Can I use a JAG Attorney and a Civilian Attorney?

A court-martial is the military equivalent of a criminal trial for non-military people. It is a very serious matter to be on trial for court-marshall. If you are in the military, you can be faced with court-marshall proceedings for several reasons, including:

  • Insubordination
  • Desertion
  • Mutiny
  • Manslaughter
  • Sexual assault
  • Arson

The consequences of being convicted with a court-martial can affect the rest of your life. Typically, the military will appoint a military defense attorney at no charge. This can be compared to being assigned a public defender in the private sector. That being said, if you are appointed an attorney for free, is there a need for a civilian attorney?

With the consequences being so high if you are found guilty, wouldn’t you want the best possible legal defense on your side?  

You Can Still Retain the Military Attorney

Even if you choose to hire your own defense attorney, you can still keep the military defense attorney. One will assist the other and work to help represent your case in military court.

There are advantages of hiring a civilian military attorney as opposed to just using the attorney appointed to you by the government. A military defense attorney is usually given several cases at once and may not have the available time to properly investigate and present your case. It is important to ask the military attorney assigned to you how many cases they are handling at one time. 

It is also important to know how many years of experience your military-appointed defense attorney has and how many cases they have successfully defended. 

Advantages of Hiring a Civilian Military Attorney

A civilian attorney will not come for free; however, given the severity of the charges, is it not important to invest in the attorney that will provide the best defense possible for your case? 

There is no chain of command for a civilian military attorney. They are not intimidated by any military superiors and do not have to fear any retribution in their dealings with military prosecutors. 

A civilian military attorney generally has several years of experience dealing with military defense cases. If you decide to hire a civilian attorney, your case will be personally addressed and not be one of several cases being handled. 

How to Find a Civilian Attorney and What Questions to Ask Before Selecting Someone You Trust to Handle Your Case

Checking with your area bar association for attorneys with specific experience in military cases is a good place to start. Check referrals from friends or other attorneys. Once you are ready to speak with attorneys, you should be prepared with questions to determine if they are a good fit for you and your specific case. Some questions to ask may be:

  • Does the initial consultation cost anything?
  • How do you charge for these types of cases?
  • How many successful cases like mine have you handled?
  • How much of your practice is specifically geared toward cases like mine?
  • Are you familiar with any of the prosecuting attorneys or local judges?
  • Am I required to give you a retainer up front? If so, how much?

Once you receive satisfactory answers to all your questions, select a civilian military appellate attorney in Quantico, VA you feel comfortable will best represent you in court, such as one from The Federal Practice Group

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