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Last Updated on: 7th October 2023, 02:27 pm
Ellsworth Air Force Base, Box Elder, South Dakota Military Criminal Lawyers
If you are a servicemember stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Box Elder, South Dakota and facing military criminal charges, you need an experienced military defense lawyer on your side. Military law is complex and the consequences for convictions can be severe. A conviction can end your military career with a dishonorable discharge and affect your VA benefits. That’s why it’s critical to have an aggressive and knowledgeable military defense lawyer fighting for you.
At Ellsworth AFB, the most common charges we see are related to drugs, alcohol, unauthorized absence, and sexual misconduct under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The Area Defense Counsel office on base provides free legal services to defend you at courts-martial or for nonjudicial punishment. They can help you understand the charges against you and represent you in legal proceedings. However, for more serious charges like sexual assault, it may be wise to hire a civilian military defense lawyer with specific experience handling those types of cases.
Drug offenses like use, possession, distribution, or trafficking are prosecuted aggressively under the UCMJ. Even small amounts of illegal drugs can lead to felony charges that may result in years of confinement. It’s important to have an attorney examine if the search and seizure was done properly according to your 4th Amendment rights. There may be ways to get evidence suppressed or charges reduced or dismissed by identifying issues with how the investigation was conducted.
For example, in U.S. vs. Pvt. Jones, the defense attorney successfully argued that the improper search of Pvt. Jones’ barracks room violated his rights. Even though drugs were found, the judge ruled the search was illegal and excluded the drugs as evidence, resulting in the charges being dropped.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a common charge at military installations. Under Article 111 of the UCMJ, even a first offense DUI can result in up to 1 year confinement. Field sobriety exercises, breathalyzers, and blood tests are often used to determine intoxication levels. An experienced lawyer knows the procedural safeguards for these tests and can challenge the results if errors were made.
For example, in U.S. vs. Lt. Smith, the lawyer discovered that the breathalyzer was not properly calibrated according to manufacturer standards. The BAC results were thrown out, and the DUI charges dismissed. Having a tenacious defense lawyer can make all the difference.
Allegations of sexual assault or harassment are intricately complex cases. These carry the possibility of extensive prison time and a felony conviction if found guilty at a court-martial. Even consensual relationships between officers and enlisted members can be charged under UCMJ Article 134. Your lawyer’s role is to meticulously examine the evidence and testimony to build the strongest defense.
In cases where evidence is lacking, oftentimes the charges are withdrawn by the prosecution. Other times, plea agreements to lesser charges can be negotiated to limit the penalties. The stigma of sex crime convictions can follow you for life, so fighting the allegations vigorously is imperative.
AWOL & Desertion
Being absent without leave (AWOL) or deserting your post are violations under Articles 85 and 86. Your attorney can look at the circumstances surrounding the absence – were there family emergencies, mental health issues, or other mitigating factors? Negotiating with the prosecution is key. Demonstrating the absence was not intentional can sometimes result in dropped or reduced charges.
In addition, the defense will scrutinize if proper procedures were followed during the apprehension and investigation. Any violations of your rights could weaken the prosecution’s case against you.
Hire an Experienced Military Lawyer
Facing military criminal charges can be frightening, but you have rights. An aggressive defense lawyer will hold the government accountable and ensure proper procedures are followed throughout the legal process. For the best chance at the most favorable outcome, whether that is getting charges dismissed, reducing penalties, or avoiding jail time, hire a seasoned military defense attorney to represent you.
Military law is all we do. Contact us today for a free case review. Our sole mission is defending the rights of servicemembers like you. We will take the time to understand your situation and develop a comprehensive legal strategy to fight for you at Ellsworth AFB.