Military Discharge Lawyer for Involuntary Administrative Discharge or Separation

An involuntary administrative discharge (also called administrative separation) is a very serious adverse action in which the military is attempting to terminate the employment of the military member – in other words, the military is trying to kick the member out of the military.

Why You Need a Military Discharge Lawyer

An involuntary administrative discharge action can have serious, long lasting consequences. Not only does an involuntary administrative discharge end the member’s military career, it can terminate the military benefits and entitlements the military member has been accruing over his/her career, the GI Bill may be lost, it prevents the military member from retiring and it can have a lasting stigma and impact on future civilian job searches and educational opportunities (such as seeking college or graduate school admission). Given these possible consequences, experienced and aggressive defense representation from a civilian discharge lawyer could be crucial in defending against an involuntary administrative discharge action, litigating an administrative discharge board hearing, or filing a discharge appeal.

How Do I Dispute a Military Discharge?

This begins by fighting not to be discharged. First, by rebutting the discharge notification. Next, by arguing against the discharge in an admininstrative discharge/separation board hearing (if authorized in your case). This is a litigated hearing that looks very much like a trial.

If a military member is discharged, he/she can appeal the discharge, as well as appealing the characterization of the discharge, reason for the discharge, and/or reenlistment eligibility code (RE Code). Administrative discharge/separation appeal opportunities include the Discharge Review Board (DRB) for the military service branch and the Board of Corrections for Military Records (BCMR)(or BCNR for Navy/USMC) for the military service branch. The process of appealing an involuntary administrative discharge can be complex and the outcome could significantly affect your future. If you find yourself in need of legal assistance, a skilled court martial appeals lawyer can guide you through the process and help safeguard your rights.

If you are a military member facing an involuntary administrative discharge, or you have already been discharged, an experienced civilian defense lawyer could help you fight against these actions.

Types of Military Administrative Discharge

There are three characterizations of administrative discharge:

  • Honorable
  • General (also called “Under Honorable Conditions”)
  • Under Other Than Honorable Conditions (“OTH” or “UOTHC”)

When a military member is facing involuntary administrative discharge, the characterization of the discharge is normally either General or Under Other Than Honorable Conditions. This is because an Honorable Discharge is the highest characterization of administrative discharge, and that is not normally the characterization for getting kicked out of the military.

In addition, a Military Academy Cadet could face disenrollment, which is also a type of administrative discharge.

Dishonorable Discharge and Bad Conduct Discharge

There are other types of military discharge that are not administrative discharges. These are “punitive discharges.” A Dismissal, Dishonorable Discharge, or Bad Conduct Discharge are not administrative discharges, they are punitive discharges that can only be adjudged as a part of a court-martial sentence. It is important to understand the difference.

Involuntary Administrative Discharge In The Different Military Branches

The different military branches refer to involuntary administrative discharge in different terms:

  • “Admin Discharge”
  • “Admin Separation”
  • “AdSep”
  • Being “Chaptered” (Army reference to the chapter of administrative separation regulation, AR 635-200, such as Chapter 14 for misconduct)

For military officers, involuntary administrative discharge action can be referred to as:

  • “Administrative Discharge”
  • “Administrative Separation”
  • “BOI” or “Board of Inquiry”
  • “Show Cause”
  • “Officer Elimination”

Depending on the rank or years of service of the military member, and/or the characterization of administrative discharge sought by the military, the military member may be entitled to a formal administrative discharge board hearing.

This hearing is a litigated administrative board hearing that looks similar to a trial with fewer evidentiary rules and a lower burden of proof. Evidence is admitted, witnesses are questioned and cross-examined, arguments are made by the attorneys for each side to the administrative board members, and those board members deliberate and return their recommendation about whether the military member should be discharged and, if so, what the characterization of the discharge should be.

Defending military members facing involuntary administrative discharge or appealing an administrative discharge is what military defense lawyer Richard V. Stevens and Frank J. Spinner do. The only type of law they handle is military law. Mr. Stevens and Mr. Spinner are civilian criminal defense attorneys and former active duty military JAG lawyers who exclusively defend military members stationed around the world who are facing military trials, discharge/separation, appeals, discipline, and investigations.


Attorney Richard Stevens

Mr. Stevens has been handling military cases since 1995. He has defended military cases dealing with the most serious military offenses, including allegations of “war crimes,” national security cases, murder, manslaughter, homicide, rape, sexual assault, other sex related offenses, drug offenses, computer crimes (pornography), larceny, fraud, AWOL/desertion, conduct unbecoming, military academy offenses, offenses within combat zones, senior officer cases and other military specific offenses around the world. [ Attorney Bio ]

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    Military Noncommissioned Officer Has Sexual Assault Case Dropped (UCMJ Article 120)

    Recently, a military noncommissioned officer defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.) had the alleged sexual assault case he faced dropped by the military before court-martial charges were preferred against him (UCMJ A [...]