Dealing With a Military Investigation
When you join the military, you’ve nobly decided to dedicate some, if not all, of your life to serving a cause that’s larger than yourself. Your military service is an honorable pursuit. But even though you’ve undertaken this duty, you’re still a person who faces unique life circumstances that can present uncomfortable challenges that interrupt your service.
Military investigations can be conducted by your command or by more experienced law enforcement agents in your service, such as CID, OSI, NCIS, and CGIS.
If you’ve recently discovered that you’re under military investigation, you may feel alone, scared, and uncertain. We understand that you’ve been put under a microscope, and our experienced lawyers are here to help you through each phase of the investigation and litigation process.
Being Flagged or Put on Legal Hold
While being investigated by the military, you may be flagged or put on legal hold. This means that you will not be able to be promoted, receive rewards, attend military schools, or possibly even be discharged when your service ends. If you’re put on legal hold, you can’t even retire.
Many times, you’ll be given small menial labor tasks instead of regular duties. You may be forbidden from leaving the base or have other liberties limited.
Being Interrogated During the Investigation
While under investigation, you may be scared and nervous. Always remember, an investigation is just that—someone looking around for evidence. It’s not a conviction. Until further notice, you haven’t been charged with anything.
However, at some point, the investigation team will attempt to approach you for an interrogation. This is often when people first find out they are under investigation. You’ll be escorted by a team of criminal investigators dedicated to your branch of the military and taken to an interrogation room.
Do not make any statements without contacting an attorney. The interrogator may lie and attempt to befriend you. While you are in shock and afraid, you may be tricked into saying things you don’t mean. They can and will use your vulnerability against you—even if you are completely innocent of the crime you’re being accused of committing.
Probable Cause Opine
As the investigation continues, a military attorney, called a Judge Advocate (JA), will make several decisions and advise those conducting the military investigation . The JA will decide if enough evidence has been collected against you to substantiate the allegations under investigation, if more investigation is needed, or if the investigation will be dropped. In the end, the military attorney will give the investigators a legal opinion, or “opine,” about whether the investigation shows that you committed a UCMJ offense.
Disposition after Investigation
If the investigation determines that you have committed an offense in violation of the UCMJ, the military attorney will advise your commanding officers on what kind of action should be taken against you. This may mean no action, counseling, an administrative reprimand, nonjudicial punishment, or even a court-martial.
Get an Attorney Who Understands
When you’re under investigation, you’ll be facing scrutiny on all levels. If you come to realize you are a suspect in a military investigation, continue to perform your duties and conduct your life as best you can. If you make a mistake, develop an attitude problem, or become inconsistent in your duties, the investigation may broaden and your command may use your actions against you in deciding how to handle the alleged offenses. Additional misconduct and accountability concerns may even lead your command to put you in pretrial confinement. Don’t let this happen. Continue to do the best you can while the investigation is underway.
Contact us if you suspect you are under military investigation. Whether you’re looking to get support for yourself, a loved one, child, or spouse, you need an attorney that’s intimately familiar with the military system and how military investigations work. Get an obligation-free consultation today. The sooner you get an experienced attorney, the better you will be able to defend yourself.