What Are The Common Types Of Military Cases That You Handle?
Generally speaking, historically, military service members have been as much as 80% of Cobb Law Firm’s caseload. That’s not the typical percentage which varies from month to month from around 20% to as high as 60%. One case closes, another case opens.
Driving With Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level, traveling to meet a minor for sexual purposes, use of the computer to transmit pornographic images to a minor, domestic violence battery cases, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage are very common. It is important to remember that if a military service member is at the wrong place at the wrong time, they may find themselves in a wrong situation. Specifically, if a police officer believes they’re on the wrong side of the law, it could result in being arrested, charged, and prosecuted for criminal offense. There are many ways this can happen.
Police officers often have to make very quick decisions to arrest people based on information they have received from others. Often, they don’t have all of the information or they have inaccurate information. Most people would be amazed at how often military service members are targeted by people they know who file false accusations against them. This happens to military personnel in both felony arrest warrant cases that take weeks or even months to have the warrant issued, and also with felony and misdemeanor arrests made in the field with little time to analyze all the facts.
Boating under the influence is always problematic: there have been far too many cases where service members or their dependents have been handcuffed on a boat and then injured because they could not balance. Of course, they were given field sobriety exercises right after they had just hit their head on the boat and were expected to perform these “tests” perfectly. Not to mention that someone with sea legs is going to perform differently than someone who hasn’t spent several hours on a boat or a personal watercraft.
Due to the large number of service members returning from active duty deployments and hotspots around the world, there has been a dramatic upswing in cases where soldiers, sailors, marines and members of the USAF have had their brains injured due to impact traumas and PTSD. These brain traumas have resulted in perfectly normal, upstanding citizens to commit criminal offenses. The most surprising crime increase among military members returning after deployment? Nonviolent ex offenses.
There are a large number of sex offense charges. One man in his late 20s who had never been interested in child pornography or sex with minors in his life and had no criminal record, came back from deployment and suddenly had an interest in sex with underage minors. Unfortunately, this is far more common than the military acknowledges. When sent for testing, his brain images were highly abnormal just like every single military service member arrested and brain imaged since 2005. He needs treatment not prison. This has to be one of the biggest un-disclosed scandals about military deployment: horrendous behavioral changes caused by trauma suffered during deployment. The strikingly large number of military service personnel coming back from deployment and finding him or herself being accused of a sex offense has to be due to something that happened on the deployment.
Attorney Cobb has committed to not just helping military persons with their legal case but also to try and to put something in place to help them get the brain health treatment that they so desperately need and that the military is not providing.
What Should A Military Person Do When Facing Arrest?
The basics of what to do when the police start asking questions, is to ask to speak to a lawyer immediately. Many people try to talk themselves out of the arrest and end up having their words twisted into something worse than what actually happened. Military service members are extremely good at being polite and courteous. Military personnel are also used to following orders from superior officers. Law enforcement officers have been trained to use all of the training the military has provided to its service members against the military service members in order to build a case.
After all, the police are professional witness interviewers. Military members are not professional legal statement maker; it just doesn’t happen. This happens frequently in domestic violence cases. In a domestic assault or battery investigation, for example, the parties are separated and then police will begin acting real nice to the accused and, being very sympathetic but that’s a ploy. One of the things that law enforcement is taught to do is to use techniques that are non-threatening in order to get people to open up. This way, they won’t lawyer up and ask to speak to an attorney. This is pitched in the domestic violence scenario as “We just want to hear your side of the story”.
This isn’t about telling your side of the story. If the police want to ask questions, the answer is always “I would like to speak to an attorney”. When you exercise your 6th amendment right to legal counsel, it’s not like exercising your 5th amendment right to remain silent. Believe it or not, a lot of very experienced criminal defense lawyers absolutely blow this question on the board certification exam which is required in order to become a specialist in Florida. Under the 5th amendment, the police can come back every four hours if someone says “I would like to remain silent”, according to a decision by the United States Supreme Court.
However, if the same person says “Get me an attorney right now,” that absolutely is an unequivocal expression of a request for legal counsel. In fact in a case in Okaloosa County that Cobb handled many years ago, that exact phrasing was at issue. On appeal, the First District Court of Appeals reversed an improper conviction and ordered a new trial. That case was reversed four times due to legal errors by the prosecutor and the judge. Remember: there has to be an unequivocal demand to speak to an attorney prior to answering questions. Keep is simple: I would like to speak to an attorney.
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