go with a JAG attorney instead of with a private military attorney.
All around a court-martial is not really a fair fight. The government has a lot of resources in their arsenal to investigate you, prosecute you and render a guilty verdict. A guilty verdict can result in just about losing everything. Your entire future, your military career and your freedom just may be at stake. It’s not a fair fight when all you have in your corner is a military appointed lawyer. Typically, a military appointed lawyer has only minimal experience in the courtroom and for a court martial. There’s a lot at risk and a lot on the line when you’re facing a court-martial. For the best outcome, it’s always wise to hire a private military attorney. A private military attorney knows the law from both sides of the boxing ring. This dual experience will put up a good fight on your behalf.
The Use of a JAG Attorney
The military does not assign you JAG attorney right away. This means that you have no legal representation for yourself while you’re being investigated and questioned. That makes this time period a critical and vulnerable one for you. The intervention of a private military attorney may even also stop the charges against you. A private military attorney may be able to negotiate an alternative solution prior to you being charged with a criminal action. Hiring a private military defense attorney on your behalf will signal to the prosecution that you are going to fight the charges with a strong advocate in your corner. Plus, your military defense attorney can help you invoke your Article 31 rights while you are under investigation. This way, you will not unknowingly incriminate yourself.
The One-Sided Battle
From the minute you are court martialed, government is loading their guns with a lot of ammunition against you. The government will use their resources, such as the OCI, the NCIS and the CID to investigate you. An experienced team of prosecutors will be put together. Typically, two prosecutors are assigned to a court martial case. Your case is supervised by a chief of military justice and is assigned a staff member advocate. You will only be assigned one JAG attorney.
From the get-go, you can easily see how everything is stacked against you. And although a JAG attorney is free, there are a few disadvantages. JAG attorneys generally already have a lot of existing cases. They don’t have enough time to thoroughly investigate your case, prepare a strong defense for you or even investigate witnesses. In addition, most JAG attorneys are newbies to the law. They have just begun their legal career. Many JAG lawyers have to travel from region to region to represent their clients in court-martial cases. Most of them don’t have hardly any experience presenting a case before a court martial panel. With both little time and little experience, you just may lose the battle.
Everything is at Risk
A guilty verdict in a court martial case is much more than just a black mark on your military record. There’s a lot at risk. You could lose your VA benefits, your military rank, your military job, pay and enlistment bonuses and your military retirement. Your entire future is at risk with a court-martial.
And in addition to losing money and benefits, you could also be thrown into military confinement in a prison. And if your criminal offense is a sexual one, you’ll be required by your state to register as a sex offender. Not only will a court martial and conviction adversely affect your military career, but it could also affect your ability to find work as a civilian. Employers are not inclined to hire people with federal convictions. A conviction will make it very difficult for you to move on with your life.
Not all legal matters with the military require a military defense attorney. But serious offenses do. Sexual assault, manslaughter, insubordination, and desertion are all considered serious offenses in the military. harming a private experienced military defense attorney can make a big difference in your case. Hiring a private military attorney will give you an upper edge in your case and increase the chances of having the charges dismissed against you.
When you taking to consideration everything that’s at stake for you due to a court martial, you can easily see why going out of pocket with a military defense lawyer is a wise investment and decision. If you’ve been court-martialed for a serious military offense, act quickly, and contact a military defense lawyer. This decision can wind up changing the whole trajectory of your life.