Typically your time in the military is determined by your contract. However, there are situations where it can end earlier due to disciplinary action against you, commonly referred to as administrative separation. An administrative separation is less severe than a court-martial by the military, however, it is still in your best interest to have an experienced attorney who knows military law on your side to defend your rights. There are long-term consequences for your career both in and out of the armed services if you do nothing.
We service all of Virginia with military administrative separation matters, including Fort A.P. Hill near Bowling Green, Fort Lee in Prince George County, Fort Eustis near Newport News, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall around Arlington, Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Naval Weapons Station Yorktown in York County & Langley AFB adjacent to Hampton & Newport News.
The different military branches refer to administrative discharge with various terms, including admin discharge, admin separation, AdSep, or being chaptered. Officers sometimes use administrative discharge, administrative separation, BOI or board of inquiry, show cause, and officer elimination.
An administrative separation is compared to being fired from a job as a civilian. Common reasons an administrative separation may occur includes:
- Continued misconduct
- Drug abuse
- Weight control issues
- Nonperformance or poor duty performance
As former U.S. Marines, Anthony Williams & Eric Stone understand the military, having defended cases involving administrative separation, courts-martial criminal offenses, Article 32 and command investigations, and other military law matters including AWOL and desertion, security clearance revocation, and Article 15’s. Eric Stone had the opportunity to see the worst that can happen to good men and women facing an involuntary discharge because of perceived underperformance or misconduct. It is difficult to watch many good careers go wasted that could have been saved if the service member would have sought aggressive, experienced legal counsel.
The Administrative Separation Process
If your command pursues an administrative separation against you, it will notify you in writing of:
- the basis for the separation & the recommended characterization of service
- The reason for the administrative separation
The characterization of service refers to the quality of an individual’s military service and is an important determination that can have serious consequences for your ability to obtain veterans’ benefits. The military determines the quality of service in accordance with the standards of personal conduct in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
How the Military Uses Administrative Separation
Minor misconduct, medical discharges, fraudulent entry, and unsatisfactory performance are all reasons the military might use administrative separation. Sometimes referred to as involuntary discharge, a commander cannot typically begin proceedings without making reasonable disciplinary and retraining efforts to rehabilitate the service member.
There are two types of administrative separations: notification processing and board processing.
If you are a service member who has less than six years, the least favorable characterization of service you will receive is a “General Under Honorable Conditions”. Typically command notifies you of their intent to discharge and for what reasons. Upon receiving this notification, you should call Williams Stone, PC to begin the process of writing a statement and submitting evidence of why the discharge is not warranted.
Board processing is used more frequently. As a service member, you are entitled to appear before the board if the military is seeking Other-Than-Honorable-Discharge, you are an officer, your length of time in service is greater than six years or your situation is a matter of national security. The board consists of three officers, a legal advisor, and a recorder. Unlike a court-martial, a board processing has no formal rules of evidence and decides the facts by a preponderance of the evidence. The preponderance of evidence means the offense more than likely occurred. During the hearing, you can have counsel represent you, bring witnesses, question witnesses brought against you, and challenge a member of the board.
Regardless of the process, the board will make several decisions including whether alleged misconduct has occurred. If it is found that misconduct did occur, a recommendation will be made as to whether separation is warranted and if so, what type of characterization whether it be Honorable, General, or Other-Than-Honorable.
Get an Experienced Lawyer on Your Side
An administrative separation can be every bit as serious as a court-martial conviction. You will lose your job, that is certain, but you will also most likely lose veteran’s benefits, VA loans, eligibility for other student loans, and government programs. Many also face difficulty obtaining employment.
As soon as you receive notice that an investigation is underway, you should seek legal counsel right away. The earlier you can start an aggressive defense with a military defense attorney to challenge the evidence and support your side, the better chance you will have of avoiding a possible involuntary separation. It is never too early to get an attorney on your side, and it is never too late — even if you have already made a statement implicating your guilt or involvement in the incident.
Our attorneys understand the UCMJ system and how protocol and rank affect decisions made in military hearings both criminal and administrative. Mr. Stone is a firm, aggressive negotiator with a commitment to helping service personnel get the best possible protection of their rights. It’s your career and it’s worth protecting. Mr. Williams & Mr. Stone have military defense experience in all areas of disciplinary actions, including:
- Administrative separation defense
- Court-martial defense
- Boards of inquiry representation
- General officer matters
- Revocation of security clearances
- Boards for Correction of Military Records
- Discharge Review Boards
Contact Williams Stone, PC Now
At Williams Stone, PC, we represent service members with administrative separations throughout Virginia including Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee, Fort Eustis, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Fort Belvoir, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Naval Station Norfolk, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Naval Station Oceana & Langley Air Force Base.
If you’re in trouble with the military, don’t leave your future to chance. Call our attorneys today.