When a service member has been charged with a crime, he or she often wonders whether it’s better to negotiate and accept a pretrial agreement from the government, or to go to trial. Unfortunately, it’s not cut and dry with what is best.
Factors for Determining How to Proceed
Different situations call for different decisions on how to achieve the best outcome. There are a variety of factors that are to be considered when choosing what’s best for you and your specific situation.
Some of these factors include:
- The severity of the charge against you: is it a serious one?
- The possible negative outcome of both scenarios: what is likely to happen in each case?
- Where you have been charged (the reputation of the military judge or panel members): some judges and panel members are known for being harsh, etc.
- The credibility of your accuser: Are they believable based upon what we know about them?
- Your own credibility: Are you believable based upon what is known about you?
- The credible evidence that you have that can be admitted at trial (e.g., text messages, pictures, email, rape kit results, etc.): this can help to bolster your case – if you have it
- The level of experience of your attorney concerning similar issues to yours: Has he or she taken on a lot of clients with the same issues before?
- What you stand to lose – if you are to lose (e.g., parental rights, dishonorable discharge, losing your freedom, etc.): What could be the worst case scenario in each case
Be Sure to Consider All Factors When Making a Decision
When contemplating which “route” to go, it’s imperative that you look at and consider the pros and cons of both options (pre-trial agreement vs. going to trial). Put simply, you should try to consider all of the factors that could impact the result of the charges against you.
It is also in your best interest to consult with a qualified Colorado Military attorney who can help to inform you of your options and potential outcomes and share their expertise and experience with you. They often have experience with knowing when a pre-trial agreement tends to yield positive results, and when going to trial is more likely the better option.
The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with a Crime
The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible. If you are a military service member (active or reserve) and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!