Being arrested in the Military is a terrifying thing, whether it is for sexual assault or for murder. Most times, you are arrested on the spot, where the crime allegedly happened. Sometimes, the arrest comes after the crime has occurred. Other times, you know a criminal investigation is active, like in most fraud allegation situations, and are arrested only after a grand jury indictment. In any of these situations, an arrest must be conducted within the limits of the UCMJ. It's also important to keep in mind that just because you are arrested for a crime you may or may not have committed, you still have rights.
Gapasin Law Group, LLC, is committed to our clients. We review all cases thoroughly and uphold our clients' rights and interests. If you have been arrested or think you might be under investigation for a crime, contact us at 1-(888) 919-UCMJ (8265) to schedule a no-cost consultation and get your defense started without delay
Your Rights When Arrested by Civilian or Military Police
Whether you are arrested by Civilian or Military Police, you have rights. You have the right to:
- Remain silent. You should not answer any questions or give explanations or excuses. Anything you say will be used against you. Remaining silent also means you do not have to sign anything or make any decisions without your lawyer.
- Ask for a lawyer immediately. You need an advocate who can stand up for your rights.
- Make a phone call. You can use your phone call to call us at 1-(888) 919-UCMJ (8265). If you contact us or any other lawyer, the police cannot listen to the conversation due to attorney-client privilege.
Keep in mind that if you do not retain a lawyer who can help you fight criminal allegations, and you are subsequently convicted, you may lose some of your rights as provided by the U.S. Constitution, and you almost surely end your career as well as potential for future employment after the military. If you are convicted of an offense under the UCMJ that the State you reside in considers a felony, you can lose the right to vote or to own and use a firearm.
Police Procedures for Arrests by Civilian or Military Police
During an arrest, Military Police detain a person in custody, often because they are suspected of committing a crime. Arresting a military member is a serious matter that involves depriving a person of their freedom of movement. For this reason, Military Police must follow certain procedures when effecting an arrest.
It is often assumed that military police must put a person in handcuffs or into a military police vehicle to arrest them, however, this is not the case. They may choose to do so depending on the circumstances, but they are not legally required to handcuff or physically detain someone to effect an arrest.
Military Police, Investigators and Unit Leadership are also not legally required to read someone their Article 31 rights depending on the circumstances (“you have the right to remain silent, anything you do say…”) at the time of their arrest. However, after focusing on court-martial defense and separation boards, Gapasin Law Group, LLC definitely recognizes the potential to suppress any statements or evidence obtained without the reading of rights. These rights must be explained before military police or investigators can interrogate someone. In practice, however, state or county police often read a person their Miranda rights at the time of their arrest.
When Can a Law Enforcement Agent Make an Arrest in the Military
Military Police cannot arrest someone just because “they look suspicious” or the MP “has a hunch” about something. MPs or law enforcement can arrest someone in any of the three below situations:
- The officer has an arrest warrant issued by a military magistrate.
- The officer saw someone commit a crime.
- The officer has probable cause to believe someone committed or is about to commit a crime.
Probable cause means that actual information exists leading the police officer to believe the person has committed or is about to commit a crime. In other words, the police officer holds more than mere suspicion, but not enough to establish beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person committed or will soon commit a crime.
Arrests and the Use of Excessive Force in the Military
The issue of excessive force often arises in the context of an arrest. Under the Fourth and Eighth Amendments of the U.S. Consitution, military police must only use the minimum force reasonably necessary to effect an arrest. They cannot use excessive force.
When reviewing whether the force used was reasonable, a court will consider factors including but not limited to:
- The seriousness of the crime the person was suspected of committing
- Whether the suspect was a threat
- Whether the suspect attempted to escape arrest
If excessive force is used during an arrest by civilian police, the suspect may have a basis for a civil case against the officer for violating their constitutional rights. A person subject to excessive force can also file a formal complaint with the relevant police department, which may consider disciplinary action, or the Department of Justice, which may consider criminal charges depending on the circumstances and results of any investigation.
Why You Need a Military Court-Martial Lawyer if Arrested
If Civilian or Military Police arrest you, you should immediately ask to speak to a Military Court-Martial Lawyer. You have the right to do so and they are best placed to advise you of the law and the options available to you in your circumstances.
- You need a good defense to protect your right and freedoms. The U.S. Constitution grants you the right to a court-martial defense lawyer.
- It evens the playing field. A court-martial defense lawyer allows you access to knowledge and a defense strategy you deserve. The United States Government has the experience, time, and money on its side. It uses this to collect evidence and build a case against you. Plus, they are not afraid to use intimidation tactics to get what they want.
- An attorney can build a strong defense strategy. An attorney listens to your side of the story, investigates the facts, applies the facts to the law, and strategizes. Sometimes a clear defense is available, other times, it is more about creating reasonable doubt because the prosecutor has the burden to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Sometimes, law enforcement overreaches. A smart military court-martial defense attorney knows what to look for when military police may not have carried out an arrest properly. Violations of your constitutional rights can result in the exclusion of any evidence obtained from that violation, which is often referred to as the fruit of the poisonous tree.
- It's complicated. The laws and procedures related to military law and military criminal defense are complicated. You cannot do it alone unless you have knowledge of it, and if you try to do it on your own, you may end up in a worse place than you would have been. For example, if you are offered a plea agreement, the United States Government will draft terms and conditions most favorable to them, and you may agree without a fight in fear it is your only option. But a military criminal defense attorney is skilled in negotiation and knows how to argue a better plea agreement.
Contact a Military Criminal Defense Lawyer With a Focus On Court-Martial Defense Today
An arrest, whether it is the first time or not, is always difficult. Getting the representation you need to see your case through to the end is essential if you want to safeguard your rights and freedoms as best you can. You do have to face UCMJ criminal allegations on your own.
Gapasin Law Group, LLC, represents clients who want to obtain the best outcome possible in their situation. Contact us today by filling out the online form or calling us at 1-(888) 919-UCMJ (8265) to schedule a no-cost consultation.