Nobody wants to be in legal trouble. Unfortunately, due to a variety of circumstances, even the best members of the armed forces occasionally face criminal charges. Whether the infraction is serious or minor, a conviction could result in loss of rank or loss of freedom. Either way, having the right attorney to help navigate the complicated set of military laws and regulations is essential. Here are some suggestions for finding a skilled court martial attorney.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice is significantly different than criminal codes that apply exclusively to civilians. As such, you want to find an attorney who has significant experience practicing in front of military courts. This is important for at least two reasons. First, military procedure is vastly different than civilian legal procedure. You certainly don’t want to choose a lawyer who might miss a filing deadline or submit an irrelevant motion. Then, legal precedent is unique in military law. Because of this, an understanding of civilian criminal law is only marginally relevant in a military court.
If your freedom or career is on the line, you might be willing to pay virtually anything to get out of a criminal situation. Unfortunately, most people don’t typically have unfettered access to limitless funds. Therefore, when you are looking for the best court-martial attorney, ask about the fee agreement. Make sure you understand how the attorney bills for services. Also, inquire about what fees, costs, and other expenses the attorney bills separately.
Criminal matters can be extraordinarily stressful. If you are going through a military investigation or prosecution, you will likely have to work closely with your court martial attorney to achieve the best outcome possible. While you don’t have to be your attorney’s best friend, you should probably choose one with whom you can have a decent working relationship. Also, you should likely also pick a counselor you can trust.
Generally, attorneys are only as good as their staffs. Paralegals, secretaries, and others prepare filings, write letters, and keep you informed about your case. Therefore, try to hire an attorney for your court martial that has experienced support personnel. If you think of your defense as a team effort, you will probably have a better chance of achieving an acceptable outcome.
It might seem obvious, but you should probably consider hiring an attorney whose office is close to you. While this is important for the sake of convenience, it is also useful from a legal standpoint. Local lawyers frequently know prosecutors, judges, and others in a way that out-of-towners can’t. This, of course, usually gives them an advantage in advising you on the potential consequences of your case’s proceedings. Understanding local legal intricacies also might allow your legal team to steer your case in a direction that is favorable to you.
If you are facing criminal charges, your freedom and career could be in peril. By choosing the right court martial attorney, you can receive the legal help you need to pursue the best resolution of your military criminal matter.