Should I Hire A Civilian Military Attorney?

Do I Need To Hire A Civilian Military Attorney To Help Me?

It’s a good question.

For criminal cases, Administrative Separation Hearings, and Boards of Inquiry the military will assign a free active duty military attorney (JAG) to represent you, but the fact that you are reading this indicates you know that trusting someone “assigned” to handle the most significant event in your life is at least cause for questioning.

First, You Need An Attorney At The First Sign Of Trouble. Right Now!

But active duty military lawyers are usually unavailable to assist until you have formally been charged with a crime, have been told that you will be separated from the military, informed that you will lose your security clearance, etc. MANY cases are lost in those treacherous times between the first sign of trouble and the formal charge. You’ll be confronted with dozens of critical decisions that may seem inconsequential but making the wrong choice could do serious damage to your defense.

DON’T MAKE THESE DECISIONS WITHOUT A LAWYER. If you don’t have a uniformed military attorney, please find a civilian military attorney to help you now. Until then, we advise our clients to remain silent and demand to speak to an attorney before you answer any questions—from command or law enforcement. EVERYONE you speak to and EVERY word you say can be used against you so. This is true even if you believe the conversation to be “private,” or someone promises you confidentiality. With very few exceptions (lawyer, priest, etc.) anyone you speak with may be compelled to tell the authorities what you said.

We can’t tell you how often innocent servicemembers suffered by speaking to the authorities because those leaders made them believe that speaking would be “in their best interest” or that “innocent people don’t need a lawyer.” WRONG!  Innocent people suspected of a crime need a lawyer most. Protect yourself—exercise your rights and call someone who knows how to protect you.

Second, Experience Matters!


“Achieves impressive results, including a not guilty verdict in a complex murder trial.” Navy Captain, 1999

Think of it this way: Military culture is to train us to do a job and then send us off to do it, regardless of experience. While many jobs require a fellowship or duty under instruction, where a more experienced ship-driver, pilot, doctor, etc., supervises and trains the less experienced officer for a period of time, that is not always so with JAGs. For example, Don defended his first murder case, with no supervision, when he was six months into his first tour! Defending a client charged with murder after only passing the bar less than two years before is unthinkable in the civilian world, but the military is different. The JAG assigned to represent you, while likely a capable attorney, may not have the desirable level of experience.

Those of us who have retired after practicing military law for decades are humbled by how much we didn’t know back when we were junior officers defending clients at courts martial and administrative hearings. Whether you’re facing a very delicate spine surgery or a complex board hearing or court martial, EXPERIENCE MATTERS!

“A recognized military justice expert, handpicked to defend the most complex . . . cases, including a Marine charged with espionage and a Commodore charged with dereliction.” Commanding Officer, 2004

A Word About Cost

Hiring an experienced attorney can be a tough financial investment. But don’t stop at cost. Weigh that cost against all you or a loved one has to lose. Many in need of an attorney don’t understand the high cost of losing at a court martial. Consider these:

You may go to prison and be a convicted felon.  Both of these results will not only impact you and your family immediately, they will follow you the rest of your life. You will likely lose your right to vote, to own a firearm, etc. Learn more about the cost of being a convicted felon here.

If the conviction involves a sex offense, you’ll experience significant negative impacts in your life. The Nation’s sex offender registration laws are draconian and extremely severe. You’ll likely be required to register as a sex offender on public, searchable websites like these. You may never be able to live near schools or parks; you may be prohibited from being around children, attending your children’s functions, or coaching their teams; and you’ll be required to disclose this information to on employment applications. This status may also impact your ability to attend institutes of higher education. Learn more about these impacts here.

You may lose your job, your housing allowance, your medical insurance.  Depending on your rank, these benefits can easily add up to over $50-120,000 per year. Getting medical insurance as a civilian will likely cost more than $12,000 per year for an individual and twice that for a family.

You may lose your retirement. The loss of your retirement alone could equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost income to you and your family.

You may lose your VA benefits. Most junior servicemembers don’t understand the value of VA benefits. The best known is perhaps the GI-Bill, which will provide you or a family member nearly $100,000 in education benefits. But there are others, home loans, life insurance, health care, the list goes on. Check here to learn more about the value of the benefits you have earned.

You may be required to pay back enlistment bonuses or Academy education expenses. Academy educations are valued as high as $200,000 and the government will likely “garnish” any future income to recoup these costs.

You may face a lifetime of difficulty in getting future jobs. Most employers will know if you have been separated from the military for disciplinary reasons. If you have a court martial conviction, you will have a felony record, making federal, state or local government jobs nearly impossible to obtain and getting hired into most well-paying civilian jobs very difficult.

Be Informed! Click here to learn more about the consequences of a conviction.

These costs are not listed to scare you, but to inform you. Too often, clients don’t consider these costs. Please consider them now. There is an INCREDIBLE amount riding on the outcome of this process…you are absolutely correct in searching for the best team to help you fight to avoid these outcomes. An experienced legal team can make a world of difference in that fight.

Whether you team up with Don or another experienced civilian military lawyer, or decide to go forward with your uniformed attorney, make sure you have as much experience on your team as possible.

If you have additional questions, please give us a call and let us see if we can help.

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

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King Military Law
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Jess SackettJess Sackett
20:19 15 Sep 23
Mr King recently defended my daughter for misconduct. His defense ended with a unanimous board decision clearing my daughter of that charge. Mr King was tenacious and unrelenting in her case. His staff are true professionals and highly skilled and experienced in preparing the cases. If you or someone you know needs a lawyer who will fight for you Mr King is the one you want in your corner.
Liv SLiv S
07:58 06 Sep 23
My journey with King Military Law began when my Navy Reserve Center falsely accused me of committing a crime but failed to notify me until nearly a year had passed after said crime. I was literally looking at losing everything I had ever worked towards the 16 years I had spent in the military to include a burgeoning career in the healthcare sector, my security clearance, my G.I Bill benefits, ect. If you think that situation can’t get any more stressful, try searching for legal counsel who will treat your case with the utmost importance instead of just a money grab. Thankfully, I found King Military Law quickly and was sold from the many 5-star reviews to Don’s impressive resume, and Kasheta’s prompt response to my initial query.During the consultation, Don did not shy away even after I explained the details of my rather complex case. In fact, he seemed to relish in the challenge of it all. Once retained, he and the rest of his legal team immediately began working various angles of my case and even provided further support by helping me navigate through several legal forms provided by my command to ensure that none of my rights were signed away.As it is the Navy Reserve, I had to wait several months for my Administrative Separation Board to convene; however, Don and his legal team always answered any questions that I had or dealt with any situations that arose in a timely manner and kept me in the loop as new details emerged.To say I was beyond stressed out the weekend of my Administrative Separation Board is an understatement, Angela’s positive demeanor and Don’s encouraging words were greatly appreciated. Don is a talented legal force and well versed in proceedings, his eloquence and extensive knowledge of military law is clear. However, what stuck out to me the most is the moment when the opposing counsel launched a particularly catty and rather unwarranted personal attack on my character. Don immediately but gracefully rebuffed his attack, providing a compelling and moving argument in which he showered me with praise and related similar experiences he had in the navy to my case in order to appeal to board members on my behalf.Thanks to King Military Law, I was able to win my case and can finally relax for the first time in nearly a year. I can’t thank the exceptional legal team (Don, Kasheta, Angela, and Ashley) enough for their tireless efforts, they’re absolute consummate professionals who truly care about their clients and will always go that extra mile for them. I HIGHLY recommend King Military Law to any service members in need and seeking out legal counsel.
Eddie RobinsonEddie Robinson
02:35 04 Sep 23
Mr. King & his associates (Ms. Kasheta) were very responsive and caring to me and my son's case. They explained in terms I could understand, they were timely, and they were caring. My son had serious charges against him and I am hundreds of miles away on the East coast and very scared. He was able to be there to see my son and let him know he had someone on his side. I know we pay for attorneys but you want to feel comfortable with your choice. My son is coming home free & clear. You will be very satisfied with King Military Law when you just can't be there yourself. THANK YOU MR KING & STAFF. posting from : Alethia
Hailey PorterHailey Porter
15:24 30 Aug 23
King Military Law saved my best friend's life and career. The Navy likely illegally separated a close friend of mine with 14 years of service, at the time, as a Sailor. As was I, she was stuck overseas in Afghanistan in 2020 due to the travel ban Gen Miller initiated to prevent personnel from entering and leaving Theater. She wasn't able to fulfill her naval obligations due to the ban. She fought tooth and nail to come back into service and went through MEPs for a second time to continue serving. The Navy again tried to ADSEP the sailor for a separate reason, and that's when she hired King Military Law. If my friend was given her charges she would've lost her medical career, intelligence career, and at this point 16 years of active service. I was present for her ADSEP board and watched King Military Law in action. The process was extremely nerve-racking. The recorder wasn't pulling any punches about my friend's character they were trying to portray to the board. King Military Law's kindness, professionalism, and strategy saved her life. They helped her beat a case that typically the service member wouldn't win. I 10/10 recommend King Military Law. For the first time in 2 years, my friend is able to truly rest and breathe.
Bryce BeeckmanBryce Beeckman
04:26 30 Aug 23
Don is absolutely amazing, I cannot thank him enough for how much he helped me out with my case. He knows the Navy legal system inside out and has a ton of experience. If it weren’t for him I would have never been reinstated. My chain of command literally tried to rail road me, twist my story, and even tried to tell me that it was illegal to get legal representation, but Don worked with me every step of the way. Before contacting Don I spoke with other lawyers and they did not care at all, and didn’t even listen to me and my case. The JAG even blew me off and told me that I was going to loose, didn’t even want to help me out, but Don did it, and got my rank back. I’m so incredibly grateful that he had my back. Don is the way to go for anything legal dealing with the Navy, hese #1 in my books.
Dina TrujilloDina Trujillo
04:46 15 Aug 23
Where do I begin? This will be a bit lengthy as I want to share my experience King Military Law. There aren’t enough words to express how grateful, blessed, and completely honored we are to have had Don King and his team representing my Marine. A few months ago, my son found himself in a very difficult, very scary and extremely stressful situation. A parents worst nightmare. My son was being FALSLEY accused of of a very serious crime. My son had no chance to speak his truth, and was immediately guilty in the eyes of command with absolutely no chance for a positive outcome. This was extremely heart wrenching to a mother who 100% knows without a doubt that her son is innocent, it completely broke me and tore me apart. There was nothing I could do. Once Don heard my sons case he immediately took action. Don ensured that my sons rights were protected. Don protected my Marine when I could not. Don made sure that my son would not get screwed out of what he was entitled to, since my son was a few months from completing his enlistment.Don fought for my boy, presented facts and had these serious charges dismissed against my son, all without having to go to court martial. Don believed in my son from day one and relentlessly fought for him.Don is caring and compassionate and genuinely cares. While going through this stressful situation, Don made sure to reach out to my Marine a few times a week to check in with my son to make sure he was mentally and emotionally doing well. Don kept us updated throughout the process and we always knew what to expect. In the end my son was separated under honorable conditions and is now home. All which never would’ve happened without Don. Don saved my sons career and ensured that my son could have a successful and bright future in the civilian world.I promise that you will not find another Military Attorney with the experience and knowledge that Don has, just take a look at his resume. Don is a warrior who will run circles around anyone. Thank you so much Don and Kasheta for everything! Forever thankful.
Rancell GonzalezRancell Gonzalez
06:29 08 Aug 23
This guy has the best legal team in the nation, hands down. All odds were against my best friend, another co-worker, and myself. Somehow, he managed to win every single battle. Don King literally fought for us 24/7, it did not matter to him whether it was the weekend or late at night. Don always answers the phone provides support through stressful times. Don is a winner, what can I say. I will always be forever grateful that I hired this man. When you go to court with him, you will see that you didn't waste your money and time, but you invested it. This guy awesome, I would hire him a 10000000000000 times if had to because I know he will win.
Kiki WhiteKiki White
00:27 13 Jul 23
Mr. King went above and beyond during our consultation. He was professional, knowledgeable, and very thorough. We went over the 30 minutes. Mr. King did not try to rush me off the phone. This is an attorney who truly cares for a client or potential client. I would highly recommend retaining Mr. King as an attorney. Thank you so much for your assistance Mr. King!
Jeovani StouteJeovani Stoute
02:47 05 Jul 23
Mr. King provided advice for a pending legal issue I am facing. His experience, professional demeanor, and care is unmatched.
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.

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