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Should I Hire Civilian Military Defense Attorney for My Court Martial?
If push comes to shove, and you are indeed charged with a court martial offense, the question always remains the same – go for a JAG attorney, or bypass the military system and opt for seasoned San Diego military criminal defense attorneys. Yes, JAGs are delegated by the military, and yes, you don’t have to pay for their services, but hiring a private civilian military defense attorney is certainly worth considering. Here’s why.
Sorry for starting on a low note, but you really do have to be aware of all the potential legal ramifications of being found guilty in a court martial. Not to say that sticking with a JAG lawyer delegated to your case means certain defeat, far from it. We just think that considering and hiring civilian lawyers specializing in military law greatly tips the scales to your favor. So, let’s see what defeat in a court martial might entail.
- Job loss – One thing is certain, the guilty court martial verdict means you will most likely lose your job. To put that into perspective, a five-year-service E-4 would thus approximately lose $25,000 in annual income. Putting potential defeat into figures, hiring a civilian lawyer specializing in military law that can help you win your case is not that costly.
- Future job prospects – Not only will you lose your current job, but the possibilities for any jobs in the future would also be significantly diminished. A vast majority of all modern-day employers perform detailed background checks of the promising candidates, and an unfavorable court martial verdict would not make the best of impressions.
- Loss of retirement – This repercussion is fairly obvious. With the loss of a steady job, comes an interruption in your retirement plan. For example, senior NCOs stand to lose a few hundred thousand dollars. In some cases, that sum comes close to a million. Head-spinning, and definitely worth thinking about a civilian military defense attorney.
- Loss of housing benefits – The military provides its active personnel with substantial housing benefits, just to help them along the way towards their real estate independence. Depending on the rank and years active, it means losing anywhere from $12,000 to $24,000 a year.
- Loss of medical insurance – Whereas the military takes care of the people under its wing when it comes to medical insurance, losing your job implies losing the insurance as well. Civilian insurance can cost in excess of $12,000 yearly.
- Cost of military education – Finally, for all those who have undergone proper military education before becoming active duty members, losing a court martial case means paying the education costs back. For example, army members who attended military academy stand to pay $100,000 or more, depending on the academy.
Although it might look a bit extreme, we have witnessed all of these repercussions in our many years of experience. You have to make sure you are doing everything in your power to secure best possible legal representation. We’re sorry to say that, in most cases, that includes more than just free JAG representation. So, it’s time to seriously ponder the civilian lawyer vs military lawyer decision.
JAG attorney workload
It would be wrong to suggest that military lawyers are not capable of properly representing your case in a court martial. However, a fact remains that, besides their legal obligations, they have other, military responsibilities to take care of on a daily basis. This means they are often stretched too thin and pressed for time.
Unfortunately, they do not have enough time to commit their utmost attention and energy into a single case, because they frequently have to juggle several cases at the same time. That is why going for a civilian military defense attorney is a good idea. They are all-in on your case, and only yours, for any duration. This is something JAG attorneys simply cannot achieve.
Immediate need for an attorney
The military does not appoint an attorney before officially charging an individual for an offense. It is only then that JAGs begin the consultation process, which, in many cases, might mean too little too late. The need for legal representation and adequate consultation is always immediate.
In the military, you cannot request legal representation before being formally notified that you are being charged with an offense. What are you to do if you suspect you’ve made a breach in conduct, expecting legal action to be taken against you, and you can’t consult with a lawyer?
You need to take swift action to assure your side of the story is heard, and, in these occasion, your best bet is a civilian military defense attorney. Waiting for JAG corps often means losing precious case preparation time.
Experience is invaluable
Finally, you have to take the matter of professional experience into consideration. With a civilian military defense attorney, you know who you’re hiring. You can inquire about that person’s expertise, experience, credentials, case record, and anything else you might be interested in. Only after being certain that you’ve found the best possible present to represent you in a court martial will you actually shake the hand and begin cooperation.
When it comes to JAG attorneys, there are seasoned professionals, well-versed in every nook and cranny of the military law, capable of handling court martial cases of any severity. There are also, however, inexperienced novices, fresh from school, with little to no experience trying a court martial case as lead counsel.
So, let’s say the odds of being assigned an experienced JAG are fifty-fifty. Are you willing to stake your professional and personal future on those odds? If not, you can always take matters into your own hands and find the best possible lawyer for your case. You don’t have to risk it, play it safe.
The best civilian military defense attorney is not far away
Vik Monder of Monder Criminal Lawyer Group has put together a marvelous team of experienced, committed and motivated criminal defense attorneys who specialize in military law. If you want to secure strongest possible court martial case, these are the people you should turn to. They have a pristine track record in the most diverse of court martial cases, and they will put all that knowledge into securing a favorable sentence for you. Contact us today!