Those serving in the US Army have free legal counsel available to them. Depending on your need, you can get assistance via the Legal Assistance Program with the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) office or the U.S. Army Trial Defense Service (USATDS). USATDS attorneys ordinarily assist soldiers on military administrative actions that are initiated on the basis of alleged violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or are related to impending, pending, or recently completed UCMJ proceedings. SJA offers legal advice in many other legal situations.

SJA is required to handle the following:

  • Line of duty investigations (AR 600-8-1)
  • Reports of survey (AR 735-5)
  • Officer evaluation reports (OERs) (AR 623-105)
  • Non-commissioned officer evaluation reports (NCOERs) (AR 623-205)
  • Relief for cause reviews (AR 623-105)
  • Memoranda of reprimand (AR 600-37)
  • Article 138, UCMJ complaints (AR 27-10)
  • Inspector General Investigations on military personnel (AR 20-1)
  • Other investigations (AR 15-6)
  • Hardship discharges (AR 635-200)
  • Compassionate reassignments (AR 614-100 (officer) and AR 614-200 (enlisted))
  • Officer unqualified resignations by reason of pregnancy, and resignations in lieu of discharge because of failure to meet statutory or regulatory requirements (AR 135-175)
  • Correction of military records (AR 15-185)

SJA can help with the following, if resources and expertise on staff allow:

USATDS is required to handle the following:

  • Officer elimination actions (AR 635-100)
  • Officer resignations in lieu of administrative elimination proceedings and resignations for the good of the service (AR 135-175)
  • Enlisted separation actions (AR 635-200)
  • Reductions in grade (AR 600-200)

And USATDS can optionally handle recruiter misconduct, if resources allow (AR 601-1)

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