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A Civilian Court Martial Defense Lawyer Can Make a World of Difference


You are in a situation unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before, and you are thinking of getting a civilian court martial defense lawyer.  You joined the military for many reasons.  Some that come to your mind are to learn discipline, become a better person, and obtain an education all while serving your country.  You are a good person.  But somehow, you now find yourself facing the unimaginable. 

Someone has accused you of a military crime.  Maybe it’s a civilian who says you sexually assaulted her.  Maybe it’s a fellow serviceman who’s accusing you of conduct unbecoming an officer.  Maybe it is even manslaughter.  Regardless of the actual charge, your head is swimming.  This cannot be happening to you.

But it is.  You are facing a court martial.  A free military attorney has been assigned to your case.  She seems like a nice person, is very pleasant, and seems quite competent.  Still, you find yourself thinking, “should I hire a civilian military defense lawyer?”

Measure What’s at Stake

If your case is simple, and likely to be resolved in your favor quickly, then you might roll the dice and rely on your free attorney appointed by the military.  But if it is your reputation, the loss of your career, the loss of your freedom, or the loss of your life then you might want to give it some serious thought. 

When the stakes are high, you need the very best representation possible.  But how can a civilian court martial defense lawyer help you in ways that your free attorney can’t? 

Possible Pitfalls of Free Military Defense

Getting assigned a free military lawyer is similar to when civilians are assigned to a public defender.  Much like public defenders, military lawyers can be excellent attorneys.  However, by the very nature of their jobs, they may be stretched too thin.  Free lawyers provided by the government are often responsible for very high caseloads.  This results in less time that they can devote to you and your case.  It’s simply math.  It isn’t necessarily their fault.  They are only one person, and there are only 24 hours in each day.  However, if they fall short or drop an important ball because they were busy handling other cases, you will be the one paying the price.

Another possible pitfall is that often, JAG attorneys are young.  And youth is typically the equivalent of limited experience.  If the assigned attorney has not handled your type of case before, or has only done it once or twice, you may want to put your life in the hands of a more experienced civilian military defense lawyer.

Double the Brainpower

And don’t forget that you have a special advantage over civilians charged with crimes.  You can keep both your assigned attorney and the specialist that you hire.  This is a big advantage as two brains are always better than one.  Hiring a court martial defense lawyer means that you can now feel more secure that there are two legal minds on your case, assisting one another, all for your ultimate benefit.