How Do You Fight Administrative Separation?
When you sign up for a military career, you expect to retire at the end of your enlistment contract. However, sometimes, a service member’s conduct, disciplinary issues, the convenience of the government, or medical issues may result in administrative separation. Administrative discharges, which are the military equivalent of being fired from a job, can cause a significant negative impact on your life and your future.
If you have been notified of a proposed separation or are facing administrative separation, speak with a legal advisor as soon as possible. An experienced military defense counsel can advise you on your rights as an active service member, represent you at an Administrative Separation Board, help gather witness statements and evidence to support your defense, and help prevent a military discharge.
At Cannon & Associates, we have significant experience helping service members fight against administrative separation. Our founder and managing attorney, John Cannon, is an active service member and Judge Advocate in the Oklahoma National Guard. He has experience defending soldiers through administrative discharge cases and in all areas of military law at Fort Sill, Tinker Air Force Base, and Vance Air Force Base.
Our priority is to defend your military service, protect your freedom, and secure your future. As your Fierce Advocates, our military defense attorneys will do everything in their power to ensure a favorable outcome in your case.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a Fort Sill military defense lawyer at 405-591-3935.
What is Administrative Separation?
Administrative separation or administrative discharge is when your military service prematurely ends voluntarily or because of disciplinary issues. A voluntary administrative discharge may happen if you have an illness or family issue that requires you to leave the military early.
However, involuntary administrative discharge action can occur because of disciplinary issues with a military member, administrative matters, or the convenience of the government. Some reasons for administrative discharge processing could include:
- Drug or alcohol abuse problems
- A pattern of minor misconduct
- Nonperformance of duties
- Entry-level performance and conduct
- Discharge instead of trial by a court martial
Separate from administrative discharge, military members may also be subject to punitive discharge by a court martial. Punitive discharges may arise after a dishonorable discharge or a bad conduct discharge ruling by a military court. Unlike administrative proceedings, punitive discharges can result in a criminal conviction and harsh penalties. Soldiers may opt for administrative discharge to avoid going through a criminal trial for misconduct, where possible.
Types of Administrative Separations in Oklahoma
There are three different types of administrative separations in Oklahoma, depending on the circumstances of your case. The type of administrative separation that you could face will rest on your conduct and performance during your time in service, your rank within the military, the length of time in service, and the nature of your conduct.
An Honorable Discharge is the highest discharge characterization level. This type of administrative discharge is for soldiers that have met the standards of acceptable conduct and performance of duty for military personnel. It is possible to reenlist after an Honorable Discharge.
General Discharge (Under Honorable Conditions)
A General Discharge may occur when a military member’s negative conduct outweighs the positive aspects of their conduct. This characterization of service can cause your GI Bill and education payments to be lost, in addition to other veterans’ benefits. Those who have been the subject of a General (Under Honorable Conditions) discharge will unlikely be able to reenlist in the military.
Other Than Honorable (OTH)
An Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharge is the most severe characterization of service discharge. This type of discharge is usually based on a pattern of behavior rather than one incident of misconduct. However, the Administrative Discharge Board and separation authority may decide to issue an OTH discharge characterization based on just one serious incident.
Generally, the pattern of behavior or acts must be a significant departure from the general conduct expected of a military member. Examples of acts or behaviors could include:
- Use of excessive force or violence which resulted in death or serious bodily injury
- Acts or omissions that endanger national security
- Abuse of a superior position or position of trust
- Deliberate omissions or acts that seriously endanger the safety of other people
In most cases, a military member that receives an Other Than Honorable discharge will be ineligible to reenlist in the military service. If you are facing an OTH administrative discharge, it is vital that you contact a military discharge lawyer to help you defend your case. An experienced lawyer can help get your case heard before an Administrative Discharge Board, represent your case, and help protect your future.
Administrative Separation Process
Most administrative discharges are dealt with through notification processing. This means that a military member is informed of an administrative discharge through writing, and does not go through a board. However, when a military member is entitled to a board hearing, they will go through board proceedings. You may be entitled to a board hearing if you are facing an Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharge or if you meet certain conditions.
An Administrative Separation Board comprises a Respondent, a Legal Advisor or Judge Advocate, and a Recorder (prosecutor). During the administrative separation process, the board will listen to both sides of the case and make a decision on separation and characterization of service. The hearing is based on administrative proceedings and does not have strict rules on evidence, so the board members may consider most types of evidence and motions submitted by all parties.
The separation authority will make a final decision on separation and characterization after all the evidence has been submitted, both against and in favor of the Respondent. To prove guilt, the recorder needs to show that the preponderance of evidence supports your guilt, and does not need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The decision of the separation authority will be based on the recommendation of the Administrative Discharge Board.
Rights of Military Members
As a military member facing an administrative discharge, you have several rights that should be honored. These rights include:
- The right to appear before the Administrative Separation Board, with or without legal counsel
- The right to challenge voting members of the board for cause, by demonstrating that they are unable to render a fair and impartial decision
- The right to request witnesses to attend your hearing
- The right to submit written or oral submissions on your behalf, to be considered by the board
- The right to testify on your own behalf in front of board members
- The right to remain silent
- The right to examine evidence and question witnesses, or have your legal representative do this
- The right to submit depositions, a sworn or unsworn statement, affidavits, answers, certificates, or stipulations to the board hearing
To ensure that your rights are honored during an administrative separation board hearing, it is important to have a strong legal representative. In most cases, the Recorder and Judge Advocate will have significant experience with military law and they require little evidence to discharge you from your services. An experienced Fort Sill military discharge lawyer can help your case protecting your legal rights at all stages and ensuring that you receive a fair and just hearing.
How Can a Military Defense Attorney Help Me?
There are several reasons that you should consider hiring military defense counsel if you are facing administrative separation. First, the consequences of an involuntary administrative discharge action can be severe and have a major impact on your future. You will lose your job, be potentially left without income, and have to find an ordinary job to support your family.
Besides ending military careers, administrative separations can impact military benefits and entitlements. If you have served for a long time and have built up significant benefits, these could be seriously impacted. As administrative discharge is like being fired from a regular job, it can also have a significant negative impact on your future civilian job searches and opportunities in education. As such, military members may find it difficult to readjust to civilian life after an honorable discharge.
Because of the severe consequences of an administrative discharge, and the complexities required with military law and discharge board litigation, you will need to hire a military defense lawyer to represent your case. They can help you by building a powerful defense against your administrative separation case, helping you submit written matters for consideration by the Administrative Separation or Discharge Review Board, guiding you through the administrative proceeding, representing you throughout the proceedings, and filing an appeal on your behalf if necessary.
An experienced Fort Sill military defense attorney will help ensure that you are well advised on military law and the consequences surrounding your case and ensure that you get a favorable outcome in your board hearing.
How Do You Fight Administrative Separation?
Although an administrative separation is not the same as receiving a criminal conviction from a court-martial, the consequences of being discharged can be extreme. You could be discharged from service, lose your post-service benefits, experience social ostracization, and face difficulties with future civilian job searches and education.
When you come up against an Administrative Separation Board, it is essential that you have an experienced military defense attorney by your side. Just because you have been brought before a board hearing for administrative separation, it does not mean that you are guilty. A military defense lawyer will ensure that you receive a fair hearing and help ensure that you are found innocent of any misconduct and not discharged from service.
At Cannon & Associates, our Fort Hill military defense lawyers are ready to help you fight against an administrative separation and ensure that your legal rights are protected. John Cannon is an active service member and Judge Advocate in the Oklahoma National Guard. He has a deep understanding of administrative separation issues, and he can help protect your rights and presumption of innocence.
John Cannon has experience helping military members with cases throughout Fort Sill, Tinker Air Force Base, and Vance Air Force Base. Our priority is ensuring that your future is protected and that you get a fair hearing.
Call us today at 405-591-3935 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Fort Sill military defense lawyers.
YOUR FIERCE ADVOCATES® in:
Our Client Reviews
More 5-star Reviews Than 99% Of Lawyers In Oklahoma
"John has shown nothing but compassion and professional guidance in my case. He truly cares about his clients and is exceptionally understanding when it comes to any case he is representing. He communicates genuinely as well as in a timely matter. If I were able to give his firm any more than 5 stars, I most definitely would. He is incredible."
"John Cannon is an awesome attorney. He is very professional and honest. He really cares about his clients. John always gets back to you quickly to answer any questions you have regarding your case. I highly recommend CANNON & ASSOCIATES for any legal needs you may have."
"John Cannon has helped me through the hardest time in my life. He helped me through my divorce and custody case. He truly cares about his clients and it made me so happy he always put my daughter first and wanted what was in her best interest as a child. He is very sharp and resourceful and he has been very attentive and responsive to my needs, John is very polite and professional and he always has a great attitude. John always took the time to go over everything and explain everything in depth. I've enjoyed working with John and his team and would recommend him to other clients."
"I have known John for about 6 years now in his capacity as a Judge Advocate and a civilian attorney. John has a rare blend of both sharp analytical and interpersonal skills. I have seen John achieve positive outcomes for clients in complex scenarios and If you need an attorney who can do the same for you - this is your guy."
"John did a very good job. Although the outcome was not 100% what we expected(strange judgement) it was overall positive. I would, have and will continue to recommended him. Although I certainly hope to not need his services again in the capacity I hired him for I would not hesitate to call if I do. Thanks John"
"I signed up with John June 25th, July 5th I received an email that my case is in line to be DISMISSED, within a 2 week time period John made what was one of the most stressful times in my life better! Every case is different but he handled my case with care and he was extremely open in his communication throughout the whole process. I hope to never have to have a criminal attorney again but if I do I will definitely go back to John. I highly recommend him to anyone else who is needing an attorney!"
"John is a highly respected attorney. Professional and compassionate. He has a wealth of knowledge, being a military officer and having served as an Assistant District Attorney, a Public Defender, and an Assistant Attorney General. He helped a friend's son who was headed down the wrong path, but through John's legal defense the young man is now a successful business owner."
"John is a very professional attorney, who is not only concerned about the welfare of his client but very attentive and considerate of the family, or other bodies that are in the face of the adversity. While working on my family members case, John took time out to take a class that would educate him on how to approach the many different types of cases tried in the court room. John proved his sincerity to the calling of his job, being an attorney. I would definitely recommend him to anyone."
"Mr. Cannon went above and beyond for my wife. She was facing some pretty hard fines and prison time with the US Marshalls. Mr. Cannon fought a hard fight and got her a GREAT offer. Words cannot express how much I appreciate him and what he did for my wife. I would give 10 stars and I will be promoting him. He's that awesome. He keeps you informed, he will text or call you back, and he goes above what he is asked to do and I can reassure you"HE WILL FIGHT FOR YOU OR YOUR FAMILY MEMBER". I will continue retaining him for other things my wife is battling. High five and a great big hug to Mr. Cannon. Thank you!!! John took the reigns and provided us instant peace of mind. He was timely, respectful, transparent, very professional, honest and courteous. The service he provided was above and beyond our expectations. Can’t believe professionals like him are around. Highly highly without reservations recommend him and his team."
"John Cannon is an excellent attorney. He takes sincere interest in your needs. He maintains communication and provides all the information you might want to fully understand the legal process. He also suggests alternative resolutions to your legal needs so that you can make informed choices. I definitely recommend John."
"My experience with CANNON & ASSOCIATES was absolutely amazing. I hired John Cannon two days before my rebuttal statement was due back to the Staff Judge Advocate. Within that time frame he was able to talk to my Battery and Battalion Commanders, review my evidence, and help me write a rebuttal statement that help prove my case to them, the Brigade Commander and the Post Commanding General. Cannon worked thru the night to help me get the best results for me and my family. Due to his hard work and attention to detail I am still able to continue to serve my country and progress in my military career with no adverse actions on my record. I can not thank him enough on a job well done. Cannon showed me that he was invested in my case and I highly recommend you hire him when you need someone to represent you in a legal matter."
"John Cannon assisted me through a very difficult time in my military career. He worked tirelessly with me on my case and kept me informed during the entire process. I can't say enough good things about Mr. Cannon. He's incredibly knowledgeable with regards to military justice. The outcome of my case was successful and I attribute that to Mr. Cannon's professionalism and expertise in dealing with military law. I would highly recommend Mr. Cannon to anyone with military justice or criminal defense needs."
"Hands down the best lawyer. Mr.Cannon accepted my case and got on it the same day. I would give him 10 stars if I could. I really appreciate the dedication on how he handles things with a short time frame."
"Mr. Cannon has represented me on 2 criminal cases and one civil case over the past 4 years. He has always served me honestly, speedily and with good moral direction. John has integrity and humility. He has never belittled me or treated me in an unfair manor. I appreciate all that he has done for me and I most certainly recommend him to family, strangers and friends. I will definitely use Mr. Cannon in the future for any and all of my family's legal matters."
"Mr. Cannon went above and beyond for my wife. She was facing some pretty hard fines and prison time with the US Marshalls. Mr. Cannon fought a hard fight and got her a GREAT offer. Words cannot express how much I appreciate him and what he did for my wife. I would give 10 stars and I will be promoting him. He's that awesome. He keeps you informed, he will text or call you back, and he goes above what he is asked to do and I can reassure you"HE WILL FIGHT FOR YOU OR YOUR FAMILY MEMBER". I will continue retaining him for other things my wife is battling. High five and a great big hug to Mr. Cannon. Thank you!!!"
"I had a great experience with John. He is very personable and helped me a lot. I’m really grateful I found him. He made me feel confident that he was the right lawyer for my case and that he wasn’t trying to sell me but genuinely just wanted to help me. I would highly recommend John to anyone!"
"Working with Mr. Cannon has been a real life-saving experience for me and my family. He provides the knowledge of the possibilities as soon as he can get them, then works tirelessly to ensure that any concerns or questions are addressed immediately. He has been a great asset to us not only in the face of legal troubles, but in providing a sense of security that is truly reassuring in the face of the uncertain.Mr. Cannon has been a great resource and has been very patient with me. From the start he provided a list of things to do that would help me help him with my case and since the beginning has continued to give advice or suggestions on any matter that has bothered me with my situation, large or small. He is gentle, yet realistic, and this combination really does become a rock in tumultuous times such as these.I would highly recommend Mr. Cannon to anyone who needs a vigilant and committed attorney, especially one that stands by your side until your issue is resolved. He goes above and beyond not only to work, but to care for his clients!"
"John Cannon assisted me through a very difficult time in my military career. He worked tirelessly with me on my case and kept me informed during the entire process. I can't say enough good things about Mr. Cannon. He's incredibly knowledgeable with regards to military justice. The outcome of my case was successful and I attribute that to Mr. Cannon's professionalism and expertise in dealing with military law. I highly recommend Mr. Cannon to anyone with military justice or criminal defense needs."