Having Great Military Defense Lawyer Is Crucial
If you are accused of a crime in the military, the justice system for such offenses in this country can involve a complicated process that may affect your salary, your career, the good things you have done in service, and your life in general. To ensure the best outcome, it is vital to seek the representation of an adept military lawyer. As a former marine, Aaron Meyer knows the military justice system’s intricacies and has been helping military personnel face charges with confidence for years.
For soldiers at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin attorneys who have the experience to properly address disciplinary action are the best line of defense, compared to the free military attorneys that the government provides. If your circumstances place your future at risk, a civilian military attorney can offer benefits that far outweigh the free option. Aaron Meyer has dedicated his career to helping such individuals face their difficult situations.
Why Civilian Military Attorneys Are Better
When you face charges for an offense in the military, hiring a Fort Irwin military defense attorney can be a difficult decision. Many military members question the reasons for hiring a civilian military attorney when the government is willing to give them one free of charge. When you consider the advantages, though, the answer becomes clear. Military punishment affects more than just the present. It influences one’s freedom, employment, and future. The stakes are high, so the decision to hire a skilled attorney to build a criminal defense should be an easy one to make. Punishment for even minor offenses can influence many factors in one’s life, including:
- Current loss of employment and income
- Future employment opportunities
- Loss of retirement benefits
- Loss of military housing
- Loss of military medical benefits
- Losing or being required to repay one’s enlistment bonus
- Being required to repay military academy costs
- Potential sex offender registration
When you consider the fact that being found guilty of an offense can have such an influence on your future, the cost of hiring a civilian military attorney pales in comparison. No one who has defended and served their country should be burdened with an unfair punishment for an offense. However, once an individual is found guilty, they are punished with a military conviction or an OTH separation. At this point, there is little anyone can do to restore their good record.
Why Not Accept the Free Attorney?
Military members are guaranteed the right to a free attorney if they face charges, but there are issues involved with accepting this help. From the very start, there are concerns because the military member rarely gets an attorney until after they have been charged. It is essential to seek legal counsel even before official charges are filed, but the free lawyers are typically overworked with full caseloads and don’t have the time to discuss legal matters with a military member until they have been officially notified that they are charged with an offense or will be sent to a separation hearing. It is always best to be proactive, even before charges are filed, so seeking counsel immediately is the best course of action.
Another issue with government-appointed free attorneys is that they typically don’t have civilian military attorneys’ experience. Some actually have no trial experience whatsoever. An individual may think that having a legal professional’s advice is better than nothing, which may be true, but with their future on the line, it simply makes more sense to have a lawyer who knows the system and can mount a strong defense.
What Makes a Civilian Military Attorney the Right Choice?
There are many advantages to hiring a civilian military lawyer, but the foremost is that an individual can hire them immediately, at the first hint of potential charges. No matter the circumstances, it is always best for a military member to remain silent and ask for a lawyer if they are being interrogated or arrested. It is easy for an individual to be manipulated and taken advantage of if they are not represented during interrogations. Civilian military attorneys offer their clients protection against doing anything to make matters worse, and that peace of mind alone is well worth the cost. In many cases, an experienced attorney can get charges dropped before the case progresses any further.
Most military members feel most comfortable hiring a civilian military attorney with a military background, and a firm like Aaron Meyer Law provides the winning strategy that those individuals are looking for. Going up against the vast financial and investigative resources of the U.S. government can be a huge undertaking, and many individuals in court-martial situations are presumed guilty from the start.
Whether they are innocent or guilty, an individual facing a potential trial against their commanders typically finds that having a defense lawyer with a military background is essential. The biggest issue most military personnel have with hiring a civilian attorney is that they are afraid they can’t afford the fees. However, when they look at the big picture, they realize that their entire future may depend on investing in a good defense.
Keep in mind that many other military members have faced the same difficult decision, and they developed a plan to cover their costs. It is rare for military personnel to have vast personal wealth, so they must take whatever measures are necessary to ensure a strong legal defense. This may involve selling their car, asking family for help, remortgaging their home, or taking out loans, but in this case, the ends justify the means.
Most People Don’t Know What it Costs to Hire a Civilian Lawyer
Often, military members who find themselves in trouble have little experience with the court system and attorneys and have no idea what it may cost them. Each case’s details determine the cost in the end, but there are some average figures to consider. When an individual chooses to hire a civilian military defense lawyer, an initial fee may range between $4,000 and $10,000. The more complicated and severe the case is, the more it will cost in most situations. Some attorney fees may add up to over $25,000, but this huge sum becomes insignificant when considering the long-term cost of losing their case.
Consider the fact that an E-4 who loses their case may miss out on as much as $50,000 in salary and benefits in addition to going to jail. The total amount one loses could be even greater, though, when you consider the big picture. Keep these factors in mind:
- Current job loss. That same E-4 scenario, with five years of service, for example, may lose a yearly salary of $25,000. There is more at stake, though. Potential raises for years in service, cost of living, and advancement in rank mean that this figure gets much higher. Many consider their freedom alone to be worth the cost of an attorney, but the amount of money they could lose over time truly makes it worthwhile. Winning a military case and reaching 20 years of service in the military diminishes the shock value of a $25,000 lawyer bill, when you consider that it only equals around $4.50 per day throughout that career.
- Future employability. One of the crucial factors to consider when debating whether to hire a civilian lawyer is that future job prospects are on the line, not just the current job. Most employers today do background checks on prospective employees, meaning that military convictions and OTH separation can affect one’s ability to get hired. If an individual is court-martialed, the good they have done in serving their country is nullified. It is important to ensure that military service is an asset and not a liability.
- Enlistment bonus loss. Military punishment typically means that an individual will lose their enlistment bonus or have to pay it back, amounting to costs that can reach as much as $80,000, depending on the circumstances.
- Paying for military education. If a military member has attended a military academy and they are found guilty of certain offenses, they may be required to pay back the government for the cost of their education. This figure may top $100,000 in some situations and can have a detrimental effect on one’s credit.
- Losing military medical benefits. Paying for medical insurance equivalent to that which military members receive can cost an individual as much as $12,000 each year.
- Losing military housing. The housing that the military provides to personnel is one of the most valuable benefits of service. If one loses this housing, paying for the equivalent can cost as much as $24,000. Even future housing is at stake, as those who are found guilty may forfeit their right to get a VA loan.
- Losing retirement benefits. It may be challenging to look into the future as far as retirement, but when one considers that a senior NCO may lose as much as a million dollars in retirement benefits, attorney fees become very insignificant.
- Registering as a sex offender. At times, military members face charges that stem from a sexual offense. If they are found guilty, they will need to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life. This can lead to restrictions on where an individual may live, severe harassment, scrutiny by police, and the inability to get a job. Regardless of the nature of the offense, sex offender registration carries a social stigma that one can never escape.
Build a Winning Defense Strategy
No matter your situation or how severe the potential charges against you are, hiring a winning civilian military defense lawyer is the best way to ensure a successful future. Aaron Meyer Law is the firm with the military background and legal experience to help you face your charges with peace of mind. Reach out to us now to protect your job, your social life, and your entire future.