Facing criminal charges in the military is somewhat like fighting an uphill battle. The military justice system is rigorous and challenging to navigate. Current statistics show that military trials have a conviction rate of almost 90 percent. Because of this, service members who face courts-martial need to work with the best military defense lawyer they can track down. The decisions that a military member makes in the early stages of investigation can make or break a trial, and the accused have to make countless decisions before the trial even begins.
Making a Statement
Military personnel who are accused of a crime will need to decide whether or not to give a statement to questioners. Article 31 of the UCMJ offers military personnel protection against self-incrimination. This means that a questioner who suspects a military member of committing an offense must offer a warning of rights before any questioning takes place. Article 31 also delineates the right to counsel. Wise legal counsel is a key element in a successful case.
In most instances, it is recommended that the accused should never give a statement before talking to an experienced military defense lawyer. It may seem easier to comply with questioners. Authority figures will do their best to convince the accused that their cooperation will ultimately be in their best interest. It is important to remember Article 31, however. If military members evoke their Article 31 rights, it cannot be used against them. It might make the accused look guilty, but the military already thinks they are guilty. It is in the best interest of the accused to remain silent until creating a solid defense strategy with a military defense lawyer.
Consent for Searching
The accused often face the decision of whether or not to let law enforcement search their car or barracks. In most cases, they should not give consent. As U.S. citizens, military personnel have rights under the 4th Amendment to be protected against unreasonable search and seizure. If law enforcement does not have consent or a warrant, the evidence that is found cannot be used against the accused.
If military members refuse a search that doesn’t have a warrant attached, they will likely have a refusal form. Before signing, they should read through the form carefully to ensure that they know what they are signing. A military defense lawyer can help go over these forms in detail.
A Military Defense Lawyer You Can Trust
If you have been accused of a crime under the UCMJ, the most important decision that you will make is hiring an experienced and trustworthy military defense lawyer. At Military Trial Defenders, we are committed to educating our clients. With this knowledge, they can make the best possible decisions. We defend those who defend our country. We are available to provide you with legal support during this time. With this in mind, contact us today for a free consultation.