I was arrested off base. I spoke with a military attorney that stated he believes the civilian authorities are going to release jurisdiction to the military. What does it mean to release jurisdiction and how long does that normally take?

If an alleged crime occurs off a military base but the person suspected of the offense is a serving on active duty, either the civilians or the military can assert jurisdiction to charge. When there are two agencies that could assert jurisdiction, this is known as “concurrent jurisdiction.” Release of jurisdiction means that the civilians are affirmatively deciding to give up or cede jurisdiction to the military. Ordinarily, release of jurisdiction is accomplished by the signing of a memorandum by the civilians formally giving the military jurisdiction over the matter. Formal release of jurisdiction can take a few weeks or even a few months depending on the complexity of the case, whether or not the military authorities have indicated they intend to charge the incident, and the often slow-moving bureaucracies involved. Even when jurisdiction for charging is pending, the investigation often continues to build the case with military law enforcement taking the “lead” on the investigation to work from the initial efforts of civilian law enforcement. Sexual assault allegations, even if they occur off a military installation, are most often released to the jurisdiction of the military.

Our Practice Areas

Being a former service member herself and working exclusively on military cases, Ms. Stewart has amassed experience to help in the following areas of the UCMJ:

What Our Clients Say

When faced with the decision of hiring a UCMJ specialist, Ms. Stewart’s former clients explain all that is necessary about her commitment to their case and her expertise in handling the toughest legal battles. Learn more about her unique abilities in the words of her clients, peers, and military judges.