Administrative discharge cases are some of the most common ones the team at Military Trial Defenders assists clients with. Administrative discharge occurs when members of the military are released from the army against his or her own will. A discharge from the military can result in the loss of Veteran’s benefits. In some extreme cases, it can even be detrimental to one’s career. Accordingly, even though an administrative discharge is not quite as harsh as a court-martial, it is a serious matter.
When to Seek Legal Help
Many military discharges are processed via written notification. This limits communication and defenses to written explanation. In some cases, however, military members are granted the opportunity to be reviewed by discharge boards. These boards examine the elements of the discharge to determine if it is sound and reasonable. Because administrative discharge boards operate much differently than court-martial proceedings or civilian court proceedings, we have briefly outlined what military members should expect during a board hearing.
What To Expect at A Discharge Hearing
Whether an administrative discharge is the result of medical issues, misconduct, or something entirely outside of the defendant’s control, administrative discharge hearings are relatively standard. These hearings typically last anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour. Respondents are allowed to present an “issue”, the specific reason why they believe the discharge was improper or unfair. To do this, they have the right to submit evidence on their behalf and the right to legal counsel. They also have the right to remain silent and the right to present witnesses.
Administrative boards recommend that all applicants bring a photo ID to the hearing. All witnesses should also have a photo ID available. To augment the applicant’s case, it is helpful to present letters of recommendation and documentation of community service or personal success. Most hearings begin with a briefing, after which the respondent is sworn in. Next, the respondent will likely have the opportunity to provide an opening statement to the board. The discharge boards at these hearings consist of five senior offers, ranked O-5 to O-6. The officers present questions to the defendant, seeking to clarify the details of the case. Finally, the discharge board will vote on the matter. In order for a respondent to be relieved from the effects of administrative discharge, the majority of officers must vote in the direction favorable to him or her.
Be Prepared to Face Administrative Discharge Boards
While lawyers are not required for administrative discharge hearings, they are definitely an asset to the applicant’s case – especially if these lawyers thoroughly understand the military legal system. Military attorneys can help defendants gather witness and evidence, and they are equipped to provide wise counsel and direction. At Military Trial Defenders, we are committed to defending our clients with the support they need to face discharge boards with confidence.