When you are in the military, being convicted of certain crimes has additional ramifications above and beyond those faced by civilians. Domestic violence and drunk driving in particular have the potential to destroy a military career, making it vital to find an experienced military client attorney.
When a member of the armed services commits a civilian crime, the outcome of the case can potentially result in a dishonorable discharge. If you have been questioned, arrested, or charged with any civilian crime, including DUI, domestic violence, a drug crime, a sex crime or any other offense, it’s essential that you hire a civilian lawyer who has experience in the defense of military personnel, to prevent repercussions that can destroy your life for years to come.
Reported cases of domestic violence in military families, on the decline prior to 2008, have been rising in recent years. Whether this is the result of the stress of years of combat and multiple deployments is open to speculation.
A service person convicted of a domestic violence crime is forbidden by federal law to possess a gun; therefore, the conviction of even a misdemeanor involving domestic violence can result in separation from the military. Even an allegation of domestic violence can have devastating effects on a military career.
A recent Department of Defense study found that service members reported for abuse are 23 percent more likely to be discharged from the military than nonabusers and slightly more likely to have less than dishonorable discharges. Those who stay in the military are often slower to be promoted after reports of domestic violence.
Furthermore, abusive relationships frequently end in divorce, in which case the former spouse is entitled to a share of the convicted service member’s military pension.
Being in the military can be stressful, and members of the service may consume alcohol in order to unwind when off base, creating the potential for a DUI or DWAI charge. If convicted, you will generally lose your driving privileges and may be sentenced to jail time, either of which will interfere with your military duties, bringing negative consequences that go beyond the civilian penalties.
These are some of the actions the military can take in addition to the civilian penalties you’re facing:
Letter of reprimand: A document from your superior officer formally stating that details your wrongful behavior. A letter of reprimand may stand in the way of your receiving a promotion.
Revocation of pass privileges: If you are being charged by civilian authorities, you may be denied permission to go on leave until the proceedings in civilian court are complete.
Required participation in a substance abuse or domestic violence treatment program: Your commanding officer can order you to participate in a substance abuse or domestic violence treatment program offered by the branch of the military in which you’re serving.
Corrective training: Your commander may require additional training to correct deficiencies demonstrated by the behavior that resulted in the charge against you.
Administrative reduction in grade: Your commanding officer may elect to reduce your grade as a result of a criminal conviction.
Bar to re-enlistment: Even if your crime may not warrant immediate discharge from the service, you may be denied the opportunity to re-enlist after your current service is complete.
Criminal defense attorney Steven Rodemer understands that, as a member of the military, you have even more to lose than a civilian who is facing criminal charges. A former prosecutor with an insider’s knowledge of Colorado’s criminal justice system, Steve has the experience, skill, and passion to fight tirelessly for the dismissal or reduction of charges or an acquittal at trial, so you can continue your service to your country without the stigma of a criminal conviction. Call the Rodemer Law Offices in Colorado Springs if you are questioned, arrested, or cited for a crime off base. Do not answer any questions unless you have consulted with Steve and he has instructed you to do so. The initial consultation is free.