Military Officer Misconduct Defense Attorneys
Safeguard Your Reputation with The Hanzel Law Firm Serving Mt. Pleasant & Charleston
If you are a U.S. military officer serving in any branch of service, even an allegation of misconduct can derail your career, hold up a promotion, or prevent you from screening for your next job or even PCS’ing. Attorney Michael Hanzel and Lauren Hanzel both served for over a decade as JAG officers and know the ins and outs of defending officers against allegations of misconduct. We understand that when an officer goes to NJP, it has different consequences than for an enlisted servicemember, making the decision of whether or not to accept more significant. We also understand that because officers cannot get jail time or discharges at a special court-martial, less serious allegations against an officer are more likely to go to a general court-martial. We have defended military officers at Article 32 hearings and General Court-Martial, we have helped them prepare for NJP, and we have protected officers’ careers at Boards of Inquiry. We understand that the rules often differ in officer cases.
Attorneys Michael Hanzel and Lauren Hanzel both have vast experience dealing with officer cases, from O-1 to O-7. Michael Hanzel has established a highly successful track record defending officers, including Commanding Officers, Executive Officers, Flag Officers, Medical Officers, Pilots, NFO’s, Submariners, LDO’s, retirement-eligible officers and junior officers in a variety of military communities. His cases have ranged from GDMA and ethics cases, to substantiated IG investigation cases to unsubstantiated investigation cases that still went forward to accusations of sexual and personal misconduct.
Board of Inquiry / BOI Defense With The Hanzel Law Firm
When a U.S, military department wants to administratively separate, or “fire,” an officer, there is a separate process than for enlisted Soldiers, Airman, Coastguardsmen, Marines and Sailors. On active duty, Attorney Lauren Hanzel served as the recorder (i.e. the prosecutor), representing the Government as it tried to separate officers, including several high-profile Commanding Officer misconduct cases. She won separation in all of the Boards of Inquiry she prosecuted. Attorney Michael Hanzel has achieved outstanding results defending clients at Boards of Inquiry (BOI), whether it was winning retention in 100% of his Boards of Inquiry in Bremerton and Whidbey Island, WA, from 2011-2014 or defending officers in Norfolk, VA, and Washington DC from 2014-17. We understand that each case is unique, and we can assess where the fight lies in your case, whether that is pursuing a “no-basis” vote, a retention vote, trying to maximize your discharge or retiring in-grade or at the highest pay-grade possible. He has implemented strategies to accomplish these goals for medical officers, line officers, other staff corps officers, and limited-duty officers (LDO) at their BOI. At The Hanzel Law Firm, we understand the different sets of rules and consequences in Officer Misconduct Cases, and we understand both how to navigate the military bureaucracy to fight for you, as well as what strategies are most likely to succeed at a BOI.
What a BOI decides:
- Does the evidence support the basis or not (i.e. did misconduct occur)
- Should the officer be retained in the service
- If misconduct is found, what characterization of service should the officer receive
- If retirement eligible, what pay-grade should the officer be retired in
The Value of a Civilian Attorney in Military Officer Cases
The value of a civilian attorney can be especially significant in Officer cases. For example, you will find that retaining a civilian attorney is typically the only way to have a lawyer dedicated specifically to your case if you are only under investigation because military TDS / DSO offices rarely detail attorneys until charges are preferred at Court-Martial or a Board of Inquiry has been ordered. It is crucial to get personalized advice, especially at the early stages of your case. We can be by your side from beginning to end. In our experience defending officers, it is remarkable how often even very senior officers unwittingly make decisions early on after being accused, such as waiving their right to remain silent, that severely hurt their cases down the road. Retaining an attorney from the beginning ensures you have a confidential subject matter expert whose only interest is protecting you.
At The Hanzel Law Firm, we know what is at stake for you and your family. We are standing by to help protect your career and fight for your rights.
Fighting to Protect Your Rights, Career & Future. Call our firm at (843) 202-4714 today to learn more about what we can do for you at this critical time.