FAQs for Military Parents

My child is in trouble at a distant military base. What can I do?

My son or daughter has left the service without permission, and doesn’t know what to do next. How can I help them?

My son or daughter has been placed into pretrial confinement, restriction, or some sort of “administrative unit,” and nothing seems to be happening. How can I help?

My child has a military attorney, but he doesn’t return my calls, and my son or daughter indicates that they have not met to discuss their case. Can you help?

My child is in trouble at a distant military base. What can I do? As a parent who sends a son or daughter off to serve their country, it is frightening to receive notification – either from your child or from their chain of command – that they are in serious legal trouble. The dedicated young man or woman that you saw graduate from training, who had shown such promise starting their military career, suddenly finds themselves in trouble – medical, administrative, or legal – and are confined, moved to a “separations” or “administrative processing” unit, or have their liberty restricted pending some adverse action. Or worse yet, you learn that your child has been reported absent without leave (AWOL) and a warrant has been issued for their arrest.

What can you do?  You can ensure that your son or daughter has a highly qualified attorney – one with specialized experience in military law – protecting their interests at each stage of the proceeding that will follow. Contact Walther Law P.C. for a free consultation.
RETURN TO QUESTIONS

My son or daughter has left the service without permission, and doesn’t know what to do next. How can I help them? Unauthorized absence (i.e., AWOL) is a potentially serious offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the severity of the offense increases with each day the service remains absent. Usually, after 30 days, the offense becomes even more serious when the military declares the service member a “deserter” and issues a warrant – called a “DD Form 553” – for their arrest. Another aggravating factor occurs if their return to military custody and control is “involuntary” – for example, the police stop them in a routine traffic stop and discover the deserter warrant, or local authorities come to the house with a warrant for their arrest.

Active Duty military lawyers are not authorized to do much more than advise a service member to turn themselves in, and are prevented from taking your son or daughter as a client until they are charged or confined. An experienced civilian military attorney can facilitate the return of your son or daughter to military control and immediately begin working to resolve the legal issues they face. 
RETURN TO QUESTIONS

My son or daughter has been placed into pretrial confinement, restriction, or some sort of “administrative unit,” and nothing seems to be happening. How can I help? Often young men and women join the armed forces, complete their basic training, and then encounter problems that derail them from their goals of becoming productive members of their occupational field. The causes can be many—an injury during training, the uncovering of a pre-existing physical or emotional problem that was not known until exposure to the stress of military service, or the effect of poor decisions, such as use of drugs resulting in a positive urinalysis, or periods of unauthorized absences (known as AWOL in the Army and Air Force, UA in the Navy and Marine Corps). Once encountering these problems, they are categorized as separate from those who are progressing in a normal career, and frequently moved into central collection points, sometimes called “legal companies or platoons,” “separations companies or platoons,” “Transient Personnel Units,” or “Remain Behind Elements “ pending administrative or disciplinary proceedings. The conditions of these central collections points often present real difficulties to these young men and women. Because of their disciplinary status, they have little motivation to grow, improve, or progress toward a definable goal. They are housed with others who have a low level of motivation, and frequently fall under the influence of people who could inspire them to get in more trouble.

At the same time, the units that are processing them often have no sense of urgency because of their focus on the military mission or an upcoming deployment, and as a result these young men and women linger in the units for months without any forward progress in their cases. This results in waste of time, the danger of additional misconduct, and the potential for more negative characterizations of service.

Too often, military defense lawyers have minimal contact with service members in these units, and have little obligation to follow through after they play their part of advising them of their rights and assisting them in making a processing decision. A civilian military attorney can intervene early, follow through the entire process, prod the command when things stall, and getting your service member either back into work or out into a place where he or she can begin to progress and grow again. Contact Walther Law P.C. for a free consultation regarding your options.
RETURN TO QUESTIONS

My child has a military attorney, but he doesn’t return my calls, and my son or daughter indicates that they have not met to discuss their case. Can you help? Your son or daughter is entitled to the free advice and counsel of an active duty military lawyer at certain stages of the administrative or disciplinary process. That advice, however, is often limited by three significant factors:

  1. Active duty military lawyers are not permitted to form attorney client relationships with person pending action until after charges are filed, a person is confined, or some other triggering event. This often gives the prosecutor a significant period of time to prepare their case before the accused person has the right to consult with military counsel. Military lawyers' representation also revolves around a discrete “specific” proceeding, and does not involve the duty to follow through on administrative matters after that proceeding is complete.

2. Military lawyers function in the role of “public defenders,” and often are carrying significant case loads. They tend to focus on the more “serious” cases first, and begin to exert more energy toward the case as a significant milestone approaches. As a result, less serious cases tend to linger on the back burner until a crisis time arrives.

3. Military lawyers are often relatively young and inexperienced. They are graduates of certified law schools and have received training in military law, but quite frequently are in their first or second year of actual practice, and may have been a defense attorney for relatively few months due to their rotation through other jobs. As a result, they are struggling mightily to learn an unfamiliar system. Experience shows that they are generally eager, bright, honest and conscientious in the performance of their duties. But they are, in essence, cutting their teeth in the case that significantly impacts your child’s future.
While there are many qualified and dedicated military attorneys, few are in a position to give your child the dedicated, defense-in-depth offered by Walther Law P.C.  Attorney Mike Walther has 28 years of experience in all aspects of the military justice system, and can respond immediately to meet personally with your son or daughter – even if they are confined or restricted. With your help, we can intervene immediately to start working to protect their rights, represent them aggressively in the military system, and work toward the best possible outcome in their case. Contact Walther Law P.C. for a free consultation regarding your options.

RETURN TO QUESTIONS

 

Contact Us

Phone Johnstown: 814-254-4979
Phone New Orleans: 504-571-9215


FAX: 866-260-7252
 
EMAIL:
MESSAGE:
Facebook Linkedin