Are you concerned because you've recently discovered that you're being investigated for a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)? Good! You should be. An investigation is a very serious matter, and you should immediately begin researching your rights during an investigation and consulting an attorney experienced in military law. To help you get started, we've compiled a short list of rights and reminders. Although this won't replace the crucial advice an attorney could give you regarding your specific situation, it will help you learn a bit more about the process and procedures involved.
Your Rights During an Investigation
You have the right to remain silent. A military investigator may ask you to visit his or her office and give a statement, but that simple interview could quickly turn into an interrogation. Investigators are out for one thing: a confession. Although they might promise that they're simply trying to reach the truth and gather information, the primary goal is to implicate a suspect. Don't talk to anyone until you've spoken with an attorney.
You have the right to reject search and seizure. If law enforcement shows up at your house and tries to search around your home or seize your belongings, you have the right to say no. If they don't have a warrant, they will need your consent first. Don't give it to them if you aren't comfortable. Let them do the work of showing probable cause before a military magistrate first.
You have the right to counsel. Before you're questioned by an investigator or the police, requested to stand in an identification lineup, or have charges read to you, you have the right to counsel. Although you will be appointed a military attorney free of charge, you can also hire a civilian attorney. Many people accused of a crime under the UCMJ find that hiring a civilian lawyer is advantageous due to their years of experience, their trial skills, and their passion for their cases. JAG lawyers rarely choose to be defense lawyers for a long period of time (so their skills are generally much weaker), and very talented and experienced JAG lawyers are usually reserved for prosecution. Whether you choose a civilian lawyer or a military lawyer, however, be sure that you speak with your counsel before you speak with investigators.
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An investigation can be a terrifying process for an accused person, but it's important that you keep your wits about you and always remember that you do have rights. Although the military investigators (CID, NCIS, OSI, CGIS, MPs) may try to pressure you into giving a statement prematurely or handing over your laptop, for example, you do not have to submit. Learn your rights and stand by them.
To learn more about the rights you have (and don't have) during a military investigation, consult an attorney. And if you're looking for a top-quality military lawyer, contact Newsom & Gapasin. Whether you're under investigation or facing a court-martial, 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 , send an e-mail to [email protected], or click here to contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!