We recently received a call from a U.S. Army Captain stationed at Camp Humphreys, South Korea. He had already been offered, and accepted, an Article 15 from his commanding officer for allegations of conduct unbecoming an officer based on comments he made to a fellow officer after a night of drinking at the Officer’s Club. At the time of his call he had five days to appeal his Article 15, and wanted to know what his options were for appealing the Article 15, and the subsequent punishment. After we had explained to the officer that his chances of appealing his Article 15 were rather low, he indicated that he was told by the Trial Defense Services (“TDS”) attorney that it was in his best interest to accept Article 15, rather than risk a court-martial over the matter. The officer went on to say that the TDS attorney told him that he should accept Article 15, and simply plead not guilty. We indicated to the officer that this line of thinking was not necessarily wrong, but we asked whether the TDS attorney explained the other half of the story – the collateral consequences for accepting Article 15? The officer answered, “no.”
After we expressed dismay in the fact that he had received less than adequate advice from the local TDS, we walked him through the likely impact his Article 15 conviction would have on his career, and life. Let the young officer’s mistake be a lesson for all of our readers:
So, if you find yourself in a situation where you are being offered an Article 15/NJP for allegations of your own misconduct, first ask whether you can accept accountability for something that you did not do. If so, then consider that by accepting Article 15/NJP you will likely be signing away your career, and benefits.
We would be honored to serve as your advocate and partner during the period of your military legal process. Please get in touch and arrange your free initial consultation.