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.
This blog post is part of a series…
- No Crystal Ball For Military Justice
- What Are The Chances That If I Go All The Way To Trial That I Will Be Convicted?
- Is My Retained Civilian Lawyer Doing What He Should Be?
- Does It Sound Like My Military Counsel Will Be Enough To Successfully Represent Me In My Trial
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