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Your Military Rights

Your Military Rights

McCormack & McCormack Will Fight for Your Rights

Whether you have been named as a suspect in an ongoing criminal investigation or you have already been charged with a crime, the actions you take right now could have an enormous impact on your future. If you take the time to properly understand your rights and to seek the help of a military criminal defense lawyer who can guide you through this experience, you may be able to clear your name and soon put this situation behind you. Failure to assert your rights, on the other hand, could end up causing irreparable harm to your career and future in the civilian community. Under Article 31b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), once you are considered a suspect of a criminal offense, you have the absolute right to remain silent and to the assistance of an attorney.

The first thing which you must understand is the vital necessity of exercising your rights to remain silent and to the assistance of an attorney. It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of invoking your rights to remain silent to and the assistance of an attorney. Don't make the mistake of speaking with military or civilian law enforcement investigators, or member of your command. You must firmly invoke your rights - tell them in clear and unequivocal terms, "I want my lawyer - now" and you refuse to make any statements. Understand that saying “I think I need an attorney” is NOT an unequivocal invocation of your rights. Never let your guard down when speaking with law enforcement or members of your command; realize that the longer you keep talking to them, the greater are the chances that you will end up saying something which incriminates you and which could make the difference between a conviction and a dismissal of the charges. One you do invoke your rights, it is also important to remember that you can not then ask any questions, since by doing so, you may be effectively waiving the rights you previously invoked.

Refer any requests for comment to McCormack & McCormack as your legal representation, and then respectfully decline to say anything else. As your attorneys, we will not hesitate to take action to hold law enforcement personnel accountable for violating your constitutional rights, and we will fight to protect you against the serious consequences you now face.

What is Expected of You

As a member of the United States Armed Forces, you are subject to certain constraints and are held to higher standards in many ways than you would be as an average civilian. This does not mean, however, that you waived your civil rights the moment when you enlisted in the military. On the contrary, military service members who stand accused of crimes enjoy the same legal rights and protections which they fight to defend for the rest of the country, and in many cases it is only these rights which stand between them and a future of confinement, punitive discharge and living the rest of their lives with the stigma of having a criminal record.

Speak with a Military Criminal Defense Lawyer

Your rights include the right to refuse to give consent to a search which is not based upon probable cause or a warrant, to terminate an interrogation at any time and to consult with an attorney and have an attorney present with you during questioning. Choosing an experienced military criminal attorney who served on active duty with the U.S. Army JAG Corps can be extremely beneficial for your case. In today's military, any state or federal criminal conviction can be cause for an administrative separation action, which can result in a discharge characterization of "other than honorable." Many civilian lawyers mistakenly think that a deferral, or first-offender disposition of a criminal charge will not affect a service member's military status. Attorneys at our firm understand, however, that the military considers deferral or first-offender status to be the equivalent of a conviction for the purposes of administrative separation action.

In many cases, a service member's outstanding military career record can be utilized to secure a more-favorable result. For a more complete discussion of your rights as a service member, read our guide, Advice for Military Suspects. Then, contact our office for a confidential consultation with an attorney from our team so that we can listen to your side of the story and begin working on a strategy for defending you!

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