An administrative separation (“Ad Sep”) board is the military’s way of firing servicemembers without going through formal Arizona court-martial proceedings. Unlike being terminated from a civilian job, however, being kicked out of the service via an ADSEP Board carries disastrous consequences, including a less-than-honorable discharge. Receiving a general discharge under honorable or less-than-honorable conditions drastically impacts future employment opportunities and threatens your hard-earned VA health and education benefits. Whether you are stationed at Yuma Proving Grounds, Davis-Monthan AFB, Luke AFB, or Fort Huachuca, an Arizona military administrative separation defense attorney at Stone Rose Law can help.
The ADSEP Board is made up of three members. These will be military servicemembers of more senior rank than the accused – typically, it will be a combination of two officers and a senior enlisted. If you are a member of the active-reserve component, full-time support, or any other category of reserve servicemember serving on active duty, one member must share your designation. If you are an active-reserve servicemember, one of the board members must also be a member of the active-reserve component.
Furthermore, if you are female or a minority, you have the right to request an ADSEP board member that shares your gender or that is a minority.
If you are facing an ADSEP board, you are entitled to have a JAG attorney represent you. In addition to the free JAG counsel, you may retain a private attorney to defend you. Whether or not you should roll the dice with JAG or hire an attorney is a decision that you must make yourself. Note that your JAG counsel will generally remain on the case to assist and advise the private attorney if you do hire a private attorney.
Many individuals seek to retain private counsel. JAG attorneys are competent; however, they are still in the military. They are subject to the chain of command, performance evaluations, and more. This has led to many criticizing JAG defense attorneys as timid or afraid to ruffle feathers or vigorously defend clients for fear of their careers. A private Arizona military ADSEP defense attorney does not have these same concerns.
There are so many ways to get to an ADSEP board that it is amazing there are any military members left at all!
First, it is essential to note that an ADSEP board is a separate proceeding from a court-martial or non-judicial punishment (NJP or Article 15). Any violation of the UCMJ can lead to an ADSEP board. Often, commands will opt for an ADSEP board in lieu of court-martial or NJP because it is faster and much easier to separate a servicemember.
Any violation of the UCMJ can give rise to an administrative separation board, but by far, the most common are insubordination or testing positive on a urinalysis for drugs. Moreover, violations of civilian law can result in ADSEP boards being convened – DUIs, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, and the like can all serve as the basis for an ADSEP board.
However, violating the UCMJ or civilian law is only one way a service member can find themselves called to the carpet. Poor performance, failing to maintain height and weight standards, or an alleged pattern of misconduct can also land a service member in front of an ADSEP board. If you have more questions about how one gets to an ADSEP board, speak with a knowledgeable Arizona military lawyer at Stone Rose Law.
An ADSEP board must fulfill four steps during the proceedings:
After making the applicable findings above, the Board transmits the recommendation up the chain of command to the first General or other general courts-martial convening authority. This individual makes the ultimate determination as to whether to accept, reject, or suspend the findings of the ADSEP Board.
Not every service member is facing separation rates from an ADSEP Board. Generally, those individuals facing an other-than-honorable discharge and/or those with more than six years of active service are entitled to an ADSEP Board.
Surprisingly, quite a few! It is vital to have an experienced and aggressive Arizona military administrative separation defense attorney on your side so that you can assert your rights and ensure the government is not infringing or impeding your rights.
Above all, you have the right to due process and the benefit of the doubt. To be sure, the burden for the government is depressingly low – more likely than not. Moreover, military regulations can create different presumptions which work against the accused.
You have the right to a clear explanation of the allegations and to see the evidence the government intends to use against you before the hearing.
You have the right to call witnesses to testify on your behalf and to cross-examine witnesses called against you. This can be a powerful tool to undermine the credibility of adverse witnesses and show the ADSEP Board that the member is more than just the allegations against them.
Most importantly, you have the right to an impartial and fair ADSEP board. Your Arizona military ADSEP defense attorney can question board members regarding any potential biases or issues and have that member removed from the board.
Yes. ADSEP Boards are very winnable, with an experienced and aggressive military ADSEP defense lawyer fighting on your behalf. It is understandable to feel hopeless and afraid – you have worked hard and served honorably, and now all of that may be at risk. While the stakes are high – your career, your benefits, and even your reputation are on the line – having the right attorney on your side can make all the difference.
Are you or a loved one facing administrative separation? Contact the experienced Arizona military ADSEP defense lawyers at Stone Rose Law today. Contact us online or call our law office at (480) 498-8998 for a free consultation – nationwide. Our attorneys stand ready to defend you just as you have defended this nation.