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It is not uncommon for those in the military to know of, or be involved in, a military investigation, as a military attorney Fort Hood offers knows all too well. Few people outside of the military know that the military has a separate and independent court system. The military has its own way of conducting investigations, prosecuting and doling out sentencing, all of which could be very different from the procedures involved in cases in civilian court. Criminal cases involving the military are handled within the system. Cases the military handles include situations involving: 

  • Criminal activities
  • Property destruction and loss
  • Safety concerns and violations
  • Deaths and injuries
  • Anything else the commander deems necessary to conduct an investigation 

Military court cases can be life-altering, and you could face serious consequences. Your rank could be lowered, pay fines, or lose your ability to own firearms. If you are being investigated for a violation done as a service member of the U.S. military, you need to take action. Whether you are being court-martialed or are suspected of wrongdoing, a military attorney can give you the urgent counsel that you need. 

Because of how the military court system works, it is important to understand your rights if you are in the military and facing charges that will be tried in a military court. You may be appointed a military defense attorney to inform you of your rights during the case. However, you should think about consulting with a Texas civilian military attorney in Fort Hood that has experience in military law. As experienced attorneys, they have a strong understanding of military law and have achieved successful outcomes for their clients. They will be able to educate you about your rights and inform you about legal strategies that may help bolster the strength of your case.  If you are being investigated by the military, you have the right to challenge the findings by stating they were not consistent with the evidence presented, the evidence was not all accounted for or even that there was bias practiced by the investigator. If you suspect them of coming to false conclusions or misconduct, you can rely on a trusted lawyer to help build your case. A lawyer with particular experience helping U.s. service members have the experience to prepare the strongest case for you so that you can avoid the worst consequences. 

Each area of the armed services goes through a specific service that specializes in criminal investigations. 

  • The Army and the Marines use the Criminal Investigation Command (CID)
  • The Air Force uses the Office of Special Investigations (OSI)
  • The Navy uses the Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS)
  • The Coast Guard uses the Coast Guard Investigative Services (CGIS) 

What are the Different Types of Military Investigations? 

There are specific circumstances where a military investigation will automatically be triggered, as a military attorney in Fort Hood can explain. These events include suicides and deaths as a result of friendly fire or hostile fire. Some types of military investigations are explained below. 

Property Damage and Loss Investigations 

These types of investigations are often referred to in the army as ‘Financial Liability Investigations of Property Loss’. The purpose of the investigation is to: 

  • Property record adjustment
  • Investigate and determine liability or remove liability
  • Record the details concerning the destruction, loss, or damage to government property

The intent of these investigations is not to administer punishment, only for accountability to property, but the commander still can apply administrative consequences after reviewing the findings of the investigation. If a service member is found to have deliberately damaged, destroyed or lost property, then they may suffer the consequences and penalties that the commander deems appropriate for the violation. 

Criminal Investigations 

The Rule of Court Martial 303 requires a commander to begin an inquiry should they hear that someone in their unit is suspected or being accused of committing a criminal offense. Any criminal offense committed by a serving member is taken seriously. Depending upon the charge, these investigations, while informal, can be lengthy based on the accusations. A thorough investigation of each cause will be conducted. The investigators are looking for proof or evidence of the following: 

  • Mitigating or extenuating circumstances
  • Aggravation
  • Innocence or guilt 

Investigations Surrounding an Illness, Injury or Death 

Military members that are injured, sick, or die while in service are subject to a Line of Duty (LOD) investigation, as a Fort Hood military defense attorney can explain. The findings of this investigation will decide whether or not the injury was obtained in the line of duty. If so, the Veteran’s Administration offers compensation or other benefits. The investigation by the LOD looks at two factors: 

  • What was the status of the service member at the time of the incident?
  • Was the incident caused by any misconduct on the part of the service member? 

Contact a Military Attorney from Fort Hood 

When you turn to a seasoned military attorney to protect your rights, you greatly increase your chances of getting a positive case outcome. No matter what charge you are facing, you deserve to have the best possible legal representation. If you’re facing a military investigation, it’s often in your best interest to contact a military attorney in Fort Hood from The Federal Practice Group today.

FAQ: The Military Is Giving Me a Lawyer. Why Do I Need a Civilian Fort Hood military attorney?

Just because the military is providing you with a lawyer doesn’t mean you should take them up on the offer. You should make sure you explore your options. You may be able to obtain the help of a lawyer who has handled cases that have similarities to yours. A military attorney that you hire will have your best interests in mind and seek to prepare the best defense for you. Before accepting the military’s offer, explore your full legal options to ensure that you have the right representation. 

Why do I need a civilian Fort Hood military attorney?

You certainly have the right to accept the attorney the military provides you. It won’t cost you a thing. But remember the old saying: you get what you pay for? 

Your reputation, your career, and your freedom could be on the line. You owe it to yourself to at least explore the options available to you. When you are facing the military court, you do not want to just sit idly by and accept any offer that comes your way. The attorney that the military provides you with may be working on other cases, or they might have limited time to work on yours. You are not obligated to stick with the lawyer that the military offers you. You can choose to hire an external attorney who has experience representing clients and has a thorough understanding of military law. 

Will my military-appointed attorney be experienced?

Probably not as much as The Federal Practice Group. Few military defense attorneys have the experience we do. Certainly, a new lawyer in the military won’t be as experienced as us. They won’t have the litigation experience nor will they have the experience your specific case requires. Each Fort Hood military attorney from our firm does and we’re ready to help.

What questions should I ask my military-appointed lawyer?

You probably have many questions that you are eager to ask a military attorney about their experience, how they will handle your particular case, and what to expect throughout the process. However, you may not know where to begin. You are welcome to ask the lawyer any questions that may be of concern or interest to you. By all means, discuss things with your military-appointed lawyer. But make sure you’re asking them these questions:

  • How long have they been in the military?
  • How long have they been a lawyer?
  • How many trials have they won?
  • What cases have they tried that are like yours?

It’s important to ask questions like these to make sure you can gauge your military-appointed lawyer’s experience. Gain as much information as possible to build your understanding of the case and be prepared as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable or confident in their ability to successfully defend you, The Federal Practice Group is ready to take your call.

What should I be on the lookout for?

As you’re no doubt aware, the military justice system is different than the civilian justice system in this country. You want to look for a Fort Hood military attorney with extensive military trial experience. You want someone who understands military life and what is at stake for you. 

You also want a Fort Hood military attorney that focuses only in government law. At The Federal Practice Group, our time, our focus, and our energy are put into our clients’ cases and making sure we’re constantly up to date on any changes in the law. We do all of this to benefit you.

How much will this cost?

It depends on the charges you face and the case the military is trying to make against you. The stronger their case and the more evidence they have, the longer it will take us.

But it also depends on when you hire us to represent you. The longer you wait, the more expensive it may become. When we meet with clients, we can’t impress strongly enough upon them that time is of the essence. We need to get to work today because the military has already been building a case against you for some time.

In order to combat that, your Fort Hood military attorney will meet with you to collect your information and then conduct our own investigation. We do this so we can know your case as well as you and better than the military lawyer.

Why You May Want a Civilian Military Lawyer

When you are dealing with criminal charges and the military provides you with an attorney, you may think you got a great deal: not only do you get an attorney but you can get one free of charge. There may be nothing wrong with the attorney you were offered. However, many times, a military-provided attorney is not going to be able to offer your case the time and attention it needs no matter how good the attorney’s intentions. Often, military attorneys are working on many cases at once. Think about this. When you go to hire an attorney, you will be looking for someone with a light caseload. You want to know that the attorney you work with will be giving your case the time for all the necessary research, investigation, and finding expert witnesses if necessary. 

What could happen if you do not have the right lawyer by your side? 

There are many things at risk when you are being charged with a crime by the government. You could lose: 

  • Your retirement funds
  • The money the government put forward to pay for your education
  • The opportunity for future employment
  • Your current job
  • Your medical benefits and military housing benefits
  • Your freedom

Our clients have faithfully served this country and we want to make sure you know that we will be there to defend you. It is paramount that you understand what the costs are of having an attorney who is incapable of representing you to the best of their ability. 

When should you start working with a civilian military attorney? 

The best time to start working with us is at the first sign of trouble. If you are arrested, you may be told that if you comply this will help your case. Or, the arresting officers may state that they just want to talk or hear your side of the story. This is said to make you feel more comfortable and make it seem as if they are on your side. However, you have the right to ask for an attorney and not say anything else. 

Why work with us? 

We want to help even the playing field. The government has resources that most people could not imagine and we want to help you get a defense team that could make a difference. We will be there to help you go against the military justice system if you are ready to fight. 

Military vs. Civilian Law: How it Affects You

When members of the Armed Services find themselves dealing with legal issues — whether they be criminal or something that would be considered a civil matter in the civilian world — they go through processes that are unique to the military justice system.  Although the Judge Advocate General’s Office will appoint a military defense attorney for you, it is also a good idea to have representation from a military attorney in Fort Hood from the Federal Practice Group.  

3 Myths About Military Court and Law

Though you’ve bravely served as a US military service member, there is no doubt that you may be apprehensive or anxious about a case or investigation the military has against you. No one wants to find themselves at the wrong end of a military investigation, but as any military attorney in Fort Hood from the Federal Practice Group may tell you, knowledge is power and preparation is key. The following are three myths you may believe to be true about the military court and code of law.

1. Military court Is the same As Civilian Court

The truth is, military court operates on an entirely different code of laws than civilian court. The court proceedings are different, and so are your rights as a defendant.
Your military attorney in Fort Hood can go over all of the procedures that pertain to your case as well as answer all of your specific questions. The experienced attorneys at Federal Practice Group regularly work with cases involving each branch of the military, so your case is likely not as unusual or daunting as it may seem to you.

2. You Have to Use the Military’s Appointed Attorney

As an American citizen, you have the right to your own attorney even if you are being tried or investigated in military court. Of course, if you do not choose your own military attorney in Fort Hood, the military will appoint one to your case. However, that should not be your first choice, and it is certainly not your only option.

If you hire your own attorney, the likelihood of winning your case or at least recouping some of your losses is much higher than if you use the lawyer appointed to you. A military appointed lawyer may be less experienced and may have a more demanding caseload than any private attorney of your choice, making it much more difficult for him or her to concentrate on your case.

3. Your Military Benefits Can Never Be Taken away 

If you volunteered to go into the military for such benefits as free housing, college tuition, and other financial security, you might be shocked to know that you can be stripped of those benefits pending a case in military court. For instance, if you are court-martialed or if you are found guilty of disobeying your superior to the detriment of others, you may lose your benefits as well as your appointment.
the loss of military benefits can seriously harm your ability to pursue future professional opportunities or to be able to provide for yourself and your family. However, your attorneys at the Federal Practice Group can help you secure some of those benefits with a winning strategy and lesser-known work-arounds.

Here are some good reasons to have civilian counsel.

1. You Have Fewer Rights

One thing that happens when a person enlists is that they agree to give up many rights that civilians take for granted. Military law (not to be confused with martial law) is based on a different code, designed for maintaining discipline in a military organization. 

2. A Court-Martial is Unlike A Civilian Court Proceeding

Whereas civilian courts handle a wide range of cases both civil and criminal, a court-martial deals with only the most serious cases. One thing is the same, however: a serviceman or woman convicted in a court martial has the right to appeal the verdict. A military attorney in Fort Hood can assist in preparing an appeal.

3. The JAG Corps

The office of the Judge Advocate General usually handles legal matters involving service personnel.  These lawyers are unique to military institution and are all commissioned officers. They do have a background similar to civilian lawyers and generally graduate from the same law schools, however. Nonetheless, when a law school graduate enlists, he or she must complete training specific to the Military Code of Justice.

4. The Appeals Process

In the civilian world, a person who is convicted of a crime or found liable in a lawsuit can appeal the verdict to a higher court. In theory, an appeal could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, though in practice, very few cases get that far. 

In the military, appeals go up the chain of command. Every branch of the service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard) has its own Court of Appeal. A military attorney in Fort Hood can advise and assist in preparing your appeal.

If you find yourself accused of wrongdoing, you do have the same right to counsel as a civilian. However, it is a good idea to get outside advice from an attorney at Federal Practice Group as well.

What Should I Look For When Hiring A Civilian Military Defense Attorney?

For military servicemen and women in need of legal defense, depending on military-appointed lawyers can be challenging. You may feel that you have little control over the outcome of your case if you do not have a private defense lawyer, and hiring a civilian attorney might be the right path for you. When looking to hire a civilian lawyer to handle your military case, consider their availability, experience with military law and case success rate.

Availability

Lawyers appointed by the military may be dealing with multiple cases at the same time as yours and may not be available for much consultation. When you work with a Fort Hood military attorney at the Federal Practice Group, you will have more control over the contact with that person, making it easier for you to communicate any questions or concerns about new developments in your case. Being able to reach your attorney at your convenience can help relieve a lot of the strain that traditionally accompanies working with a military lawyer.

Experience With Military Law

Civilian law and military law do have some degree of crossover; however, military law is truly a separate entity in itself. A civilian lawyer with no military law experience may have to do extensive research to learn about military codes and procedures. Therefore, finding someone who is already familiar with military law can be quite advantageous to your case. As noted above, the Fort Hood military attorneys at the Federal Practice Group have military backgrounds themselves and are already familiar with military processes in court cases.

Case Success Rate

When dealing with a military law case, you will want a lawyer with a good track record. This means finding someone who consistently shows high levels of performance in their field. Look for the rate of winning cases that the lawyer has dealt with versus the number of unfavorable outcome cases. This can help you get a better idea of the right attorney for your situation. Also, research lawyers who have dealt with your specific branch of the military and see if any have dealt with cases similar to your own.

Finding a lawyer that you feel comfortable with is a major part of defending yourself in court. When you have a lawyer in whom you can place confidence, you will be more confident in the outcome of the proceedings. If you are a member of the Armed Forces needing legal defense, consider working with the experienced Washington DC legal team at the Federal Practice Group. Our Fort Hood military attorney team is fully qualified to represent you as successfully as is possible given the unique nuances of your situation.

6 Things To Know About Military Law

If you are a service member, military spouse, dependent or retiree it is important to have a basic understanding of military law. These are some things you should know about military law.

1. Military Law Is Based on Three Documents

Military law is based on the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Any military attorney in Fort Hood you work with should be familiar with this code. The code applies to all branches of the military. In addition to the code, military law is governed by the Military Rules of Evidence and the Rules for Courts-Martial.

2. Not All Military Law Breaking Results in Court Martial

Many violations of military law are punishable by non-judicial means. This provides military commanders with the freedom to deal with some legal issues outside of the court.

3. Military Law Serves Multiple Purposes

Military law defines all the offenses that military members can be punished for under the UCMJ. It also states the options and recourse that soldiers, commanders, Airmen, Coast Guard members and Marines have under military law. Military law can be complex, so if you are facing discipline, you may want to hire a military attorney in Fort Hood. 

4. Military Law Also Deals With Overseas Assignments

The United States military negotiates military laws with host nations that apply while military members are serving overseas. These negotiations usually result in the creation of a document called the Status of Forces Agreement. In most cases, the U.S. government retains control, but some cases may be turned over to the judicial system of the host country.

5. Military Law Does Not Apply To Dependents

The military can not prosecute civilians who are not under its jurisdiction, so laws in the UCMJ that apply to military members do not apply to dependents. However, there can still be consequences for rule-breaking, such as banning dependents from the base. If your family member has run afoul of military law, it may be helpful to consult with an attorney at The Federal Practice Group to discuss your options.

6. Resources Exist To Help You

The Legal Assistance Office can not provide you with representation, but it can help you with some legal issues, such as estate planning, or dealing with minor offenses, such as traffic tickets. The Department of Justice Servicemember’s Rights Center is another resource for help with exercising your legal rights. The Federal Practice Group can provide you with a free no-obligation consultation with an experienced military attorney if you need assistance.

Contact The Federal Practice Group

Contact The Federal Practice Group today for your free no-obligation consultation with an experienced military attorney Fort Hood service members trust; we look forward to working with you.