How do I know if I am facing military charges?
This is not always an easy question to answer. If you are incarcerated at a military facility, then you are obviously facing military charges. However, the may be held at a state or local facility or may not have even notified you that you have been charged with a crime and still face the possibility of military charges.
A good rule of thumb is that if a military investigator had talked to you, or if a federal agent (FBI, DEA, etc.) has talked to you while you are in active military service, you are at least under investigation and may be charged by the federal government. The Criminal Defense Group can easily check whether you are in the federal or military court system.
I have been approached or asked questions by military investigators. What should I do?
Before talking to anyone, immediately hire a military defense attorney. If this is not possible, you must be extremely careful not to incriminate yourself. When it doubt, it is advisable to exercise your Fifth Amendment rights not to answer a question until you have consulted with an attorney. Whatever you do, do not lie.
How does the military criminal process differ from the civilian process?
In general, the military criminal process moves faster than the civilian process, particularly when compared to federal criminal process. This accelerated time frame makes it critical that you get the right defense team early -- even before charges are filed. Do not wait until the point when you may be facing a military appointed defender.
The military process is administered by active duty officers who are more similar to defendants than the judge and jury of "peers" used in civilian courts. Verdicts are reached more quickly, and hun juries are less common. For this reason, it is important to use defense counsel with military experience and who can relate effectively to the judge and/or jurors.
The particular steps of the military justice process are too numerous to describe here. Please call us at (800) 459-2500 to discuss your particular situation.
Can I face military and civilian charges at the same time?
Yes. If you are accused of a civilian crime or arrested by state or federal agents while serving in the military, it is possible to face charges in both military and civilian court.
If your defense team has expertise and representation in both court systems, it can be possible to have civilian charges dropped or lessened in lieu of military proceedings. This is an advantage over using a military-only defense attorney. The defense strategy used must consider the procedures and rules for both court systems.