If you are being investigated for alleged felony-type offenses while in the military, understand that such an investigation may lead to criminal charges; in fact, it is likely. It is urgent and essential that you get a lawyer on your side early in the process.
You may have received a notice that you are under investigation by one of the following agencies or a similar military investigatory agency:
- The United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
- The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID)
- The Air Force Office of Special Investigation (OSI)
- The Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS)
Contact Phillip Stackhouse, Attorney · Free Consultation · Services Worldwide
In 2006, Phillip Stackhouse began his military defense practice committed to protecting the rights of service men and women and civilian contractors facing criminal and disciplinary actions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He is known as an effective, knowledgeable and aggressive military defense attorney. He has represented many service members worldwide, including some very high-profile cases.
We represent U.S. service men and women in all phases of disciplinary actions, including:
- Military agency investigations
- Command investigations
- Boards of inquiry
- Administrative separations
- Article 32 pretrial investigations
- Revocation of security clearance
What Is A Command Investigation?
Command investigations are likewise critical events that call for quality legal counsel in the earliest stages. As the name implies, a command investigation is initiated and conducted by a specific command.
While they are not normally conducted by an investigatory agency or a law enforcement officer, that is not to imply that criminal charges cannot develop from this type of investigation. The information gathered can sometimes create an impression of wrongdoing or criminal activity that may be unfounded. Nonetheless, it can still damage your career.
Speak With An Attorney As Soon As You Are Notified
If you have been notified that a command investigation has begun to look into allegations of a criminal offense, misconduct or poor performance, get an aggressive, experienced military defense attorney on your side as soon as possible. Your military career is in jeopardy and you can’t afford to wait to see how things will turn out.
The command investigation is normally conducted by a commissioned officer appointed by a commander. The subject of a command investigation may be seemingly innocuous as investigating the loss of military property or an accident, but may be specifically directed toward military criminal charges, such as:
- Theft of military property, larceny
- Drug possession and substance abuse
- Sex offenses
- Fraud, credit card fraud, ID theft, check forgery
- Computer crimes, internet offenses
The Command Investigation Process
If a service member is suspected of military misconduct, the investigating officer has an obligation to inform him or her of the suspicion and to read the suspect his or her rights under Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. These rights include the right to speak to an attorney and the right to not make a statement of any sort; you should exercise both rights immediately.
You Never Want To Be Investigated
An example of such an investigation might be an assault or hazing that took place in the barracks, or perhaps a sailor was reported positive for a controlled substance, e.g., marijuana, on a recently taken urinalysis.
What may not be obvious is how these investigations, which do not start out investigating an allegation of criminal misconduct, can turn into an investigation of a matter that may result in criminal charges.
Auto Accident Or Drunk Driver?
One example would be an investigation into an auto accident. As the investigating officer begins collecting information about the accident, e.g., police reports, blood alcohol content results, medical records and witness interviews, a picture begins forming that the driver of the auto was possibly drunk while driving.
Another example might be an investigation into a combat shooting where a soldier questions the actions of another soldier. As the investigating officer collects evidence, such as witness statements, pictures and intelligence reports, it may lead to the impression that the soldier who shot was negligent in his or her decision to shoot.
From Investigation To Criminal Charges
In addition to investigations that may turn into criminal charges are investigations that could be detrimental to one’s career. For instance, the previously mentioned hazing case affects a subordinate commander if the proper training was not conducted or if there was an atmosphere of condoning such conduct.
This investigation may not result in charges against the subordinate commander, but may lead to a senior officer’s trust and confidence being undermined. Ultimately, this may result in the subordinate commander being relieved of his or her position.
Each military department has a regulation addressing the conduct of a command investigation and such investigations are also covered in the Manual for Courts-Martial.
Contact Us For Help Today!
Investigation of any kind are always a risk to your career. We can help protect your rights and your future. We work with clients from Camp Pendleton, bases throughout California and worldwide. To schedule a free initial consultation with our lawyer, call our San Diego office at 760-456-5386 or use our online contact form.