Domestic Violence – Career Terminator
A Domestic Violence Conviction Can End a Military Career
Domestic violence is such a common occurrence in the military that the Department of Defense (DOD) has made Domestic Violence an item of specific concern. First Sergeants and Military Police, like their civilian counterparts, despise calls to domestic violence scenes because the “victim” is often unclear, there are rarely any clear-cut solutions, and when there does appear to be a “victim,” more often than not, they will refuse to file a complaint, statement, or even cooperate for a variety of reasons including: “it was a simple argument,” or not wanting to harm their or their spouse’s military career.
Charged with a Domestic Violence?
Don’t let it end your Military Career.
Make sure that you get the right help from a Civilian Military Attorney, in San Diego or Worldwide, built to support your needs. Military Law Center Is Ready to Help You – Right Now. Military Law Center will aggressively advise and defend you – Know Your Military Legal Rights.
Military Law Center Today.
If the Domestic Violence Abuser is a Civilian:
The military has no jurisdiction. In such cases, the military may choose to inform the local civilian authorities. Base commanders have the power to bar civilians from having access to military installations and will often bar an abusive spouse to protect military servicemembers when necessary.
If the Domestic Violence Abuser is a Military Servicemember:
Domestic violence situations are handled on two separate tracks: The military justice system, and the Family Advocacy system. It’s important to realize that these are two separate systems, and not connected. Family advocacy is an identification, intervention, and treatment program — not a punishment system. It is entirely possible that the Family Advocacy Committee will return a finding of “substantiated abuse,” but there will be insufficient legally admissible evidence to allow punishment under the provisions of military justice.
Avoid a Conviction of “Domestic Violence” at all Cost
It is of utmost importance for servicemembers to avoid a conviction that is classified as “Domestic Violence.” If you are an armed servicemember facing an allegation of assault, domestic violence, or both, your military career could be in serious jeopardy. Defending those accused of such charges is very possible, especially domestic violence charges, as these cases are often solely based upon circumstantial evidence. Similar to sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape cases, domestic violence charges are generally: “He Said vs. She Said.” Alcohol is sometimes involved and events can be fuzzy, contradictory, distorted, or exaggerated. Sometimes accusers will have ulterior motives for making or exaggerating circumstances. Often, an outsider or neighbor causes an otherwise innocent argument to become a messy, unnecessary domestic violence case where there was none.
Typical Procedure following a Domestic Violence Call.
- Once taken to the station, the accused is booked, finger-printed, photographed, and may be released that night or the following day.
- A court date is set up. If, weeks later you forget that court date. convicted.
- Show up to court and, to get this behind you, you plead “no contest.” convicted.
- Show up in court and plead “not guilty,” and ask for a trial. The prosecutor winks at you as if “you idiot… we’ll see!”
- Typical end result without legal counsel? convicted.
Every day, both male and female servicemembers are charged with acts of domestic violence. The incidents range from “acts of violence” which include: vocal harassment, yelling, verbal threats, touching, shoving, hitting or kicking. They are often charged as harassment or third degree assault but can be tagged by civilian law enforcement and MP’s as a “domestic violence” incident. That’s all it takes.
“Attorney Barthel recently represented a significant client of mine in a difficult criminal trial in San Diego, California involving allegations of domestic violence. After a three day jury trial, including expert testimony offered by the prosecutor, the jury returned a not guilty verdict. As a fellow trial lawyer, watching Attorney Barthel in Court was tantamount to attending a masters class in trial advocacy. Attorney Barthel was quick on his feet, understood his way around the Court and spoke in plain English making it easy for the jury to warm to the defense. He is an outstanding attorney and a credit to the criminal defense bar.”
Steve Hamann, Shareholder Vedder Price P.C. Chicago, Illinois