Military Investigation: Your Ultimate Guide
Table of Contents
Overview of Military Investigations
Military investigations can be extremely stressful for service members and their families. These investigations may last for weeks, months, or even over a year, potentially leading to adverse actions, administrative separations, boards of inquiry (BOI), or courts-martial. The risks involved are significant, including the loss of rank or pay, loss of military career and benefits, loss of military retirement, and, in criminal cases, potential incarceration and punitive discharge.
Understanding the military investigation process is crucial for service members. Being prepared and informed on what to expect can make all the difference in successfully navigating these challenging situations. Securing the help of an experienced military defense attorney early on is not only wise but essential for ensuring the best possible outcome.
Why Choose Military Law?
At Military Law, our team comprises highly experienced military trial attorneys who have served as both senior prosecutors and senior defense counsel on active duty in the U.S. military. We have trained, supervised, and taught numerous military attorneys in the area of military justice. Our firm has advised on thousands of UCMJ actions, and our in-house investigator has a background in training and supervising investigators performing security clearance investigations at embassies and consulates worldwide.
Selecting Military Law as your defense counsel provides you with unique value propositions that set us apart from other law firms:
- Expertise in military justice, honed through years of experience in senior roles.
- Access to a highly trained, in-house investigator.
- A team dedicated to fighting for your best result at every step of the process.
One important factor to consider when choosing your defense counsel is the experience and skill of the attorneys assigned to your case. Appointed military defense attorneys are often junior and inexperienced, which can significantly impact the outcome of your case. At Military Law, our seasoned team will be by your side, providing the expertise and dedication your case requires.
The Military Investigation
A military investigation typically begins with a report of suspected misconduct, which may originate from a variety of sources. Once reported, the chain of command will generally initiate a preliminary inquiry to determine if there is sufficient basis to continue an investigation.
Depending on the circumstances, a formal investigation may be opened by a military criminal investigative organization (MCIO) like NCIS, CID, or OSI, or by a unit commander using a command-appointed investigator. In either case, the investigation will seek to collect evidence and interview witnesses to determine if there is sufficient evidence to support a finding of misconduct.
Upon completion, the investigation results may be forwarded to the commander for action or, in more serious cases, to a higher authority within the chain of command. The commander may then decide whether to take administrative or disciplinary action, such as nonjudicial punishment (NJP) or court-martial.
Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- What are my rights during a military investigation? You have the right to remain silent, the right to consult with an attorney, and the right to have an attorney present during questioning.
- Do I have to cooperate with the investigation? While you may be required to provide certain information, you are not obligated to incriminate yourself. Consult with an attorney to understand your rights.
- Can I be punished for not cooperating with an investigation? You may be charged with obstruction of justice if you actively interfere with the investigation, but you cannot be punished for invoking your right to remain silent or your right to an attorney.
- What types of actions can result from a military investigation? An investigation may lead to administrative actions, nonjudicial punishment, or court-martial, depending on the severity of the alleged misconduct.
- How long do military investigations usually last? The duration of an investigation can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case and the resources available to the investigators. It may take weeks, months, or even longer.
Top 5 Myths and Realities
- Myth: Military investigations are always unbiased and objective. Reality: While most investigations aim to be impartial, biases can still impact the outcome. It’s crucial to have an experienced defense attorney advocating for your interests.
- Myth: If I cooperate fully with the investigation, I’ll be treated fairly. Reality: Even if you are cooperative, it’s vital to protect your rights and ensure your interests are represented by an attorney.
- Myth: I don’t need an attorney if I haven’t done anything wrong. Reality: Innocent people can still be accused of misconduct. Having an attorney can help protect your rights and ensure a fair outcome.
- Myth: Appointed military defense attorneys are just as effective as civilian defense attorneys. Reality: Appointed military attorneys often lack the experience and resources of civilian attorneys, which can significantly impact the outcome of your case.
- Myth: I can’t afford a civilian attorney. Reality: The potential consequences of not having an experienced attorney can far outweigh the costs.
Stages of a Military Investigation
- Preliminary Inquiry: The chain of command initiates an inquiry to determine if there is sufficient basis for an investigation.
- Formal Investigation: A military criminal investigative organization (MCIO) or command-appointed investigator collects evidence and interviews witnesses.
- Findings and Recommendations: The investigator submits a report with findings and recommendations for action to the commander.
- Commander’s Decision: The commander may decide to take administrative or disciplinary action, such as nonjudicial punishment or court-martial.
Top 5 Tips for Surviving a Military Investigation
- Consult with an experienced military defense attorney as soon as possible.
- Understand your rights and exercise them when necessary.
- Do not discuss the investigation or your case with anyone other than your attorney.
- Stay organized and keep detailed records of all relevant documents and communications.
- Follow your attorney’s advice and maintain open lines of communication with them.
Choosing the Right Military Defense Attorney
When facing a military investigation, it’s crucial to choose a defense attorney with extensive experience in military law and a track record of success. At Military Law, our team of skilled attorneys will work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Get Help Now!
If you or a loved one is facing a military investigation, don’t wait to seek help. Contact Military Law today for a free consultation and let our experienced team guide you through this challenging process. Visit our contact page to get started.