There are many benefits of retaining a military law practitioner in assisting
Servicemembers who are Absent Without Leave.
Your attorney will advise you which base to turn yourself to
One of the first decisions is to decide which base to turn oneself to.
There are 2 choices here: 1) the base from which you went AWOL or 2) another
base. Depending on which base you choose, your Service may decide to send
you somewhere else. Therefore, early planning with your attorney will
Your attorney will be able to negotiate with the prosecutor
A Government prosecutor (trial counsel) may be less willing to advocate
more punishment if he or she knows that there is another attorney looking
over his or her shoulder. When a Servicemember hires a civilian attorney,
to many Government prosecutors this means that the Servicemember is serious
about resolving the situation. For example, U.S. Army must comply with
the procedures of Army Regulation 630–10,
Absence Without Leave, Desertion, And Administration of Personnel Involved
in Civilian Court Proceedings, when processing AWOL cases. Your attorney must be knowledgeable in this
and other regulations to properly represent your best interest. In addition,
your attorney will apply heavy scrutiny to all the documents, all the
command actions, and all suggestions for punishment. Actions of the Government
prosecutor will be filtered by another legal mind. If something is not
right, your attorney will alert you, will invoke your rights, and will
try to obtain some form of relief.
Your attorney will develop alternatives for you outside of a court-martial
Even though you may have violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice,
it does not mean that you automatically have to be court-martialed. Your
attorney will assist you in developing alternate disposals of your case.
One of them could be an administrative discharge.
Your attorney will collect all the evidence to ensure a powerful representation,
if a case is referred to a court-martial
Investigating your case, obtaining persuasive statements, writing powerful
legal memoranda, engaging the Government prosecutor, and obtaining more
evidence is a time consuming process. It takes the skill and guts to persuade
the Government prosecutor not to proceed with a court-martial.
Your attorney will assist you, if you desire, in post-AWOL matters.
Depending on the resolution of your case, additional relief may not be
necessary. However, sometimes Servicemembers who avoid a punitive discharge
and confinement, may want to apply for relief or discharge upgrade with
boards for correction of military records. By having an attorney from
the start, you will have someone who already has all the documents, knowledge,
and factual background to advocate on your behalf to obtain relief.