How a dishonorable discharge can ruin your life – Michael Waddington

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Will a Dishonorable Discharge Ruin My Life?

Court Martial Defense Attorney, Michael Waddington, discusses whether a dishonorable discharge in a military court-martial will ruin your life.

A dishonorable discharge is, plainly, something nobody serving wants to get. It comes with a lot of adverse consequences that will follow you long into your civilian life, and it’ll also cost you any service-related benefits you may have acquired, including a military funeral, VA loans for a house, and medical care from the VA. If that wasn’t enough, you also lose out on the right to keep and bear arms.

What is a Dishonorable Discharge?

Dishonorable Discharge is the same as a felony conviction that is rare and reserved for the most reprehensible conduct while in uniform. However, unlike the civilian world, the person convicted took an oath. That means an expectation of trust, honor, and an obligation to uphold military principles and practices was broken. That carries a significant stigma of unworthiness that the DD recipient will have to live with the rest of his life.

Long term consequences of a Dishonorable Discharge include:

  • Loss of all veteran and government benefits
  • Loss of disability and unemployment benefits
  • Loss of voting rights.
  • Loss of the ability to legally own or possess firearms.
  • Inability to qualify for bank loans or college financial aid.
  • Difficulty in obtaining meaningful employment.
  • A criminal record that will remain in all law enforcement data banks.

If you or a family member are accused of a crime in the military, contact an experienced military defense attorney.

Call 1-800-921-8607 to speak with a court-martial defense attorney today.

Will a court-martial conviction ruin my life?

Does a court-martial conviction ruin my life? The answer is that it depends. It depends on how you define ruin and it depends on how you react to the circumstances that you’re facing. So, you could go to prison, and earn a degree while in prison and come out smarter, stronger, wiser, more mature, and then go on to live a very productive and fruitful life. It has happened. It’s not the norm, but it has happened. There are plenty of people who have done that. They have served their time, and have moved on to become productive members of society and are able to live happy lives.

The question of whether the conviction “ruined” your life will depend on a lot of factors. Is it a sex crime? Are you a convicted sex offender? How many years did you get? If you get 50 years in prison for a sex crime and get out as a sex offender at the age of 75, your life is going to be much more difficult than someone that doesn’t have that in their background for sure. So, how a court-martial impacts your life will depends on a variety of factors, but mainly it will depend on how you view life and whether or not you’re resilient and are willing to fight to overcome the circumstances that you have found yourself in.

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