Military Justice 101

Are you or someone you know an active duty service member who’s facing separation or court martial? Don't know where to turn? Don’t worry, I have your back!



I’m Lawyer Alexandria Serra, this is Lawyer Talk Thursday (catch it every week on Instagram @alexandriaserra), and I’m here to remind you that you have rights and I have answers.


If you’re an active duty service member and you are the subject of either a criminal or an administrative investigation, these are some things you should know.


What to know:

1. The Constitution still applies.

You still have your rights to an attorney and your right to remain silent.


2. You may have to go to CID but you don't have to talk to military law enforcement.


Your command can certainly order you to go down to the criminal investigative division and you have to obey that order. But, you never have to make a statement. Keep quiet and ask for a lawyer. Telling “your side of the story” won’t help you!


  1. If you’re facing administrative separation, you have rights.


You absolutely have a right to consult with an attorney. If you are a service member that is facing separation through the chapter process, then you have a right to an administrative hearing. For example, if you're enlisted with over six years of service, you may be entitled to an administrative board. Or, if you're being considered for an other than honorable characterization of service, you are also entitled to an administrative hearing.


4. Whatever you're going through, don't talk and definitely don't put it in writing.


When a soldier is the subject of an investigation (criminal or administrative), they want to talk to their friends, family members, barracks lawyers, or other people. You should not talk to anyone but your lawyer.


Bottom line: if you’re facing administrative separation or criminal prosecution, talk to an attorney that specializes in military justice.


Got any questions? Feel free to let me know at