Military Defense for Adverse Administrative Action
Military investigations can be intimidating and complicated, which is why it is crucial to seek legal advice for adverse administrative action at the early stages of your case – even if it is only yet involving some sort of investigation. And, whether you are the subject of an investigation or merely a witness, it is best practice and most wise to seek legal counsel and advice before making any statement or providing any evidence to the investigative agency or investigating officer.
No matter what legal issue you have, rest assured the Wilkie Law Firm will provide all the resources and guidance you need to make the best, fully informed decision regarding this issue. But, none of this can happen if you do not reach out to us and at least have an initial consultation. Located in Jacksonville, Wilkie serves the entire state of North Carolina as well as its surrounding states. He is also able to service any military installation located in the United States, but travel fees will apply. Give us a call at 910-333-9626 to get started.
The following information is for your education and understanding the process. It should not be used as a substitute for personalized legal advice arising from a facts based consultation with an experienced attorney who will be able to tailor their advice to the facts presented and the applicable law relating to your case.
What is Adverse Administrative Action?
While it may vary between each service branch, all have certain adverse administrative actions. A commander can take these actions against his subordinates for alleged “underperformance on the job” or for minor misconduct that does not rise to the level of an Article 15 or a Summary Court-Martial. Alternatively, it may be something the commander wishes to address in a forum that is relatively quick and affords the recipient less ability to fight the issue or be entitled to any real due process.
That being said, in today’s military, even a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (GOMOR) in the Army or an adverse fitness report in any of the branches means your career is essentially over, or at the very least your chances to get promoted or reenlist are very unlikely.
So, even at this lower end of the spectrum of quasi-legal issues involving your command, it is critical to seek out and get assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney like Aden Wilkie.
Types of Administrative Actions
Commanders have a range of adverse administrative actions to rehabilitate, punish, and separate service members from their military branches. They may choose to take one or more of these actions against a service member. An adverse administrative separation will also lead to an unfavorable characterization of discharge. Commanders may choose to take one or more of the following administrative actions against a member of their command:
Why Am I Under Military Investigation?
In the military you can be investigated for almost anything. And in today’s military, members are frequently the subject of an investigation solely based on an allegation made by one person, barracks gossip, innuendo, an anonymous complaint or a commander’s directive. The mere fact of being investigated can result in being placed on a disciplinary list – which can impact duty assignments, deployments, or career advancement.
Knowing all of this makes it critically important for you to seek out legal counsel the moment you become aware you are even possibly being investigated, so that a properly qualified legal professional can advise you on what to do next. In most cases, applicable service regulations do not afford you the right to a military counsel merely because you are a witness, person of interest, or the subject of an investigation. So, your best course of action is to seek legal advice and possibly legal representation at the earliest opportunity from a qualified military criminal defense attorney.
Types of Military Investigations
While the names may be different, in all the military branches, investigations into military members can be divided into two categories:
- law enforcement investigations performed by various service specific agencies
command driven investigations.
While the subject matter and manner in which the various investigations may be carried out differ, in all cases two things always hold true:
- You should never speak to anyone about the subject matter of the investigation once you become aware it is ongoing. This includes not only the investigators themselves, members of the command, friends, or peers, nor any significant others. At least not until you have done the second step.
- You should speak with an experienced attorney at your earliest opportunity. If you are approached by anyone seeking to interview you or ask questions, even if you are told you are merely a witness, you should not speak with anyone before you talk to an attorney. You do not know what words you speak can harm or help you. And, the investigator’s primary goal is not your innocence, best interests, exoneration etc. Rather, they have a requirement to meet and typically already have a theory of the case that they are following and looking for evidence to support their theory.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for Adverse Administrative Action?
First, they can provide a buffer between you and the organization investigating you. The moment you say you have retained counsel and refer the investigating party to your attorney they should no longer seek information from you, nor be contacting you directly. This can give you some breathing room, reduce the stress and keep you from possibly making matters worse for yourself by speaking with authorities and giving them evidence they did not have or unwittingly incriminate yourself.
Second, an attorney can intercede on your behalf with the investigating agency and potentially change the course of the investigation, obtain evidence early on the process to reduce the anxiety that comes from not knowing what is going on, shape the legal landscape for any legal battles to come, and get a jump start on the government prosecutors that may eventually take the evidence in the investigation and use it to prosecute you at a court-martial, or a quasi-judicial hearing like an administrative separation board. In most cases a military defense counsel is not authorized to intervene on your behalf during the investigative stage of a case.
Valuable time could be lost while waiting for the process to play out and trigger your right to military counsel. Not all investigations lead to criminal charges or adverse action. However, with your career, future and freedom on the line the stakes are high, so you need the assistance of a legal professional.
Adverse Administrative Action and How Wilkie Law Can Help
After serving 20 plus years in the United States Marine Corps, Mr. Wilkie has seen it all, defending Marines and Sailors being investigated, advising a commander and law enforcement investigators in cases like yours and prosecuting people once such an investigation is completed. While no outcome can be guaranteed, your chances of the best possible outcome increase greatly if you get a legal professional on your side, fighting for your rights and keeping the government honest.
During his time in the military Aden Wilkie worked as an SJA in both the Marine Corps and various joint commands advising Marine, Army, Air Force and Navy commanders on issues ranging from GOMORs, adverse fitness reports, 6105 entries, FLIPL (financial liability investigation of property loss) and retaliation claims made by the service member. In some of these areas’ early intervention by an experienced attorney could prevent actions from occurring or mitigate the outcome. An experienced attorney can help in crafting correspondence to the command or rebutting the allegations made in your military file.
Hire the Best
Each case is unique and fact-specific, but the Wilkie Law Firm cannot help you if you do not reach out. Give us a call at 910-333-9626 or fill out the online contact form and let us discuss your case. Time is of the essence in many of these situations as the recipient has a definitive time frame in which to respond or rebut the matter in question.