Military Defense FAQs
You have the right to remain silent. If they want to speak to you, it is probably because they need more evidence against you or someone you know, in order to get a conviction.
You must report as ordered.
If you bring your cell phone with you, it will probably be confiscated. If you don’t have it with you, they may ask to accompany you to your home or workplace to get it. Don’t voluntarily hand it over. Make them get an order from your command or a search warrant. They will then later have to show they had a reason sufficient to seize it. If you give them permission, they will never have to deal with that issue in court.
Before speaking with you, you must be given your Article 31(b) (Miranda) Rights. They must tell you the charges for which you are being investigated. That information is often on the top of the rights form. Refuse to speak.
DO NOT SIGN THE PART OF THE FORM AGREEING TO TALK TO THEM.
The Rules of Engagement allow them to lie to you. They often do. They will tell you somebody else pointed the finger at you or that they have recordings of you saying something incriminating. They will tell you any other information they think will make you talk to them.
If you lie to them about anything, you will have made a false official statement for which you can be charged regardless of whether they charge you with the offense they believe you have committed.
Tell them you demand to speak to an attorney as early and as often as you can.
Upon your release, contact Coastal Legal Center for help. In an emergency we are available at any time, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
If they are asking your permission, it may be because they have insufficient information to get a search warrant or an order from your Command. They may tell you they will get a warrant anyway if you do not give them permission. But, they can lie to you. NEVER GRANT PERMISSION TO SEARCH. TELL THEM TO GET THAT WARRANT OR ORDER. Do not believe them if they tell you they will go easier on you if you give them permission to search. They do not have the authority to make that promise. Only the prosecutor or convening authority has that authority.
Similarly, a special court-martial can order custody for up to one year. It is often served locally in the military brig. A general court-martial has the power to sentence you to prison, often served at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. There are many other differences. A general court-martial requires an initial Article 32 investigation by an investigating officer. A special court-martial does not. Your Coastal Legal Center attorneys have experience in handling both.
If you are charged with a drug related offense, mandatory processing is required. That does not necessarily mean you will be discharged. You are entitled to defend yourself at either a court-martial or an Administrative Discharge Board. In many instances, such as when not attached to a vessel, you are entitled to refuse NJP, and have your case handled by either an administrative discharge board or a court-martial, where you have many more rights.
We have a track record of successfully defending members throughout the United States and around the world. Feel free to speak with your detailed counsel, but no one else, even your best buddy, since that person can be questioned and called as a witness regarding conversations you had. Make no statements, or additional statements if you have already spoken to authorities or investigators. Use your right to remain silent. Sign no forms giving up your right to remain silent. Even if you tell the truth, but they do not believe you, they can file an additional count of making a false official statement.
It boils down to this for you: remain silent, preserve all your rights, and make it harder for them to get a conviction. Or you speak to them, get charged, and make it harder to defend your case. It’s your choice. DO NOT BE BULLIED BY YOUR INTERROGATORS. They often suggest that if you have nothing to hide, there’s no reason to refuse. That is rubbish. You can always speak to them after you have spoken to defense counsel.
Arguments made at the punishment stage of your trial can determine whether you spend time in custody, the nature of your discharge, and your loss of benefits. We have the time and resources to create the best sentencing outcomes for our clients. We also are able to negotiate the very best pre-trial agreements and settlements of your case.
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