What is your right to counsel in the Military?

A military defense counsel is provided free of charge regardless of the accused's ability to pay. You should immediately contact the defense counsel on your base if you are suspected of a crime. In the Army, it is the Trial Defense Service. In the Air Force, it is the Area Defense Counsel. In the Navy it is the Legal Services Office. Do not speak to anyone except your attorney about the substance of your case. In particular, do not speak to co-workers, military investigators or your chain of command about the charges of which you are suspected.

In addition, the accused may retain a civilian defense attorney that will work with your military attorney or you can dismiss your military lawyer. The accused is responsible for paying a civilian lawyer.

Choosing an attorney may be the most important decision that you ever have to make. It is not a decision that you should take lightly. Demonstrating the importance of choosing the right defense lawyer, on 19 December 2005, the Army Times wrote a three page article titled "Hiring Civilian Attorneys: The Costs Pay Off, Soldiers Say."

The accused has the right to be represented by counsel at the magistrate hearing when a determination is made regarding continued pretrial confinement, at the Article 32 investigation, and during all court-martial sessions.

William E. Cassara- Military Law Attorney

Recent Accomplishments

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Reverses Navy-Marine Corps Court on Hazing Case

By William Cassara | May 14, 2021

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) recently published its opinion in United States v. Mader reversing a Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals decision in a case involving an NCO’s charged hazing of junior Marines. A Sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines was executing orders out of […]

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air force drug conviction

CAAF Reverses Army Court on Hearsay Ruling

By William Cassara | April 30, 2021

In June 2020, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals issued an opinion in United States v. Henry affirming the military judge’s decision to exclude four hearsay statements made by the alleged victim and her son. We discussed that opinion here. The government appealed the Army Court decision to the Court […]

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William E. Cassara, Military Law Attorney

Army Court Reverses Conviction – ACCA Opinion U.S. v. Hannah

By William Cassara | April 24, 2021

We are thrilled to report that the Army Court of Criminal Appeals set aside and dismissed our client’s convictions for two specifications of sexual assault.  We argued that the military judge improperly created the appearance of bias in favor of the government because of her inappropriate conduct toward our client’s […]

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