You Need a Military Defense Lawyer on Your Side
The military justice system in the United States can be challenging to navigate when you are accused of an offense that could affect your service, career, salary, and personal life. For this reason, it is essential to have an experienced, skilled attorney representing you. Aaron Meyer is a former marine who understands the difficulties military personnel face and has dedicated his career to defending other soldiers against injustice.
Although individuals at the naval base in San Diego facing disciplinary action are provided with free military lawyers, it is typically beneficial to hire defense lawyers who are civilian military attorneys. If you have found yourself in a situation where you require counsel and representation by a lawyer who knows the military justice system’s intricacies, Aaron Meyer Law is here to help.
Why Do You Need a Civilian Military Attorney?
If you are stationed at the naval base, San Diego military defense lawyers are not hard to find, but why do you need one, and how do you choose? You probably wonder why anyone would pay for a civilian attorney if the government were willing to provide one for free, but the answer is simple. Facing military punishment for various offenses can affect your entire future, not to mention your freedom and current job. With so much at stake, it is essential to have the best criminal defense you can find. Just consider the possibilities of what your punishment could cost you overall, such as:
- Sex offender registration for life
- Repaying the cost of your military academy education
- Loss of, or requirement to repay, your enlistment bonus
- Loss of medical benefits
- Loss of military housing
- Loss of retirement stability
- Loss of future employability
- Loss of current job
With these very real possibilities, it is well worth the cost to hire a civilian military lawyer to provide you with a strong defense strategy. Once an individual has pleaded guilty and received an OTH separation or military conviction, there is essentially nothing they can do to repair their record.
The Issue With Free Attorneys
There are many problems that San Diego military members, and those in other locations, face when they choose to accept the free lawyer they are provided with. For one, an individual typically doesn’t get an attorney until they have been charged. These lawyers have full caseloads and rarely have time to consult with an individual who hasn’t been formally notified that they are being sent to a separation hearing or charged with a crime. This can present serious hurdles for anyone wishing to be proactive in their case. It is always best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible, even if you are not yet “officially” in trouble.
Free lawyers appointed to these cases simply do not have the experience to mount a proper defense in most cases. Many times, they actually have no trial experience, and while that may not seem like a big problem for the most minor offenses, imagine how detrimental that can be in a case such as child pornography or murder. Even charges that fall somewhere in the middle are best handled by a civilian military attorney who knows the system.
Why Civilian Attorneys Are Better
The first advantage of working with a civilian military attorney is that you can hire them at any time, rather than waiting for formal charges. The best strategy any time an individual is arrested or interrogated by investigators is to exercise the right to remain silent and demand to speak with a lawyer. Regardless of how insignificant the case may seem, it is always best for individuals to invoke their rights to ensure that no one takes advantage of them. Hiring a skilled attorney gives a military member peace of mind and helps prevent them from making any mistakes that could make the situation worse; their attorney might even be able to derail the case completely and keep the individual from being charged.
Hiring a civilian military lawyer with a military background is the best way to face the military justice system, and Aaron Meyer Law is the top firm in the area to provide a winning defense. Keep in mind that the government has extensive investigative and financial resources. Unlike the presumption of innocence one expects in a civilian courtroom, the presumption of guilt is common in court-martial scenarios.
A defense attorney with military knowledge is the best weapon one can have in their arsenal when they go up against the chain of command, regardless of whether they are guilty or innocent. Even if a military member fears that they don’t have the financial means to hire a civilian military attorney, they often find that investing in this type of defense is the only way to ensure their future financial security.
One way to look at the situation is that many others have found themselves in the same scenario and found a way to make it work. Most military personnel are working-class individuals with little personal wealth, but there are options to consider. Many individuals opt to take out a second mortgage, sell a car, reach out to family members, or use credit cards to cover their defense costs.
So, How Much Do Military Lawyers Cost?
Since most individuals who find themselves facing punishment for offenses in the military have little experience with hiring lawyers, the question of cost is common. As you might assume, the cost of hiring a civilian military attorney can vary greatly, depending on the details of the case.
Generally, however, hiring a good firm for military criminal defense involves an initial fee of anywhere between $4,000 and $10,000. Trials for serious cases that are more complex may cost as much as $25,000 or more. The critical factor to consider when looking at these prominent figures is the long-term expense of losing a case due to a lack of adequate legal defense.
Besides going to prison, an E-4 could lose as much as $50,000 in benefits and pay if they lose their case. In addition to that, consider the many other losses that military personnel face when they are found guilty:
- Loss of current job. If the individual facing charges is an E-4, for instance, with five years in service, they will lose about $25,000 for just one year. If annual raises for advancement in rank, years in service, and cost of living are considered, this figure grows exponentially. Although one can never place a price on their freedom, it is only necessary to look at a military pay chart to see how much income the individual would lose, based on their rank and years in service. Remember that even spending as much as $25,000 on a lawyer breaks down to about $4.50 per day over the rest of one’s career, if it means winning the case and being able to stay in the military until the 20-year mark.
- Loss of future employment. It is vital for anyone facing military punishment to remember that it is not just their current job at stake but also future prospects. Since most employers conduct background checks before hiring, OTH separation and military convictions show up and create problems. The service one has given to their country means nothing if it is canceled out due to a court-martial. Military service should be a positive component of an individual’s future resume, not a hindrance.
- Loss of enlistment bonus. Depending on the military member’s situation, losing an enlistment bonus or being required to pay it back could equate to anywhere from $4,000 to $80,000.
- Being required to pay back military education costs. Individuals who attended a military academy will often be required to pay back the cost of what the government spent on their education, which can be well over $100,000. Failure to repay these costs may result in being sued by the government and ruining one’s credit.
- Loss of medical benefits. Military medical benefits are a significant factor to consider, as losing them could result in the need to pay as much as $12,000 per year on one’s own.
- Loss of military housing. Many active-duty military members enjoy the benefit of housing that would cost between $12,000 and $24,00 otherwise. One must also consider that if they are found guilty, they may not be able to get a VA loan in the future.
- Loss of retirement security. The cost of this loss varies, depending on the individual, but may be anywhere from several hundred thousand to over a million dollars for a senior NCO.
- Sex offender registration. If a military member loses a case involving a sex offense, they will be required to register as a sex offender. This means the loss of certain job opportunities, potential harassment online and in daily life, being watched by police, and not being able to live near playgrounds and schools, among other difficulties, as well as the negative social stigma that such a conviction would cause.
Rely on the Best Civilian Military Defense Lawyer in the San Diego Area
Whether you are on the naval base in San Diego or located elsewhere in the area, you must seek the finest legal counsel possible if you are accused of offenses for which you are facing military justice. Aaron Meyer Law is equipped with the knowledge and experience to help you go into your hearing with confidence. You will be glad that you decided to call on us to protect your current lifestyle and ensure your future stability.