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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 26286
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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can i stay in the military if i have a felony i was charged

Resolved Question:

can i stay in the military if i have a felony? i was charged with vandalism. i totaled a car. what would happen to me? this is my first brush with the law.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 3 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
psimmons :

Are you active duty?

Customer :

yes i am. active duty. e-5 sergeant.

psimmons :

Have you reported this to your command yet?

psimmons :

and when is the hearing set for?

Customer :

yes they are fully aware of my situation.

Customer :

my civilian court hearing is on sept 17 2010

psimmons :

If your convicted of a felony its not likely you would remain in the service

psimmons :

A misdemeanor, perhaps...but not a felony

psimmons :

if your convicted of a felony the military will start the process to separate you administratively

psimmons :


Sorry to have to bear bad news.

psimmons :

do you have more questions

Customer :

well...yes. i keep hearing that since its my first offence. i have a good chance of dropping it down to a misdemeanor. i have served honorably for the last 6 years with no stain. this is my first brush in with the law

Customer :

what do you think they would factor in my decision?

psimmons :

What do you mean by







what do you think they would factor in my decision?



psimmons :

who, the military?

psimmons :

are you Air Force?

Customer :

yes the military...no sir. army

psimmons :

Thank

psimmons :

thanks

psimmons :

what has your command said, if anything?

Customer :

what i am trying to say is...would they factor that in their decision that i am a first time offender?

Customer :

they have kept me out in the dark with the whole situation

psimmons :

The real question is the punishment

Customer :

i am at my wits end trying to guess their next move...

Customer :

i am desperate to be honest...

psimmons :

if you get punished, like probation, the Army is not going to allow you to remain on active duty

psimmons :

SO you need to resolve this with no felony and no probation

psimmons :

What is your attorney telling you?

psimmons :

What is your civilian attorney telling you? Do you have a plea deal?

Customer :

i have a public defender. but hes not very helpful at all. he keeps telling me that he is going to find a way to bring down my felony to a misdemeanor but he has not told me on how hes about to do this...

psimmons :

Like I said, if you get tagged with a felony the Army will chapter you.

Customer :

no we havent talked about any plea deal. just the hope of bringing it down to a misdeameanor

psimmons :

If you can get it reduced to a misdemeanor, and do not to have to report for probation, then you stand a chance

Customer :

ok...but what can i advise my attorney to say to the judge to see things more positively from my side??

psimmons :

Is there anyone in your command who will speak up for you?

Customer :

to be honest...my chain of command left me high and dry. due to the fact that i am new to their company. i havent established enough rapport or trust with them to make them see that i am not a bad nco...that i just did this one mistake...

psimmons :

Well, if you can find some to speak of for you that can help the judge to give you less punishment

psimmons :

may be time to ask they assist

Customer :

like i said...they kept me in the dark and they havent tried to help me. i have a battle buddy here whos helping me seek medical advise due to the stressful nature of my situation...

psimmons :

OK, well as I said, if you get tagged with a felony they will chapter you

psimmons :

and if you get reporting probation they will chapter you

psimmons :

so it may be time to ask your command for help

Customer :

i was wondering...could someone like you represent me? what would i do to acquire your services?

Customer :

i will do what you ask of me. to seek help from them.

psimmons :

Someone like me could...but I can not...that is because the terms of service of this website prevent personal representation

psimmons :

but yes, you can hire an attorney to help

psimmons :

but frankly your better off saving your money and going to your SNCO yourself

psimmons :

and asking for help

psimmons :

you will get more luck then hiring someone to do it for you

Customer :

ok. you are right. i will talk to them first thing tomorrow morning. now...what do you think of my chances thus far? does it really fall on the judge whos sentencing me? am i really under his or hers judgement now???

psimmons :

No, it does not go to the judge until the trial...and if you get a plea deal, that will limit your punishment.

psimmons :

if you can not get a plea deal, then you may need to go to trial

psimmons :

if you want to spend money on something, hiring a lawyer to fight the civilian case may be a good idea

Customer :

what exactly is a plea deal?? how do i get about doing that? and how would i know i would get something positive from it?

psimmons :

Its an agreement between you and the prosecutor to limit the sentence in your case...you need to work with you attorney to negotiate one.

Customer :

ok. so i talk to my lawyer. tell him or her to submit a plea deal. for example in my case. that the charge be dropped off to a misdeamenor and no probation. is that correct?

psimmons :

yes

psimmons :

you would ask the lawyer to try and negotiate a plea deal that reduces the felony

psimmons :

and does not require you to have reporting probation

Customer :

now of course the prosecution will not just agree to this without something in return right? what kind of terms would i be looking at??

psimmons :

The prosecution wants to resolve the case and ensure justice is served...so you need to get your lawyer to work with the prosecutor to understand that this case is best resolved with you staying in the Army.

Customer :

okay. so if i present to the prosecution that im willing to pay for the damaged car. nobody was injured luckily. and when i mean pay...i mean pay the expense for the car out of pocket or let my insurance pay for the totaled car. would this be a good bargaining chip? or would i do something a little bit more extra?

psimmons :

Yes, that is a very good start

psimmons :

and like I said, if your command will support you, that will help even more

Customer :

okay. at least im a liitle bit relieved. now that i know i have a very slim chance of coming out of this alive. thank you so much for your time and valuable advice.

Customer :

and thank you for your service.

psimmons :

Welcome. Please let me know if you have further questions; if so I will do my best to answer them. If not please hit the accept button, its the only way I get credit for my work.




P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 26286
Experience: Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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