Using a Civilian Military Attorney for a Sexual Assault Charge

Being accused of sexual assault in the military can have life-altering ramifications, which is why anyone in this position should seriously consider hiring a civilian attorney to represent them.

Accusations of sexual assault in the military are becoming more and more common, whether they are substantiated or unsubstantiated allegations. If you are facing court-martial, the military will provide you with an attorney, usually at no cost to you. However, because of the seriousness of the charge, you may want to consider hiring a civilian attorney to handle your case. There are several reasons to proceed with a civilian attorney.

  • You can contact a civilian attorney as soon as allegations are brought against you. A military attorney will not be appointed until you are formally charged. It is important to have representation at the time you are questioned ensuring your rights are protected.
  • A civilian attorney can execute their own investigation. A military attorney might only look at details of the case given to them by the prosecution or authorities. 
  • A military attorney may not have the experience necessary defending your type of case. The military also provides the prosecuting attorney often with more experience than the defense attorney assigned to you.
  • A civilian attorney is not bound by a chain of command or bias that could affect how they represent you. A civilian attorney is not afraid to expose any facts that may be misrepresented or comment on any misconduct on the part of high-ranking personnel in the military.
  • You can still use the attorney provided to you by the military in addition to hiring your own counsel. This allows you to essentially build your own legal team and pool their experience and resources.
  • Accusations of sexual assault can come with life-altering consequences. A civilian attorney will always look out for your best interests and give you advice throughout the court ordeal.

Effects of a Military Court-Martial

If you are convicted of a criminal offense in a military trial, your path in life could change dramatically. Consequences of a guilty verdict include:

  • You will lose your current position in the military and your eligibility for future employment jobs will be limited. Your years in the military are no longer an asset on your resume because of the court-martial. It will be difficult, if not impossible for you to get a security clearance from a civilian employer.
  • You will lose your military housing. In the private sector, this means you will not be able to take advantage of a VA mortgage. Active duty families will lose benefits up to $24,000 each year.
  • Loss of your military retirement. This could be hundreds of thousands of lost retirement dollars depending on your rank in the military.
  • Loss of military medical benefits. Private sector medical premiums can cost thousands each year at the least. Copays and out-of-pocket costs can increase that amount.
  • Any enlistment bonus you received will be forfeited and you will have to pay it back.
  • If the government paid for your military academy education, you will be required to repay that cost, which could be close to $100,000 or even more.

You have too much at stake not to want the best representation possible in your corner protecting your rights and fighting for you. Contact a civilian-military criminal defense attorney in Quantico, VA, such as one from The Federal Practice Group, as soon as you realize you are facing serious charges from the military.