Being a member of the military brings immediate honor and prestige. But it also comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, when it comes to being sent to jail for any crime. If you are an active duty member of the military, you can expect things to go a bit differently for you after arrest, than for a civilian. Below, we explore some of the differences and how you should handle them.
Bail for Military Members
When you experience arrest for a crime off-base or off-post, your judicial process still takes place in civilian courts. This means you go through the same paperwork, arraignment and bail hearing as non-military people. It also means you may qualify for help through a bail bondsman. After arrest, you should immediately call DJ’s Bail Bonds to help you get out of jail. And immediately get back on base before you get into deeper trouble with your military duties.
Arranging for Legal Counsel and Financial Support
One of the big benefits of being in the military is having access to legal counsel. If you qualify for this legal assistance, take advantage of its availability. Of course, by visiting your on-base legal support office, you are making the military aware of your legal problems. However, it’s highly likely they already know, or will be notified very soon anyway.
You may also quality for low-income assistance for paying your fines and fees. Typically, married military members at the E-4 level or below can get this monetary help. Most single enlisted soldiers also qualify if E-3 or below.
NC Court Date Conflicts with Military Duty
If your North Carolina court date conflicts with military duty, you can possibly reschedule your court appearance. Obviously, serving your country on a temporary duty assignment or as part of a deployment takes priority over the judicial process. But you should never skip a hearing date or fail to appear without notifying the courts. When you do attempt to reschedule, ensure you ask for the shortest possible delay. Neither the military, nor the court system, look kindly upon needless delays or missed appearances.
How Arrest Affects Your Rank and Security Clearance
Both rank and security clearance are benefits of being in good standing as a member of the military. Neither are entitlements. Unfortunately, you risk both through your arrest, charges and time spent in jail.
You will possibly lose rank to your arrest and charges. Spending anywhere from 30 days to a year locked up will knock you down a pay grade or more. Based on your charges’ outcome, criminal history and other activities, you can also lose consideration for or the right to future promotions. This, in turn, affects your job outlook and pay rate.
Many people who experience arrest lose their security clearance. Or, you can expect a reduction in that clearance. Having a higher clearance requires a clean criminal background. This means arrest and spending time behind bars limit the jobs you can do for the government. This also affects your retention, promotions and pay grade.
Military members, as well as anyone else who doesn’t want to destroy their career, don’t waste time sitting in jail. Get freed and get your stuff together and ready for your upcoming court appearance.
Military Dismissal after Time in Jail
If you face serious charges, the military can dishonorably discharge you. This usually takes away a soldier’s benefits, including health insurance, the G.I. Bill and your retirement pension. Sometimes an airman, sailor, Marine or soldier receive a general discharge and retain some benefits despite losing their military career.
Putting Jail Behind You to Focus on Your Military Career
The most important thing after being arrested is to do whatever you can to maintain your standing with the military. This usually requires having good legal representation and following every requirement put forth by the court, as well as your superiors at work. Your best first step is getting out of jail as quickly as possible through a bail bond.