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According to Attorney Stephen Cobb, there are certainly additional consequences for military personnel in a criminal case. He has had a major in the marines get kicked out before he could even retain legal counsel, although that is very rare occurrence.
After an arrest, almost all service members will experience some kind of response from their military chain of command.
The type of response and timing of it will vary, depending on the charges. Some parts of the response will not happen in many cases until the civilian case is concluded. However, if the charge is severe enough, such as in the case of the major, then they can be discharged fairly rapidly. The positive response depends on a variety of factors especially the type of offense and the severity of the crime charged. The outcome of the civilian case will certainly have an impact.
Someone who is sentenced to a surprise 30-day sentence in jail on top of the minimum sanctions for a first offense DUI might find themselves in for a world of hurt from the military. First, a DUI arrest will result in an immediate suspension of driving privileges on base before the case has even been to trial. Service members also can have several different other things happen. They can be given a letter of reprimand, which doesn’t sound that serious but a letter of reprimand can prevent re-enlistment for non-commissioned military members. For officers, a letter of reprimand can mean the difference between “up or out”. Many civilians don’t know that each branch of the military has a rank to the officer corps where it simply becomes you are promoted up or you are out. For three quarters of these officers, it will be out. A DUI conviction will seriously impact an officer’s chances of being promoted.
For those in the 25% or so that will be promoted and retained, a letter of reprimand could kill a career depending on what it is for and what has happened. Military personnel are very mindful of the fact that their rank can be reduced. Attorney Cobb has had a couple of people tell him that this was actually worse than being kicked out. The embarrassment of the arrest is bad enough but a pay cut with a rank reduction is a daily embarrassment and financial hardship. Additionally military personnel can face a court-martial under the uniformed code of military justice including separation and discharge from service.
There is a great deal of pressure on military service personnel that people in other positions don’t have. Take a veteran, for example. Veterans have already been discharged from service. They are not risking any time in the brig and they certainly can’t be discharged because they’re already out. This veteran can lose retirement benefits and as explained above, in a DUI will lose their ability to drive on base. In What Areas Of Florida Do You Represent Military Personnel?
The part of Florida referred to as the Panhandle, is home to the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Attorney Stephen Cobb has represented a number of naval officers in Escambia County where he was born. However, in 1992, he moved over to the Fort Walton Beach Destin area and later, opened an office in a small town called Shalimar, Florida. This led to handling cases in Okaloosa, Santa Louis and Walton Counties for soldiers in the US Army, US Coast Guard, and of course the United States Air Force along with United States Marine Corps.
Okaloosa County alone is home to Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Air Force Base, Duke Field and the Army 7th Special Group. At the present time, due to the rarity of legal skill with neuroscience in criminal law, Attorney Cobb handles cases state wide. He has been doing brain imaging based sentence reductions and mitigations and has used them in negotiated dismissals. From Attorney Cobb’s perspective, defense lawyers who fail to look at their client as a real human being with real problems is being negligent. Their clients may need a proper diagnostic evaluation and effective treatment. Attorney Cobbs sends every single client, support materials to deal with the tremendous stress that is caused by criminal prosecution. Not one single criminal defense law firm in the local area does the same thing.
When people are going through the horrendous stress of criminal prosecution, the defense attorney has an additional duty to that client. That duty is to provide them with materials, resources, people or whatever is needed in order to get their mind as calm and competent as possible. People make bad decisions when they are scared and stressed.
How important is emotional control during criminal prosecution? One man said the wrong thing at precisely the wrong time in a court of law while entering a plea of no contest. He was looking at four years of probation and sex offender registration. This particular crime scored out under the Florida punishment code for prison time. Yet he had an amazing deal with no prison time. However, because his mind was not in the right place and he said the wrong thing, the judge refused to accept the plea and the case was left on the docket for trial. The prosecutor added 26 additional counts and when the person came back to court the following week and entered the plea of no contest successfully, he did not get four years of probation. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison instead.
This is the reason Attorney Cobb takes the mental health of his clients very seriously. When it comes to assembling a defense strike team for a murder trial or a sexual battery case, most people who are serious about hiring lead counsel want the best in the state.
The same is true with someone who is facing a great deal of prison time and do not have much of a defense. That’s why they call him. Other defense lawyers, even certified specialists in Florida criminal law, don’t know how to handle a contested SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) brain imaging based sentence mitigation hearing in a courtroom. When representing “wounded warriors” with military service related brain injuries and trauma, SPECT brain imaging is too important to ignore. Brain SPECT enables a defense attorney to establish the legal grounds necessary which allows a judge make mental health treatment a key component of a treatment based sentence rather than wasting tax money on expensive jail or prison sentences.
Finally, there is the issue of time. Most criminal cases require many half day (or longer) court appearances. This is disruptive to anyone ‘s life, but even more so for military service members. Attorney Cobb uses technology and state wide contacts to minimize and reduce the number of court appearances that may interfere with service member’s careers. Appearances in court for routine matters can disrupt temporary duty placement once someone is on TDY or even disrupt a permanent change of station, a PCS. Experience instead of guessing used to help military clients in the best way possible in all 67 counties of Florida now.
For more information on Additional Consequences In Military Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 466-1522 today.