Military Defense

Military Defense Law Firm

Protecting the Rights of U.S. Military Personal at Home and Overseas

If you have been accused of a crime, you likely have urgent concerns about your rights, your options, and your future. It is important to get legal advice as early as possible in the process, and we are standing by to help you. If you are a servicemember, you face uniquely high stakes when confronted with a criminal allegation—stakes that can derail your military career, costing you your GI Bill, millions of dollars in retirement, your honorable discharge, and even your freedom. If you are a South Carolina resident, you face the loss of freedom, loss of money, and loss of reputation.

It is essential that you retain experienced, aggressive attorneys that know how to assert your rights. At The Hanzel Law Firm, we understand the complexity of the South Carolina criminal justice system, the Federal Court System, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the military Administrative Separation process, and how to make effective complaints. We know what it takes to protect our clients and to assert their rights and are confident we can help you.

Do not hesitate to be proactive in your defense. Contact our offices today to request a consultation with our Attorney.

Proven Track Record of Success Defending Servicemen & Women

We understand that every case is unique. We have represented Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Coastguardsmen for many areas, including: Charleston, Beaufort, and Fort Stewart, South Carolina; Whidbey Island, Bremerton, Bangor, Everett and Seattle, Washington; Naval Station Norfolk, Naval Air Station Oceana, Little Creek, Dam Neck, Fort Eustis. Fort Lee and Portsmouth, Virginia; Naval Station Rota, Spain; San Diego, Naval Air Station Lemoore, Miramar, Los Angeles and Alameda, California; Jacksonville, Mayport, Key West, and Miami, Florida; Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, and Atlanta, Georgia; Alaska; North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Washington DC, and many other locations.

We have also been stationed overseas and have spent time in Iraq, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, in Naples and Sigonella, Italy, and on ships at sea in the Arabian Gulf. We have experience traveling to clients and crime scenes and will not hesitate to do that if it will help you with your case.

We serve clients in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio ,Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washiongton D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Europe and around the globe.

Developing Winning Defense Strategies

Whether it is initiating an investigation into abuses at a military facility, determining a strategy for winning a high-profile court-martial rape trial, or identifying the right time to deal and saving a client 30+ years in the brig with an exceptional pre-trial agreement (PTA), we understand how to evaluate cases. If you are falsely accused, you need someone on your side who will fight to exonerate you. If the evidence is against you, you may need a veteran negotiator to achieve the best deal possible. Whether you are facing the loss of your career, adverse administrative action, or criminal accusations, you can count on us to protect your rights, just as we have for hundreds of servicemembers as JAGs on active duty. If you would like to appeal an unjust result, make a complaint, or force the Government to investigate abuses of authority, we have the experience you need because we have been there and done it successfully. We value your side of the story and will listen carefully to what your goals are. In every case, with every client, our promise to you is that we will work with you to help you understand what you are facing, provide honest feedback and advice, and fight to achieve the best outcome for you.

Civilian Court vs. Military Court

Civilian courts and military courts are two distinct legal systems that operate under different sets of rules and procedures. Here are some of the key differences between civilian court and military court:

  • Jurisdiction: Civilian courts have jurisdiction over a wide range of criminal and civil cases that involve civilians, while military courts have jurisdiction over criminal cases that involve military personnel who have violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
  • Composition: Civilian courts are typically composed of a judge, a jury, and lawyers representing both the prosecution and the defense. In contrast, military courts are often presided over by a military judge and a panel of military officers who serve as the jury.
  • Rules of evidence: While both civilian and military courts follow rules of evidence, the rules can be different. For example, hearsay evidence may be admissible in military courts, but not in civilian courts.
  • Speed of proceedings: Military court proceedings are generally faster than civilian court proceedings because the UCMJ requires cases to be resolved more quickly.
  • Punishments: Military courts can impose unique punishments, such as dishonorable discharge or reduction in rank, that are not available in civilian courts.
  • Appeals process: The appeals process for military court cases is different than that for civilian court cases. Military court cases are appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), which is a federal court that hears appeals from all military branches, while civilian court cases are typically appealed to a state or federal appellate court.

Overall, the main difference between civilian court and military court is that military court is designed to address offenses committed by military personnel, while civilian court handles cases involving civilians.

At The Hanzel Law Firm, we assess each case for:

  • Constitutional rights violations
  • Chain-of-custody/evidentiary issues
  • Evidence or testimony that should be suppressed from trial
  • Improper conduct by law enforcement investigators
  • Mischaracterization of the evidence by the prosecution
  • Missed evidence and witnesses

Fighting to Protect Your Rights, Career & Future—The Hanzel Law Firm. Call our offices at (843) 202-4714 today to learn more.

Commonly Asked Questions

What are the consequences of military crimes for servicemembers?

Servicemembers accused of military crimes face severe consequences that can impact their entire career and future. These repercussions can include the loss of military benefits such as the GI Bill, substantial financial losses including millions in retirement funds, the forfeiture of an honorable discharge, and in some cases, imprisonment. The stakes are incredibly high, which is why it's crucial to have a defense that understands the intricacies of military law and the UCMJ.

Why is it important to get legal advice early in a criminal case?

Obtaining legal advice early in a criminal case is crucial because it allows for immediate action to protect your rights and interests. Early intervention can often lead to more favorable outcomes, as your defense team can begin crafting a strategic response, preserving evidence, and advising you on how to proceed during investigations and questioning. The Hanzel Law Firm emphasizes the importance of being proactive to ensure the best defense is prepared from the outset.