Did you know?
A military defense attorney cannot:
Represent you in a civilian court for criminal or civil matters.
Provide advice to anyone who is not active duty, retired, or reserve recalled to active duty.
Walk In Hours:
General advice and NJP counseling are offered on Tuesday and Thursday of each week to those who arrive at the Joint Law Center between 0730 and 0830 on a first come first serve basis. Any exceptions to this rule will be addressed individually by an available defense counsel. Commands and/or service members should feel free to contact the defense clerk in order to request alternative meeting times based on the availability and scheduling of defense counsel.
Walk in advice may consist of, but is not limited to:
1) NJP counseling. Please ensure that statements, documents, evidence that support the proposed NJP, and the proposed Unit Punishment Book entry are ready for the attorney to view at the counseling. Failure to do so may result in the service member having to return to receive more advice on a follow-up visit.
2) Advice regarding administrative separations. Please bring a copy of any paperwork that is relevant.
3) General advice for anyone who is the subject of an investigation or may be the subject of an investigation or criminal proceeding.
4) Advice regarding a Board of Correction of Naval Records (BCNR) proposed correction.
5) Advice when you are facing a Summary Court Martial.
6) Advice when you have or expect to receive an adverse fitness report.
Military Justice System
Members of the armed forces are governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), a statute enacted by Congress which amounts to the military criminal code. The UCMJ applies to service members' activities whether or not they are on a military installation and whether or not these activities are military related. Military trials are known as courts-martial, with juries made up of military members. Accused military members have the right to an attorney (civilian or military), and court-martial rulings can be appealed to a Court of Criminal Appeals or the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, the military's highest court. For incidents that occur off military property, the civilian or military court may exercise jurisdiction over the offense.
Article 31 (b) of the UCMJ prohibits compulsory self-incrimination. Specifically, no person acting on behalf of the military may interrogate, or request any statement from a person suspected of an offense without first informing him or her of the nature of the accusation, that he or she has the right to not make a statement, to consult with an attorney, and to stop questioning at any time.
It is very important to keep in mind that any statement you choose to make can later be used against you, whether or not you directly admit to wrongdoing.
Also, keep in mind that even if you initially agree to answer questions, you have the right to stop the interview at any time. The quickest way to stop an interview is to say that you wish to speak to an attorney.
Yes, information you give your defense attorney, his or her colleagues, and defense assistants (including clerical staff) to help him or her represent you is legally privileged information. This means that your lawyer cannot and will not reveal things you tell him or her in confidence except to help solve your legal problem. No court can force him or her to reveal information.
There are some exceptions to the defense attorney-client privilege. The circumstances are varied, but basically they fall into two categories. They are as follows:
1) If your lawyer has information that shows that you plan to commit a criminal act, especially if the crime will cause someone bodily harm, he or she may take steps to protect the intended victim. The exception applies only if your lawyer concludes that you are going to commit a crime in the future. If you go to a criminal defense lawyer for a crime you have already committed in the past, the exception does not apply and the laywer cannot reveal your confession.
2) The other exception is if you and your lawyer get into a dispute about whether he or she did a good job. In that case, the lawyer may be able to use your confidential or privileged information to defend himself or herself.
General Legal Tips
A. Not all military attorneys can have a confidential relationship with a service member. Ask any attorney if you have that confidential relationship with him or her before discussing any potentially criminal matters.
B. Command Legal Officers in the Marine Corps and Navy are not attorneys and work for the Commander, not you - - anything you say to them may be used against you.
C. Anything you say to military doctors and psychologists may be used against you.
D. Before disclosing any potentially incriminating information to a military chaplain, ask if you have a confidential relationship with him or her.