Do I Really Need a Civilian Military Defense Lawyer?
For many military service members, the first time they face a criminal charge in the military is the first time they have ever been accused of a crime – inside or outside the armed services. Since military criminal matters are often different than those carried out in civilian courts, learning about your legal rights and options from a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in military matters is a must.
When you are charged with a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), you have access to defense counsel, free of charge, through the U.S. Government. You also have the option to contact an experienced civilian military defense attorney. Many service members decide not to work with a civilian lawyer, assuming that the free Government lawyer will be able to give them enough help.
In fact, working with a civilian military criminal defense lawyer and your Government lawyer is often your best option for a vigorous defense. Why?
First, your civilian attorney and your government lawyer can work together. By coordinating their defense in your case, your lawyers can each focus on what they can do best, improving the quality of your defense.
Second, a civilian attorney can provide experience and perspective that your government lawyer may lack. Many government attorneys have been practicing law for only a few years. They may learn fast, but they may also lack key experience. Your civilian attorney can help fill these gaps on your behalf.
Finally, most civilian military defense lawyers have a key resource government lawyers do not: time. When a good defense depends on having the time to question witnesses, gather evidence, and build a case, working with an attorney who has this time can be invaluable to protecting your rights.