In the event that you’re arrested for any crime whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, this can be an overwhelming experience and one that requires the insight of a knowledgeable attorney. However, the purpose of getting an experienced attorney becomes all the more important when you have been arrested for a crime and you are a current member of the United States Military. There are unique implications for your career and opportunities moving forward so you should always consult with a experienced military criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
You can make your case worse by failing to hire an Jacksonville criminal defense attorney who has experience in handling these situations. Being arrested as any kind of a military affiliate including a sailor, airman or soldier is quite different from being arrested as a civilian. As a member of the U.S. Armed Forces you are subject to higher expectations in your personal and your professional conduct.
If you are arrested as an enlisted person or while you are carrying out a term as an officer in the United States military, what happens to you could be different from a civilian facing the same charges in multiple ways. There are serious consequences for anyone who is arrested and convicted of a crime but these may be more severe for military service members.
Get the Right Legal Advice
You do have access to the legal assistance office. If the typical civilian legal fees might be challenging for you, you may qualify for help. The majority of single soldiers who are classified as E-3 or below or married soldiers E-4 or below could meet these requirements. The legal assistance office may also give you some preliminary legal advice.
However, it may be a good idea to get someone outside of the situation entirely to provide you with advice and next steps. An experienced attorney who has helped individuals in the military before is strongly recommended in this situation.
What You Need to Know About Postponing Court Appearances
Military commitments can make it very challenging to attend court dates. A judge may not grant you a delay for convenience matters but if your military service makes you unable to appear in court, he or she may be willing to alter the court date. In this case however, you should always think about the shortest delay possible.
What You Can Expect in Terms of Consequences
The consequences for someone who has been arrested for a crime while serving in the military can be much more serious than a civilian in the same situation. A civilian will not have to comply with the high expectations that the military has for day to day appearances and conduct. One of the first things that you can expect is a potential reduction in rank. If you are sentenced to a year or longer in prison, your rank will be reduced.
Any person who is sentenced to 30 days or longer in jail but less than a year could be dropped one or more pay grades and you may also be denied promotions as a result of criminal matters outside of the armed forces. Furthermore, you may lose your security clearance. Someone who is considered an unnecessary risk may lose their previous security clearance and criminal activity is one of the leading reasons for losing clearance. Alcohol or drug abuse can also be considered grounds for revoking or suspending your clearance.
Misconduct could even lead to separation from the military. If the charges are serious, you may lose your military affiliation at all. This is true especially if your arrest is a pattern of behavior that is considered problematic.
While you might still be able to retain some military benefits, you could lose access to your educational help under the GI Bill and you could lose veterans’ benefits like healthcare and pension rights.
Get Help from Criminal Defense Attorney Today
As you can see, it is so important to reach out to an experienced attorney if you have been accused of a crime and you’re also serving in the United States military. There are many different things that you need to do to protect yourself and a knowledgeable lawyer can help you figure out your next steps.
Since your very rights could be on the line in this situation, you should never hesitate to reach out to someone who has extensive experience representing military service members and figuring out the most appropriate strategy for defense.