Military attorneys deal with the armed services and any legal issues a member or affiliated party may incur. A military attorney differs from a regular attorney by serving military personnel rather than civilians or non-military individuals. Each branch of the military has its own team of military attorneys, also known as Judge Advocate Generals (JAG). You can become a military attorney in any branch of the armed services. Depending on where a military attorney chooses to serve, a military attorney will become a JAG for that branch. And these JAGs are experts in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which are the specific set of laws that apply to military members.
Since military members are subject to different rules and laws than civilians, having a military attorney assist you with any legal issues is key. For example, in civilian life adultery is frowned upon by not illegal. In the military, adultery is a criminal offense. And if you’re found guilty you can face significant penalties. This is just one example of how civilian law differs from military law. If you’ve been charged with a violation of military law, you need a skilled military attorney to help you navigate the offense. This way, you’ll have a better chance at saving your job, compensation, and other military-related benefits. Here are 7 reasons you should hire a military attorney:
1. Save Your Job
As mentioned above, military law can be complex and have serious consequences including job loss. To protect your position, you’ll need to retain a military attorney as soon as possible. The earlier your secure counsel, the better off you’ll be. Military law violations can have a variety of penalties, but these infractions can also have loopholes and other workarounds just like with civilian laws. A JAG or military attorney who is an expert in understanding and defending you against charges violating the UCMJ is your wisest bet to save your position. It’s important to note that even if you keep your status as a member of the military, you may be subject to demotion or a loss in rank.
Thus, any infractions or violations of the UCMJ need to be taken very seriously. This is not the time to brush off issues and assume your reputation otherwise will protect you. The UCMJ is strict and heavily enforced. Since the military relies on the careful adherence of the rules, any liability is eliminated. This keeps the military safe and prevents issues like mutiny. It’s in your wisest interest to abide by the UCMJ and consult a military attorney before any formal charges are made, if possible. If you need legal assistance you can also find additional legal aid here and you can search for a lawyer here.
2. Save Your Career Prospects
Since job loss is a very real possibility in the military, you’ll want to take every effort to preserve your career prospects. Because the UCMJ is very strict, many members of the military have had slip ups at times throughout their careers. It’s wise to always consult with a military attorney if you think you may have violated the code in any way. This way, you can preserve your career prospects by ensuring any infractions are remedied before the issues become career-ending problems. Lawyers are great at helping you preserve your career prospects and can even assist you with issues of unfairness or injustice in promotions or other military benefits.
3. Save Your Retirement
One of the biggest advantages to being in the military is your retirement benefits. But your retirement could be at stake if you face charges. To save your pension benefits, you need lawyers who understand the rules and regulations in the military. The UCMJ outlines these issues, but there are also federal rules surrounding pensions and criminal charges. To ensure your pension benefits remain untouched, consult with a military attorney who will work diligently to protect your earned assets. Often there are other alternatives forms of punishment or fines that can be used in place of stripping retirement benefits. While avoiding punishment altogether is ideal, protecting your retirement benefits is essential to your future.
4. Save Your Medical Benefits
Another advantage to being in the military is medical benefits. In many cases, all medical benefits are covered for members of the military. Losing your medical benefits can be devastating to you and your family’s health and finances. For those with pre-existing conditions or who need life-saving treatment, not having medical benefits can cost a life. Military attorneys can help ensure your coverage remains available, even if you should lose your position or rank. While it’s not guaranteed, a lot of times military attorneys have success in preserving health benefits because these benefits extend to dependents as well as members of the military.
5. Save Your Housing Benefits
The last thing you want is to lose your home. Since the military provides housing benefits to enlisted members and officers, if you find yourself in legal trouble you may find that your housing benefits are in jeopardy. If you have a family or other dependents, it’s important that you protect your home. Depending on whether you live on base or off-base, the housing benefits rules may be different. Typically, you should receive a cost of living allowance if you live off-base or are removed from on-base housing. However, disciplinary action can strip this benefit from you and your family so consult an attorney.
6. Save Your Enlistment Job Bonuses
If one of the reasons you joined the military or renewed your contract was the enlistment job bonus, it’s critical that you receive the proper compensation. Sometimes things can be promised and not delivered, thus a military attorney is necessary to ensure you receive the full enlistment job bonus you were promised. The issue is bigger than just your enlistment job bonus; it’s important to the growth and stability of the military in general. The military must make good on its promises and advantages to joining for the armed forces to continue to be staffed and trusted. Ensure you get your enlistment job bonus with the help of a military attorney.
7. Save From Paying Back Education Costs
Whether you completed your education prior to joining the military or you went back to school during your enlistment, the military provides benefits like paying for education costs. As a member of the armed forces, you are entitled to reduced loan payments or loan forgiveness, depending on your education and length of service. For some members of the military, education costs are covered 100%. To get the maximum benefit you earned and deserve, work with a military attorney who understand the education system and how the military can help pay for your school. It can make you a better service member and improve your odds of success after you leave or retire from the military.