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Military Law

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FORT HOOD MILITARY LAW

Effective Military Defense requires the most zealous Attorney you are able to find. The consequences of a Military prosecution are equal to, and in many ways greater than, a civilian prosecution. As you likely already know, the Courts Martial have the ability to not only take your freedom, but take hundreds of thousands in retirement benefits from you and your family. If you are being Court Martialed or investigated by the Military, reach out to Attorney Kyle Watkins now to learn more about your case, the law and your rights: 254-444-9920.

What are the possible consequences of a Fort Hood Court Martial conviction?

There are four main components to Military Punishment:

     (1) jail time, (2) discharge, (3) money, and/or (4) rank

The below list is a non-exhaustive list of consequences that fall within the four listed above:

  • Confinement
  • Current job loss
  • Repayment of Military education
  • Repayment of enlistment bonus
  • Loss of medical benefits
  • Loss of housing benefits
  • Loss of future employment opportunities
  • Sex Offender registration (in some cases)
  • Loss of retirement
  • Discharge: OTH, BC & potentially DD

Why should I spend money to hire a civilian Attorney?

If you are going to be Court Martialed, you will be appointed military counsel at Fort Hood. Whomever the Attorney is that is appointed to defend you, she or he will certainly be an excellent lawyer. Simply put, the Military is not in the business of hiring or training bad lawyers. Your appointed lawyer will be intelligent, prepared, well-educated and motivated. The primary reason to look to hire a civilian attorney is experience. While your appointed attorney will have nearly all the qualifications you want in a lawyer, he or she will possibly lack the experience that you need. This is a function of the organizational structure of Military Attorney rotation and training. Military Lawyers are frequently called on to wear many, many hats. This translates to an appointed attorney that may have had little or no trial experience, and if any, little in the delicate role of defending a person accused of a crime. You have too much at stake to do anything but give yourself the best chance for a favorable outcome.

Can a civilian Attorney really be effective in Courts Martial?

Yes. Many Court Martial cases have identical issues as civilian Court trials; for example, think about the fundamental elements of DWI or Sexual Assault (click here to learn more about Courts Martial). A civilian lawyer that regularly handles and tries these types of offenses in Civilian Court will be able to immediately apply what he knows about the evidence involved, and the likely problems with that evidence. Ideally, this results in suppression of evidence, a reduction of charges, or an outright dismissal. Further, aside from the Military procedure, once in trial, the procedure tracks nearly identically to a civilian trial. The way to think of it is, if I were charged with this in a Civilian Court, who would I want to represent me? Learn more.

Do I need a lawyer if it’s just a Military investigation?

Yes. If you are asked to speak with investigators, you need a lawyer. Rarely will a Military personnel be appointed a lawyer before they are formally charged. You may feel that you will upset the Commander, or draw attention to yourself, by demanding to have a lawyer – do not give in to this feeling. Investigators all over the world rely heavily on this urge and hope that they will get a ‘free shot’ at questioning/ interrogating a person accused. You will do much more harm to yourself by not demanding a lawyer and not having a lawyer there with you for any conversations with investigators. At the first sign of trouble you need a lawyer. Whomever the lawyer you find, remember that the answer is YES, IN A MILITARY INVESTIGATION YOU NEED A LAWYER.

If I get charged by the Military, will I also get charged by a civilian Court?

It depends, but probably not. First off, not all Military offenses are also civilian offenses. For example, if you are charged with Missing Movement – there is no civilian equivalent, so there could be no civilian charge. However, if you are charged with DWI on Post, you could be charged with DWI in the Civilian Court in that jurisdiction. Normally, both Courts do not each charge the Military member accused, but they could. Typically, if both are going to charge a Military member, it would occur if the case was particularly ‘high profile’ (eg: double intoxication manslaughter fatality, etc.)

What should I do if I have been charged with DWI at Fort Hood?

You need to consult with the most qualified Civilian DWI Lawyer/ Fort Hood DWI Lawyer / Fort Hood DWI Attorney that you can find. This case will be handled and tried much like a civilian case, and your best bet at a favorable outcome is to find a lawyer with experience in DWI cases. The first step is to learn more. What should I do if I have been charged with Sexual Assault at Fort Hood? The first thing that you need to know is that the Military is going to push harder in these cases than any other type of case. The Army has had such bad press in recent years regarding Sexual Assault that now they are prosecuting anyone and everyone at the drop of a hat. Further, the Military has affected many of the variables that were in place to stop un-merited prosecutions from going forward. As it stands now, even if the Complainant does not want the case to proceed or to have anything to do with the case, the JAG Prosecutors are almost certain to keep going with the case. These cases can have massive life-altering consequences for a Citizen accused. You need to be ready for trial, because unless you are willing to confess to the Judge that you did this and accept the incredible punishments – you are likely going to have to try this case. You need the most effective trial lawyer that you can find. Contact Kyle Watkins right now 254-444-9920.

I came up hot on a drug test, what do I do now?

There are many reasons that a drug test can have a false positive result. Drug testing requires the proper handling of many, many samples and complicated scientific testing on very sensitive equipment. Many things can go wrong, and unless the Government is able to prove that their results have met the rigorous standards that exist, the results are potentially not able to be used against you. Your test result needs to be held to the standards that exist to keep Military members from having to endure the consequences of sloppy lab work. Make sure you find a Fort Hood Drug Lawyer that can thoroughly test the evidence against you. I have been charged with a Fort Hood Computer Crime/ Child Pornography case, what do I do? These cases often are heavily reliant on expert testimony. The experts are attempting to give their ‘opinion’ of what the person in possession of the computer/ device knew (or did not know). While it may seem like a slam dunk case for the Prosecution, it is not. Also, these case may involve the use of a warrant; to learn more about fighting a warrant click here. Further, a vigorous defense can result in a lesser included offense, if the goal of acquittal cannot be reached. A lesser included offense punishment can be less than the offense as charged, and a well prepared Defense Attorney will have a strategy in place to attempt to effectuate the lowest possible sentence in your case. You would be well served to consult with Attorney Kyle Watkins as soon as possible: 254-444-9920.

What is a Fort Hood Article 32?

This is a hearing where the Military Prosecutor has to prove up the case. Military Prosecutors do not like Art. 32 hearings for a variety of reasons: (1) it adds work to an already large caseload (2) it gives your lawyer a free shot at the Prosecution’s witnesses. The result of the Art. 32 is a recommendation by the JAG to the Commander on whether or not to go to trial. Often the Art. 32 can be used by you as a bargaining chip, and a waiver of the Art. 32 can result in a reduced sentence. The Art. 32 is also an excellent opportunity for your lawyer to begin to build your case

– if you have an Art. 32 hearing set, you will be well served to have your lawyer hired and ready to go for that hearing.

What are the potential punishments in a Fort Hood Court Martial?

  • Summary Court Martial: maximum of 30 days
  • Special Court Martial: maximum of 1 year in jail
  • General Court Martial: maximum controlled by UCMJ. (Ex: Possession of Marijuana is a
  • Maximum of 2 years jail, while max. for Murder is life)

What factors influence punishment in a Fort Hood Court Martial?

  • Impact on the Victim/ Victim’s family
  • Impact on the mission
  • Service record
  • Potential of rehabilitation
  • Unofficially, your Attorney’s ability to persuade the decisionmaker

Who decides Punishment in a Court Martial?

The Military member accused gets to choose either Judge or Jury to determine punishment. Often, the Jury is the better choice, but this decision is fact specific and depends on all of the facts and circumstances in your case.

Aggressive Fort Hood Court Martial Defense

Fort Hood Criminal Defense Attorney taking the JAG to task