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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 18808
Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
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I want to change my army discharge, no, i have a dd-214,

Customer Question

i want to change my army discharge
JA: OK. The Military Lawyer will need to help you with this. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Please tell me everything you can about this issue so the Military Lawyer can help you best. Please give me a bit more information, so we can help you best.
Customer: i have a dd-214
JA: Is there anything else the Military Lawyer should be aware of?
Customer: chapter 14-12c
JA: OK. Got it. Last thing - JustAnswer charges a fee (generally around $18) to post your type of question (you only pay if satisfied). While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Military Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Customer: general under honorable conditions
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

Unfortunately, this may be an unrealistic goal. The discharge status is intended to be permanent. While many in the military, myself included, were told that these things are upgraded or can be upgraded after (so don't worry about the discharge status), that's far from true.

To upgrade a discharge, you have to file a DD Form 293 (if within 15 years of the discharge) or a DD Form 149. Those boards have the power to review and upgrade a discharge. That being said, they only do so when you can show that the discharge was an error or an injustice at the time it was given. Positive life changes and the things you've done since the separation are not relevant to their review, because it isn't a merit based concept for them to upgrade. They only upgrade when, in their estimation, the discharge status shouldn't have been given in the first place due to ignoring evidence, clerical error, etc. Their goal is to correct the record based on error, not to improve your discharge status based on your having earned it...which is unfortunate, because I think many people do earn it and if this sort of review was done, we'd see more discharges upgraded....but that isn't how they review it based on the law.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I already know this, but I need to fix this in order to advance in life,
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 9 months ago.

I certainly understand the desire to fix it, but again, the barrier to getting upgrade is still there. They don't have any exception to the law on this based on the discharge causing problems in the civilian world. That is actually the intent of the punitive discharge, so that isn't an argument that carries any power before that board.

Unless you have some facts that demonstrate the evidence was incorrectly considered, there was some bias or mistake or some other factor which wasn't considered (a medical or psychological issue leading to the misconduct which was the basis for the separation), there isn't any means here to get it upgraded. That's true no matter how much you pay an attorney to try and do it. The military panel here has strict guidelines on a discharge and how they are upgraded. Not even the President of the United States, with his pardon powers, can change a discharge status.

I wish I could tell you differently here, but that is the law in this situation.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
How about re enlistment
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 9 months ago.

With a punitive discharge, you would have received an RE code that made you ineligible for reenlistment. The only way to change the RE code is the same process to get a discharge status upgraded, the DD Form 149 (as this is the only board that can change an RE code).

Again, you've have to show error or injustice in giving you that RE code. So, this is just as unlikely as upgrading the discharge status itself.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required. If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.

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