Riverside, CA asked in Criminal Law and Military Law for California

Q: I am being accused of sexual assault in the Navy. I am currently being investigated and may face a court martial.

Should I retain a civilian military attorney to assist me at this point in time? I do not know if I will be charged with a court martial, but these charges were filed over a year ago and they claim they have been investigating ever since. Recently they told me that I was being officially investigated by a PI for the Navy who would then advise my commander of his findings. My commander will then decide whether or not to court martial me. They have already placed me on a hold and delayed my release. I will not be getting out next month when my contract ends, and will be kept on a hold until this case is resolved. I do not know much, but how typical is this situation when dealing with a sexual assault case in the Navy? Any advice as to what to do right now? Any insight into what the investigation and the delay/hold means for the outcome of my case?

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2 Lawyer Answers

William Mihrtad Paparian

Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Pasadena, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, your definitely should retain civilian counsel because you could be facing criminal charges "in town" if this alleged

assault occurred in the CONUS. You should not be answering any questions about the allegation before you have consulted with an attorney. And talk about the allegations with anyone.

Patrick Korody

Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • JACKSONVILLE, FL

A: Yes - there are things a civilian military counsel can do for your that the JAG office cannot. First, you can have an actual attorney (the JAGs will not represent you until charged). Second, that attorney can preserve favorable evidence and conduct a parallel investigation by interviewing supposed witnesses - perhaps even the complaining witness. Lastly, the attorney can put up a barrier between you and NCIS/command authorities so that you don't make matters worse. And don't forget it's someone you can talk to under privilege.

Angelina Bradley agrees with this answer

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