Are you facing a court-martial? Working with a civilian attorney may be necessary to keep your rank or even your freedom depending on the severity of the actions against you. Civilian lawyers specializing in military law typically have more time, passion, and liberty than appointed military lawyers. This gives you a much better chance of preserving your reputation and your future. Before you hire anyone, however, you should understand your rights and the benefits of civilian representation.
Civilian Lawyers Specializing in Military Law
Know Your Rights
The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) grants all military personnel the right to free legal representation by military defense counsel when facing a special or general court-martial. Those facing a summary court-martial (the lowest level of court, reserved for minor offenses) are not entitled to receive representation from military defense counsel (though some services, like the Air Force, provide free military counsel regardless as a matter of policy). However, in all three forms of court-martial, the accused may retain civilian counsel at his or her own expense. In addition, the accused may choose to keep the appointed JAG lawyer while also retaining civilian counsel to build a stronger defense.
JAG Attorney or Civilian Attorney?
JAG attorneys are similar to public defenders in the civilian world. They are usually juggling enough cases to perform in a circus and have little time to devote to your case. Unfortunately, some military members who rely only on appointed JAG attorneys end up with a defense worth the $0 cost.
While this may not be true in every case, you can't afford to take that gamble when your future is at stake. Civilian lawyers specializing in military law are an ideal alternative. If you're facing a very serious administrative separation, discharge, nonjudicial punishment, court-martial, or another adverse action, you need an aggressive attorney who has enough time to build a powerful defense.
However, you shouldn't go without any representation in the beginning. You give up several benefits when you represent yourself. Plus, courts are never easy on self-represented defendants. When a JAG attorney is appointed to you, don't refuse the appointment even if you plan to hire civilian representation. You may need time to raise funds to retain a private attorney. Your JAG attorney should continue working on your case. Your civilian attorney can collaborate with your appointed counsel once hired.
Always remember that you need as much time as possible to build the best defense possible. Also, remember that JAG attorneys are military members first and attorneys second. When you facing serious charges, you need a dedicated advocate who makes your case a top priority.
Strengthen Your Defense With A Civilian Attorney
If you or someone you know is preparing for a court-martial, contact the top-quality lawyers at Newsom & Gapasin. Whether you're under investigation, facing a court-martial, or seeking an appeal, our experienced and aggressive law firm would be happy to help. We focus on winning tough cases, some of which have been reported on by national media outlets like CNN, Fox News, Time, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. For more information, please give us a call at 1-(888) 919-8265. You could also send an e-mail to [email protected] or click here to contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!