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.