Over 500+ Successful Court Cases & Counting: See Reviews ➔
500+ Successful Court Cases & Counting: See Reviews ➔

UCMJ Expert Counterstrategies

UCMJ Investigations

UCMJ investigations are not conducted by neutral agents looking for the truth. They are conducted by military investigators out to prove your guilt and Bilecki knows how to counter them at every stage of the process.

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How to Know If You’re Under Investigation And What To Do

If you are reading this right now, there is a better than average chance that you as a military service member or a military service member you love is under criminal investigation. We don’t have a ton of traffic that comes here for leisurely reading, but if that’s you then go check out our base location pages because they are some top notch reading. Right now, let’s assume you are under investigation and get right to it.

Because if you are under investigation by the military justice system then you need to hire a lawyer now. Not later, not when you are charged, not when it’s time for a Court Martial, but right now. If you don’t hire us, that’s fine, but please hire someone because when you are under investigation by the military, a war you didn’t ask for is coming for your career, retirement, or even your freedom.

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Facing a Military Investigation?

How Do I Know If I Am Under Investigation?

If you’ve been summoned by any criminal investigative agency like CID, OSI, NCIS, or others as a suspect, or if you’ve been read your Article 31b rights under the UCMJ, you’re currently under investigation. If you’ve received a military protective order, it’s a clear indication of being under investigation, possibly beyond any doubt.

It’s crucial to understand that military investigators are actively working to establish your guilt. Ideally, justice should be impartial, with investigators pursuing the truth. However, the military justice system isn’t always perfect. These investigators are deeply committed to their work, and they’re currently fixated on proving your guilt above all else.

Understanding the Process

What Is Happening While I’m Under Investigation?

The way the military investigative system works is that they start an investigation of an individual as a target. Unfortunately, that target is you right now. That is the important distinction you need to understand. They are not investigating the crime, they are investigating you, looking for proof that you did it. It’s not a case of “who did it”, it’s “we know who did it and how can we prove it.”

A classic example would be a Sexual Assault Case. The victim says you assaulted her in the barracks while she was drunk and proving that true now becomes their mission. They don’t want to know if she actually was drunk or if the two of you had completely consensual sex. They want to prove that she was too drunk to consent. It is confirmation bias at its worst and they are going to begin a three ring investigation looking for evidence to that end. It’s not fair to you, the service member, and as long as the military justice system has a body to prosecute, the military investigators consider their job done. Now let’s talk about the three ring investigation process.


The Investigation Rings

Ring 1

The First Ring Investigation

In a military barracks room where a sexual assault is alleged, investigators focus on finding evidence to prove guilt. They exhibit confirmation bias, ignoring facts that contradict their beliefs and are emotionally invested in proving guilt. Instead of open-ended questions, they ask leading questions to witnesses, like suggesting heavy drinking prior to the assault, using responses to imply the victim’s inability to consent. These investigators, skilled in their tactics, are just beginning their extensive investigative process.

Ring 2

The Second Ring Investigation

In the forensic evidence phase, law enforcement prioritizes obtaining the suspect’s phone, a vital source of data. Investigators’ focus on phone data, including contacts, GPS, and internet history, often leads to the seizure of all digital devices. Initially seeking limited access, they perform comprehensive forensic analysis, extracting even deleted information. This extensive data mining forms a crucial part of their investigation, potentially impacting the suspect’s case significantly.

Ring 3

The THIRD Ring Investigation

In the third stage of investigation, investigators delve into the suspect’s past, ignoring positive achievements and focusing solely on finding incriminating evidence. They interview a wide range of people from the suspect’s life, including family, ex-partners, and even casual contacts, aiming to reshape perceptions of the suspect’s character. The goal is to amplify the case, often turning a single allegation into multiple accusations. This method reflects their primary objective: proving guilt rather than seeking the truth


How Long Does the Investigation Process Take?

A straightforward, low-profile case can conclude in about 90 days, but complex cases like sexual assault or financial fraud might take up to a year. This delay frustrates the accused, who feel their life is on hold. A lengthy investigation can also create a false sense of security, as silence from law enforcement doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten the case. They collaborate with the JAG to gather what’s needed for a conviction. The command, advised by the JAG, decides on prosecution. If a court-martial seems unlikely, they might opt for Non-Judicial Punishment or administrative actions, leading to a less than honorable discharge. This process can ruin careers, even without a trial, underscoring the importance of fighting back against false allegations.

Urgency of Legal Defense

Why You Need To Hire A Lawyer Now If You Are Under Investigation

Some service members initially consider hiring a Court Martial Defense lawyer when they discover they are under investigation but delay as the process drags on. Then, when the charge sheet is finally issued, they panic and reach out to us.

What they may not realize is that during the past 6 to 12 months, military investigators have been meticulously building a strong case against them through all three stages of the investigation. Now, you’re trying to catch up while the entire weight of the military justice system has been preparing for this moment.

You may end up with a JAG defense attorney at the Trial Defense Service or Defense Service Office who is reviewing your case for the first time. Think of it like a football team that has dedicated the entire offseason to training and practice, going up against a team with a rookie quarterback and a team that hasn’t trained at all, and the game is just a week away. This is how the military justice system operates, which explains their high conviction rates.

To stand a chance against the military justice system, you need to be prepared and engaged for as long as they are. So, let’s discuss what we do when we take on a case under investigation.

Defense Strategy Against Military Investigations

We Meet The Military Investigators Head On In Every Ring

The defense strategy against military investigations focuses on two goals. First, to prevent charges by finding evidence of innocence early and countering the prosecution’s bias. This includes independent forensic analysis and strategic interview preparation. If charges are imminent, the next goal is thorough preparation to match the prosecution’s level. This strategy aims to level the playing field in a system often skewed toward the prosecution, highlighting the importance of specialized legal counsel over JAG attorneys. The approach calls for proactive and vigorous defense from the start, emphasizing the need for dedicated legal support to effectively confront the military’s rigorous case-building tactics.

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