How Likely Is It That I Won’t Be Charged?

Callers on consultations ask whether they will be charged at all; they also ask about the chances or the odds or for percentages. Each of these concerns comes from a place of anxiety because they fear the unknown. That is natural. By calling, they are looking for a lifeline. I get it.

For those who ask how likely it is or is not that they will be charged, I answer fairly standard advice: I have no idea. What I can say is that in the current climate, it will depend almost exclusively on whether or not there is a willing witness. If there is a complainant who says he or she wants to testify, then a trial will occur. This is the response if the person truly means charging, as in the filing of a criminal complaint to head to court-martial. Many callers do not understand the significance of titling and indexing, which occurs as a result of the law enforcement investigation. More information is available regarding NCIC database and probable cause determinations.

I reinforce that no caller should attempt to influence whether or not a complaining witness decides to testify or not, lest they receive significant additional potential charges such as obstructing justice or violation of a lawful (no contact / military protective) order.

These callers, of whom there are many, long to know what will happen. That is natural. Most receive my answer well, and they really just needed a nudge back to the reality of their situation. It isn’t a sales tactic; it is the truth. There is no way to know. But formulating a plan to conduct a parallel investigation goes a long way in providing some answers to know what should be anticipated. Participating in an investigation through counsel is one option if our internal thorough defense parallel investigation supports it.

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