Military Legal Rights.
Under Military Law – Every member of the military has important legal rights under military law. In fact, in many ways, your legal rights under military law offer you greater protection than civilians enjoy in civilian criminal cases. For example, in the civilian criminal justice system a suspect must be advised of their “Miranda Rights” when they are being detained for interrogation by law enforcement. On the other hand, under military law, a servicemember must be advised of their legal rights at the time of initial questioning, whether detained or not.
F. Lee Bailey, a famous civilian criminal defense attorney, once said if he were accused of a crime he would rather be tried in a military court than in any other system of justice because of the protections afforded the military accused.
Article 31 Rights
Your military legal rights under Article 31 – When a military servicemember is suspected of an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and another military servicemember or military investigator wants to question or interrogate them during an investigation that may lead to charges, the servicemember must be advised of their rights under Article 31. Included in these rights is your right to remain silent (including the consequences of giving any statement), and the right to be informed of the general nature of the offense of which you are suspected.
Your Constitutional Right to Counsel
Your military legal rights include your constitutional right to counsel. Though not detailed in Article 31, you must also be advised of your right to counsel as well. As a servicemember, you are entitled to have defense counsel present during questioning. This is very much like those charged of a crime in the civilian world being offered a “public defender” during an interrogation. The accused servicemember also has the right to have civilian military counsel present during any questioning, at the servicemembers own expense.
Seek Experienced Counsel
As a servicemember your duties and training make huge demands on your time. Throughout your career, you may never have had any reason to think about your military legal rights. Servicemembers with outstanding careers can suddenly find themselves as the subject of an investigation. Without understanding your military legal rights, a servicemember could unintentionally let members of their command or investigators lead them into giving inaccurate and incriminating statements. If you are being investigated for a criminal offense, your military legal rights provide you with a choice. You may choose to invoke “a right to remain silent” and “a right to counsel.”
If you believe you may have committed an offence or if you are the subject of an investigation, it is time for you to seek legal advice from an experienced civilian military attorney. If you are under investigation you should avoid making casual or informal statements to anyone including to members of your command. The best legal protections provided to a US Citizen in the civilian and military legal system is “the right to remain silent and the right counsel”. Make sure that you get the right help from a Civilian Military Attorney, in San Diego or Worldwide, built to support your needs.