Hiring a Civilian Lawyer During a Court Martial

We here at SQ Attorneys often times get calls from military servicemen who may be facing a court-martial. Dealing with a court-martial, just like a criminal trial for civilians, can be a stressful situation for any military service member. Courts-martial are convened for military-specific charges like desertion, mutiny, or insubordination and crimes such as arson or manslaughter.

If your commander seeks to proceed with a court-martial against you, you can be certain it’s a serious matter. In some instances, the government provides you with a free military defense attorney. This is similar to how public defenders are appointed in civilian courts. So if you have already been appointed a free lawyer, you may ask: “Why should I hire a civilian attorney?”

The answer will depend on many factors, as everyone’s case and situation will vary. In some cases, it may make all the difference in your defense. After all, if the government is trying to take away your freedom or your livelihood, the stakes are very high. With so much on the line, most military members want the best legal defense they can get.

First, it’s worth noting that if you hire a civilian attorney your free military defense attorney can stay on the case. You don’t have to choose between one or the other. The assigned military defense attorney can assist the civilian attorney.

Your military defense attorney most often is perfectly competent to represent you. Perhaps you have a very straight forward case and your assigned lawyer is well versed in those types of cases. Then again, what if your case is particularly complex?

Like public defenders, some military defense lawyers can be spread thin with large caseloads and may not always have the time to fully invest in a case. A military defense attorney may have dozens (or even hundreds) of other cases. Be sure to ask how many cases your attorney is currently handling.

Another important factor in your decision should be a prospective attorney’s experience. What you’re looking for is many years of experience handling your exact type of case. Also, while the military defense attorney assigned to your case may have strong credentials, he or she may also be younger and not as experienced in defending your type of case. Experience can make the difference.

A civilian military lawyer has no chain of command and doesn’t have to toe the line like many military defense attorneys. With that autonomy, civilian lawyers are able to more freely call out high-ranking military lawyers for misconduct without fear of retribution.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.

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