4 Questions To Ask a Military Criminal Defense Attorney

4 Ways a military defense attorney can help you

When military members are accused of a crime, the stakes are extremely high. For this reason, it is important for those facing a criminal case to retain the best attorney they can. Here are some questions to ask your lawyer in order to help you determine whether you lawyer will be able to adequately represent you.

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What is your background in military criminal defense?

The body of law that applies to military criminal proceedings, the Uniform Code of Military Justice1 (UCMJ), is significantly different from the law that applies to the civilian population. In many cases, even experienced lawyers who have practiced for years in the civilian world may know little more about the UCMJ other than the fact that it exists. As a result, it is critical to determine whether the lawyer you are considering hiring is familiar with the laws that apply to your criminal case. It is also vital that your attorney understand the military environment in general, but also the unique characteristics and culture of each branch of service. A quality civilian military attorney will have a well-established record of success defending members in every service.

What is your assessment of my options?

As a person accused of a crime, you want to make sure that your lawyer is considering various options that may be available to you. All too often, an attorney immediately thinks of a plea instead of keepin a truly open mind. It’s true that in some criminal cases a pretrial agreement is a legitimate option. However, a good military attorney needs to be eager to do battle and shouldn’t begin your case by raising a white flag. A deal is the last resort. If a plea deal does appear to be the best way to go, your attorney needs to understand and explain not just the terms and consequences of a deal, but also the negotiating strategies that might be used in securing the best possible outcome for you.

Are there any defenses available in my case?

In many criminal cases, there may be various legal or procedural defenses that, if raised, may result in a dismissal of your case, or an acquittal2 in the event that your case goes to trial. By discussing whether there may be plausible defenses available in your case, you can better weigh your options.

What will my legal fees be?

The majority of criminal defense lawyers charge flat rates. Often these fees come due at certain stages of the case. Because of the nature of these cases, most initial fees are due in full before any services begin. An initial fee can vary greatly, running from $2,000 to upward of $10,000. The full cost of services that are given all the way to the end of a court-martial can vary from firm to firm, but the reputable military criminal defense firms are typically within the same general range when it comes to fees. A military attorney should be transparent about the cost of representation and explain the terms fully to during the consultation and in a written agreement. Buyer beware: some firms charge a flat rate but also sneak extra fees into the fine-print of a contract. These extra fees are usually related to the length of the trial. Reputable firms do not increase the fee if the case goes longer than expected.

Contact a civilian military criminal defense lawyer today to discuss your case

Members of the United States military are often facing extremely serious consequences, including the loss of their career, freedom, opportunities in civilian life, and hard-earned benefits. Consequently, it is of the utmost important for any military member facing allegations of criminal misconduct to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. To schedule a consultation with one of our military criminal defense attorneys, call Gagne, Scherer & Associates, LLC today at 877-867-5247 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References:

1 http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ucmj.htm
2 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/acquittal

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