Tacoma, Washington and its surrounding counties are home to many U.S. service members. Due to their extensive training and esteemed positions, military members are held to an exceptionally high standard of professional and personal conduct. This makes accusations related to violent crimes extremely serious with potentially dire consequences for all service men and women.
Allegations of violence can stem from any number of situations for military members. Whether you have been charged with assault and battery or homicide, and even if the claims are untrue, inaccurate, or the result of an accident, your freedom and military career will be at stake. At The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC, we know what you are up against and will pursue every available recourse to protect your rights and preserve everything you’ve worked hard to achieve.
To speak with a skilled and determined military violent crimes lawyer in the Tacoma area, call (253) 733-2093 and schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Violent Crimes in the Military
Like the civilian court system, violent crimes are tenaciously pursued by the Judge Advocates who look to punish offenders with quick convictions. The military system takes a firm stance against violent offenses and is generally uninterested in hearing your side of the story. If you have been charged with a violent crime like assault, you can expect repercussions under Article 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which recognizes two degrees of assault: simple and aggravated assault.
Simple assault happens when an individual threatens or attempts to injure another using unlawful force, regardless if the victim is struck or physically injured. The assault charge can also be heightened to aggravated assault if a weapon is used or the force in question is likely to cause grievous bodily harm or death. Other factors that may result in an increased charge include if the victim is a military officer, a law enforcement agent, or was a child under 16.
Additionally, if a violent crime involves a loss of life, you can expect the military to aggressively punish the offender under the UCMJ, which divides homicides between Article 18 (murder) and Article 19 (manslaughter). Murder is defined as causing a loss of life with premeditation, in the commission of an assault where the offender intended great bodily harm, or if the loss of life was caused by an activity that is inherently dangerous with a wanton disregard for human life. These can include engaging in other criminal activities, such as burglary, rape, arson, or robbery.
On the other hand, a manslaughter charge in the military is committed in the heat of passion or without premeditation. It may also be charged if an individual is accused of a killing through significant and criminal negligence. For example, in a fatal collision caused while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Military Penalties & Consequences for Violent Crimes
When a U.S. military member is charged with a violent crime, the possible penalties will vary greatly depending on the specific offense and the circumstances involved. The issue of jurisdiction between the civilian courts and the military system will also come into play; however, like any serious criminal act, a conviction can have long-term and extremely negative effects on a military member’s life. For example, if you are convicted, you will be subjected to incarceration for years, decades, or even the rest of your life. You will also face the loss of all military benefits and pay, leaving your family without any financial support. Then, after you are stripped of your rank and re-enter society as a civilian, your conviction will haunt you on any future job and loan application. Even if you avoid a formal conviction by the civilian or military courts, the incident is likely to still result in some type of punitive military action, such as:
- Base / Deployment Restrictions
- Loss of Leave
- Rank or Pay Reduction
- Required Substance Abuse Treatment
- Loss of Security Clearance
- Lost Promotion Opportunities
- Dishonorable Discharge
Chose an Advocate to Defend You – Tacoma Military Violent Crimes Lawyer
When military members or civilians are accused of a violent crime, it is common and understandable to choose legal representation from an appointed Military defense lawyer. You might believe this is your best option, but the reality is that these lawyers are often inexperienced and have tremendous caseloads. They are typically ill-equipped to handle cases as complex or as serious as those involving violence. Additionally, these appointed lawyers have their own supervisors to whom they answer. You should have a legal representative that only answers to you.
Your case deserves the full and complete attention of a dedicated attorney who knows how civilian and military officials pursue violent crimes and what it takes to protect your military career, your reputation, and your freedom. By working with military violent crime lawyer Morgan Fletcher Benfield, you can be confident that a committed and skilled professional is scrutinizing every detail of your case, offering personalized defense strategies, and fiercely advocating for you in and out of court.
If you’re a military member and have been charged with a violent crime in the Tacoma area, The Law Offices of Morgan Fletcher Benfield, PLLC is ready to evaluate your situation and how you can effectively and successfully build a defense. Call (253) 733-2093 to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.