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Q: A Military Investigative Service (Such As NCIS) Wants Me To Talk With Them, Or My Command Has Ordered Me To Talk To Them. What Should I Do?
A: CALL US IMMEDIATELY TO INTERVENE AND DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE OR GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATORS. Call (619) 231-0724 or (858) 848-5290.
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.
Q: Investigators Want My Permission To Search My House, Garage, Car, Computer, Camera, Tape Recording, Etc, Etc. Should I Give It To Them?
A: The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits illegal searches and seizures of your property. Understand that you will be giving up or waiving your rights by granting permission to a government agent, such as the police, NCIS, Military Police, to search.
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.
Q: What Is A Court-Martial? What Is The Difference Between A Special And General Court-Martial?
A: Members of the military services are subject to military discipline and criminal prosecution for illegal activities while in the service. Even if there is a parallel prosecution in a civilian court, your command can prosecute on the military side. Although there are no “misdemeanors” or “felonies” in the military system, it is helpful to think of certain charges along those lines. In civilian courts, a misdemeanor is a crime for which punishment may include up to one year of custody in county jail, but not prison. A felony is a crime that can include custody in prison, generally for more than a year.
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.