Practice Areas

Your Ally In The Military Justice Process

Attorney-Client relationships do have their privileges. As a team, we make it happen by:

● simplifying the complex judicial process for military members

● zeroing in on the facts

● restoring balance to lives unjustly disrupted by the system

We actively prevent detrimental actions against you from taking place. We do this by advocating on your behalf to your command to withdraw the adverse action or mitigate adverse consequences. But if the detrimental action has already taken place, we help you correct your records. So you can get back to your life.

Discharge Review Board Application

What is this? The Discharge Review Board (DRB) affords former military members the opportunity to request a review that would change the characterization of service, the reason for discharge, and the re-enlistment code (when applicable), based on standards of impropriety or inequity. Bad conduct discharges, given as a result of a special court-martial, may also be upgraded on clemency factors. An Other-than-honorable conditions discharge can impact eligibility for veterans’ benefits, the GI Bill and employment opportunities.

How do I help? I walk you through the entire process and develop a strategy to get the best possible result, based on my assessment of whether you have a favorable chance to upgrade your discharge. As the former Senior Legal Advisor and voting member of the Discharge Review Board, I have reviewed hundreds of applications by service members and know what the military looks at when deciding whether your discharge should be upgraded. An application to the Discharge Review Board must be filed within 15 years from the Discharge.

The Department of Defense (DoD) issued Supplemental Guidance (between 2014-2017) stating that liberal consideration will be given to Veterans petitioning for relief based on matters related to Mental Health conditions such as veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and veterans who are victims of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment. Boards will examine whether the above conditions mitigated the misconduct that caused a less than honorable conditions characterization of service in determining whether the veteran’s discharge should be corrected.

You should speak with an attorney to discuss your specific case and the time limits that apply with respect to cases that involve the above conditions or occurrences if the Board considered your case prior to the DoD Supplemental guidance.

Board for the Correction of Military Records (BCMR)

What is it? Active duty service members or former members of the military who discover an error in their military record can file an application to correct it before causing a hardship in your post-military life.

What do you do if you believe you are a victim of an error or injustice? It is now reflected in your official military record and you can apply to correct your records by submitting an application to the Board for Correction of Military Records for your service. This may include a request to remove an adverse document from your records, request a change to your administrative discharge record (if the 15-year time limit for the Discharge Review Board has passed), or request a removal/change to any other adverse record in your military records.

The application to the BCMR must be filed within 3 years after the discovery of the error or injustice. However, the BCMR can waive the three-year deadline in the >interest of justice. If you do not obtain the relief requested from the BCMR, you have one year to submit an application for reconsideration to the BCMR based upon new evidence that was not previously considered. If you filed a DRB application that has been denied, you may then file an application to the BCMR for an upgrade within 3 years from the DRB decision.

The Department of Defense (DoD) issued Supplemental Guidance (between 2014-2017) stating that liberal consideration will be given to Veterans petitioning for relief based on matters related to Mental Health conditions such as veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and veterans who are victims of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment. Boards will examine whether the above conditions mitigated the misconduct that caused a less than honorable conditions characterization of service in determining whether the veteran’s discharge should be corrected.

You should speak with an attorney to discuss your specific case and the time limits that apply with respect to cases that involve the above conditions or occurrences if the Board considered your case prior to the DoD Supplemental guidance.

I am here to take a stand and be your voice.

If you’re a military member (active-duty, retired, or a veteran), looking for a military law attorney to help you take a stand and be your voice against the system, reach out.

Officer Grade Determinations (OGDs)

What is this? The grade at which a military member is allowed to retire, depending on the length and quality of the individual’s service in a particular grade (rank). If an officer’s conduct or record raises questions as to the quality of his/her service in a particular grade, an officer may be retired in a lower grade.

How do I help? I walk you through the entire process and help build the strongest case possible to ensure you retire in your current grade. I provide a detailed assessment about your OGD and the strategy to get the best results. As a former Senior Legal Advisor and voting member on the board that reviewed OGDs, I know exactly what the military looks at. As the Senior Legal Advisor on General Officer OGDs, I presented cases of General Officers facing OGDs to Boards of General Officers who reviewed and made recommendations on the case.

Rebuttals: Reprimands & Non-Judicial Punishment

What are these? Military members who have been issued adverse administrative action by their command. While a reprimand can have significant impact if it becomes part of your military record, a Non-Judicial Punishment can have career-ending impact on military members.

How do I help? I guide you through the military’s investigative process and providing advice. In the case of a reprimand, I help you respond to the reprimand (including GOMORs) and advocate that the reprimand be set aside, based upon the facts of the case. I help you tailor your response to mitigate any adverse action against you.

In the case of a non-judicial punishment, I help you decide whether or not you should turn down the non-judicial punishment based upon the evidence. This is based on my assessment of whether the Government would go to trial if you turned down the non-judicial punishment.

If it is in your interest to accept the non-judicial punishment – this does not mean you concede you are guilty of the charged offenses – I advocate to your command as to why you are not guilty of the charged offense(s). In addition, we work together to clearly show your supervisory chain and commander the mitigating facts in your case to lessen any potential punishment.

Investigations: Criminal, Command, and Inspector-General (IG)

What are these? Military members who are under Command investigation (IG) or criminal investigation by Air Force (AFOSI), Army (CID), Navy (NCIS), Marine (CID), or Coast Guard (CGIS).

What do you do if you’ve been read your rights under Article 31, UCMJ? Request an attorney. Do NOT agree to answer any questions — even if you believe you are innocent. DO speak to a defense attorney, any irrelevant information can lead to more investigation.

How do I help? I guide you through the military’s investigative process and provide advice. After our discussion, I help you decide whether or not you should make a statement based upon the facts of the case.

Administrative Discharges (Officer and Enlisted)

What is this? An administrative discharge is when a military member’s command seeks to involuntarily separate a member from the armed forces through a non-judicial process. Therefore, while the member is not court-martialed, he or she is notified of the command’s intent to separate the service member from the service. The basis for discharge is either misconduct or other reasons the command believes the member is not compatible with military service. In most cases, the characterization of service is not Honorable. If a member is discharged from the service with a General (Under Honorable Conditions) or Under Other than Honorable Conditions (UOTHC) discharge, this may negatively affect the member’s ability to obtain veterans benefits and post-service employment.

How do I help? I walk you through the administrative discharge process and discuss strategies to fight the administrative discharge whether or not you are entitled to an administrative discharge board or a Board of Inquiry (BOI). I will assess your case and let you know the likelihood of a discharge based upon our discussion of your case and my analysis of the legal issues. I will advise you on the best strategy that could result in your retention in the military and advocate for the best characterization of service to ensure you are entitled to all of your veterans benefits. I will represent you at a discharge board or BOI as required.

Contact Ferah

Want more on how Ferah can help you? Send her your questions.

Email:  ferah@ferahozbek.com

Call:  202-322-7888

 

DISCLAIMER: The act of contacting our firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The information you obtain at this site is not legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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