Fort Irwin, Barstow, California Military Criminal Lawyers
Fort Irwin, Barstow, California Military Criminal Lawyers
Hey there! If you or a loved one is stationed at Fort Irwin in Barstow, California and is facing military criminal charges, you’re probably feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. I totally get it — the military legal system can be confusing and intimidating. But don’t worry, you’ve got options and there’s help available.
As a former JAG officer and current civilian military defense attorney, I’ve helped hundreds of service members in your shoes. Dealing with the military justice system is my specialty. In this article, I’ll walk you through the basics of military criminal law at Fort Irwin and connect you with some great legal resources in the Barstow area.
Common Criminal Charges at Fort Irwin
From minor misconduct to serious felonies, here are some of the most common criminal offenses I see at Fort Irwin:
- Drug offenses like use, possession, distribution
- Assault, domestic violence
- Larceny, theft of government property
- Adultery, fraternization
- AWOL, desertion
The military takes misconduct very seriously, even for minor offenses that might just get a slap on the wrist in civilian court. It’s important to have an experienced military lawyer fighting for you.
How the Military Justice Process Works
After being accused of a crime, here’s what you can expect in the military criminal justice process:
- Investigation – Military police like CID investigate serious crimes. You have the right to remain silent.
- Charges – Your commander decides whether to impose nonjudicial punishment or court-martial.
- Article 32 Hearing – Like a civilian grand jury, determines if there’s enough evidence for court-martial.
- Court-Martial – Less formal than civilian court but you have the same constitutional rights.
- Sentencing – Punishments can include jail time, demotions, discharge, etc.
- Appeals – You can appeal a conviction or sentence to higher military courts.
Having a military lawyer to advise you at every stage is critical. Don’t try to navigate the process alone.
Finding the Best Military Criminal Defense Attorney
When looking for the best legal representation, here are some tips:
- Find someone with experience specifically in military law – it’s a unique system.
- Look for a good communicator who explains your options clearly.
- Pick someone aggressive who will fight to get charges dismissed or reduced.
- Choose a lawyer you trust and feel comfortable confiding in.
- Find someone who makes you feel supported, not judged.
I’ll highlight a few of the top-notch military criminal defense attorneys in the Barstow area below.
Barstow Military Lawyers – Free Consultations
If you’re at Fort Irwin, these Barstow-area military criminal defense attorneys can help:
This firm offers free case evaluations and travels to any base worldwide. Their lawyers are all former JAG officers with years of military justice experience.
Michael Waddington is a former Army JAG who now specializes in military criminal defense cases. He’s defended clients at Fort Irwin and bases across the country.
Attorney William Bruzzo is a former Marine Corps Judge Advocate who aggressively defends Fort Irwin soldiers facing courts-martial and other adverse actions.
I also recommend reaching out to military defense lawyer Richard V. Stevens, who defends clients throughout California including those stationed at Edwards AFB, 29 Palms, Camp Pendleton, and more.
What to Expect from a Consultation
When you speak with a military lawyer for a free case evaluation, here’s what you can expect:
- You’ll explain your situation and the charges against you.
- They’ll provide their honest assessment and legal opinion about your case.
- They’ll explain your rights under the UCMJ and possible defenses.
- They’ll discuss their experience with similar cases and your options going forward.
- They’ll give you a quote for legal fees and representation.
This is your chance to ask questions and see if you feel comfortable working with them. Take advantage of free consults before deciding who to hire.
How Lawyers Defend Fort Irwin Soldiers
A skilled military defense lawyer will fight for you using strategies like:
- Poking holes in the prosecution’s case – challenging evidence, witness credibility, procedures followed, etc.
- Raising affirmative defenses – self-defense, lack of mental responsibility, obedience to orders, etc.
- Negotiating plea deals – arguing for charges to be dropped or reduced, less severe sentencing terms, etc.
- Gathering evidence and witnesses – interviewing people, collecting documents, visiting the crime scene, etc.
- Working out alternative dispositions – agreements that avoid a conviction and keep your record clean.
A good lawyer knows how to navigate the complexities of the military legal system to build the strongest case for you.
How Much Does a Military Lawyer Cost?
The cost for military criminal defense representation often ranges from $5,000 to $20,000+ depending on:
- The experience level of the attorney
- How complex your case is
- Whether your case goes to trial (more expensive)
- If there are appeals
Hiring a civilian lawyer is an investment. But a conviction could negatively impact your military career and future. So it’s wise to save up if possible.
Can I Request a Military Lawyer?
Yes, you have the right to request a military defense counsel at no cost. But keep in mind:
- They are assigned to you, not chosen by you.
- They are typically less experienced than civilian lawyers.
- They have lots of cases so can devote less time to you.
While a free military lawyer is better than nothing, hiring a civilian attorney is worth the money in most cases.
Dealing with military criminal charges at Fort Irwin can be overwhelming. But with an experienced military criminal defense lawyer advising you, you can get through this.
Here are some key takeaways about military justice at Fort Irwin:
- Common charges include drug use, assault, theft, DUI, AWOL, etc.
- The process includes investigation, preferral of charges, Article 32 hearing, court-martial, appeals.
- Find an attorney experienced in courts-martial and the UCMJ specifically.
- Use free consultations to ask questions and assess lawyers.
- A civilian attorney is a smart investment to protect your future.
Don’t go through this alone. The military lawyers highlighted here are ready to help advise and defend you. With the right legal guidance, you can get the best possible outcome. Wishing you all the best!