If you are suspected of committing certain offenses, or your commander believes you lack the potential for further service, you may be processed for military separation or military discharge, prior to the end of active obligated service (EAOS) date. This process is known as “administrative separation” for enlisted personnel. (Officers are administratively separated via a process known as a Board of Inquiry. Click here for information on BOIs). The services vary slightly on how this process takes place but, generally the following information applies:


If you face military discharge or military separation, you  have the following rights:

  • The right to consult with a military attorney. You can consult with an active duty military attorney at your local base legal office at no cost or you may hire an experienced military civilian attorney;
  • The right to submit statements in your own behalf ,You also have the right to obtain your military records;
  • The right to obtain copies of documents which your commander will forward in support of the separation recommendation;
  • The right to a hearing if the commander seeks a discharge characterized as under “Other Than Honorable ” Conditions (OTH) OR if you have over 6 years of service in the military.
  • If you have a hearing, you have the right to an attorney to represent you that hearing. Again, this attorney can be an active duty attorney or you may hire experienced military counsel. For more information on making this decision, click here.


If you are processed for military separation or military discharge prior to your EAOS, you will receive one of the following discharge characterizations:

  • Honorable Discharge is the best discharge you can receive from the service. An honorable discharge will be given for proper military behavior and proficient performance of duty. If there is no derogatory information in your military record, you should receive an honorable discharge.
  • General Discharge (also called “General, Under Honorable Conditions”) is usually given to someone who had nonjudicial punishments (Article 15s), but not for serious infractions. A general discharge indicates that you had problems while you were in the military and may cause prejudice in civilian life. However, because it is under honorable conditions and is still considered “good paper,” most employers probably will not press the issue. You will be eligible for all VA benefits with a General discharge with the exception of education benefits, such as the 9/11 GI Bill, for which the VA requires an Honorable discharge (along with a minimum amount of service) in order to receive.
  • Under Other Than Honorable Conditions (OTH) will deprive you of most of the benefits you would receive with an Honorable discharge and may cause you substantial prejudice in civilian life. Therefore, before you can be given an OTH, and regardless of how few years of military service you may have, you have the right to have your case heard by an administrative separation board.


The Separation Authority, usually your Company, Battalion or Ship Commanding Officer (or General or Flag officer depending on the reason for separation and the proposed characterization of discharge) decides whether you should be separated and, if so, what type of the discharges described above that you should receive. If you have less than six years of total active and reserve military service, and you are not being considered for an OTH discharge, you are not eligible for an Administrative Separation Board, so the only way you can provide input into what sort of discharge you receive is to submit statements in your own behalf. These statements can be yours, or from people with whom or for whom you have worked. You should seek the assistance of an experienced military lawyer prior to submitting these statements, since, if done right, they can have a significant impact on the character of your discharge.


Again, if you have six years or more years of active and reserve military service OR the commander is seeking an OTH, you have the right to a board hearing before the commander takes action. This board normally consists of a panel of three people, usually two officers and a senior enlisted member. The Board is much like a trial, where the government is represented by a military legal officer, and you are represented by a military lawyer. Both sides can call witnesses and present evidence, including your military records. Once the evidence has been presented, your military attorney can argue on your behalf. The board then votes to determine if (a) you committed the reason for separation; (b) if so, should you be separated, and (c) if so, what the characterization of service should be. The Separation Authority makes the final decision, but cannot do anything less favorable to you than the Board recommended.

Again, you have the right to be represented by an active duty military lawyer at no cost to you. You could also hire a civilian military lawyer, at no cost to the Government. You may make a statement to the Board or chose to remain silent.

You may submit a Conditional Waiver. A Conditional Waiver is a document you send to the Separation Authority agreeing to give up your right to a Board hearing in exchange for a better type of discharge (usually a General discharge). If the Separation Authority agrees, there is no hearing, and you are separated from that better type of discharge. If not, you still have the right to a Board. In any case, you also have the right to consult with a military lawyer to decide what option is best for you. This is why it is very important to get an experienced military attorney before making this decision. At King Military Law, we often recommend our clients fight the government at a hearing as this can often result in the Board voting to retain you on active duty.

The Administrative Separation process could result in your losing important military benefits, veterans benefits as well as adversely impacting your life after service. For those reasons, take the process seriously, fight every step of the way, and make sure you are assisted in that fight by an experienced military attorney.

At KML, we are available to you 24/7. Please call us if you think we can help.

King Military Law: Decades of Experience in YOUR Corner–When Experience Matters Most

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Leslie PuikLeslie Puik
01:03 07 May 23
There aren't enough words of high praise to express our appreciation for Don King of King Military Law. He and his very qualified staff Kasheta and Angela took care of our needs like we were their only clients. They are all highly professional, superb communicators, responsive, and thorough. They are caring, compassionate and patiently listen to and address every concern as though they were helping one of their family members. Don excels at helping others understand the processes of the law. He educates his clients so that they can navigate toward the best possible solution and outcome. We will be forever grateful for the entire team's effort to help our family through the most challenging time of our lives.I highly recommend King Military Law.
john puikjohn puik
11:57 05 May 23
Don fought hard for our son with passion and experience.My wife and I can't say enough good things about our experience with King Military Law. Don is an excellent communicator, patiently explaining every aspect of the case, keeping us informed throughout the process. It was obvious to us that his experience in the military law system was the most important benefit of our decision to hire him. The staff, Kasheta and Angela were incredible. Emails were returned promptly. All questions were answered without delay. I always felt like we were their only client. We were truly blessed to have found Don and his staff to help us with this matter.
Dakota GrammerDakota Grammer
21:49 09 Mar 23
Let me begin by saying Mr. King has saved my life. I hired Mr. King for defense in a Court Martial case. His entire team worked tirelessly to create a solid defense for me. They would even just have conversations with me to make sure my mental health was okay throughout the whole process, making sure I know my resources incase I needed help. Because of Mr. King and his team I got an amazing plea that would not have been possible without him. I would recommend anyone to Mr. King and his team. Thank you all again for everything you have done for me and helping me still have a life after such a stressful event!
06:14 28 Feb 23
I felt so hopeless until I found Don. The way that most of us service members aren’t entirely educated on our rights. Is appalling. What I was accused of is supposed to be a career killer. Something as simple as licking my finger tips while handling cash could’ve cost me everything. Don and LT Bassani both work in tandem in away that was so symbiotic you could’ve sworn they’ve worked together for decades. And a special and well deserved shoutout to Angela and Kasheta. They walked me through the process and practically held my hand the entire way. Not only that but they made myself and my witnesses feel comfortable. When it’s all said and done. This is the team you want on your side.
Kyp RidenhourKyp Ridenhour
19:05 05 Dec 22
Don King is as exceptional as his resume would have you believe. His knowledge of legal proceedings, and litigating skills were far above what I had even expected. His assistance was worth every penny. I could not have been happier with choosing King Military Law. Don and his team helped me through every part of the legal procedure that I was dealing with and if it had not been for his team I would not have been able to continue my career in the United States Marine Corps. Mr. King and his team were always able to help me and I would not ever recommend anyone else for help in a military law situation as Mr. King has more experience in military law and litigating than any prosecutor that the United States government would put up against you. His team will help you fight back any false charges and I would happily trust him and his team in any situation. My brother is a lawyer and he told me I was very lucky to find such an experienced lawyer to help me. Please reach out to KingMilitaryLaw for help if you are ever in need.
01:46 17 Nov 22
I had a great experience working with King Military Law. They are excellent when it comes to communication and understanding the law. I would truly recommend them to anyone who needs assistance on any legal issues.
Siddharth SwaminathanSiddharth Swaminathan
14:41 09 Nov 22
Simply put Don, Kasheta and the rest of king military law are amazing. They are worth every dollar and Don truly cares about each of one of his clients. He will work night and day for and there is no one better than Don in this business. I was facing a board of inquiry for a situation that had gotten so far out of hand. Don pointed out so many flaws in my case and stopped my situation before it made it to a BOI. I cant thank Don enough. I called Don over 20 times a day. He always answered my phone calls, was patient and was with me every step of the way keeping me calm and grounded. My only regret is I didnt call Don immediately at the first sign of trouble.
Pusha 392Pusha 392
01:17 03 Nov 22
Was in an overwhelming situation with the Navy, reached out for a consultation with Mr King, he explained potential outcomes and path that could be taken. I felt comfortable hiring him and his team. Mr Don and his are knowledgeable, effective, efficient and very understanding. Because of their help I’m able to continue my time in the Navy. Big shout to Angela Schlosser and Kasheta De La Garza, who work and assist Mr Don King
greg Meagreg Mea
04:22 12 Oct 22
I can’t recommend King Military Law enough ! I felt like I wasn’t just a case but an actual person. They were professional yet compassionate every step of the way. Answered every question with kindness and honesty. They are completely transparent an filled with knowledge . Which i think is what everyone should look for when thinking about hiring an attorney. They truly have your best interest at heart.
Gabe CarothersGabe Carothers
03:05 30 Jul 22
King military law truly cares, and will be by your side every single step of the way. If you are even thinking of calling them. Do It. They are true professionals who care. Thank you king military law.

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