best law firms badge Call Today 866.833.3529

Washington D.C. Military Victim Rights Attorneys

What rights do victims in the military justice system have?

Throughout our history, victims have often been treated as an afterthought in criminal justice system. They had few if any rights and often felt abused and unheard throughout the process. This was particularly true in the military justice system. Thankfully, Congress and the Department of Defense have recognized victims should be treated with respect and that victims should have certain rights when participating in the military justice system. This is especially true for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. However, rights are of little use if they are unknown or routinely violated. An experienced attorney can assure victims are fully informed and have their rights protected.

All victims of crimes in the military justice system have enumerated rights set out in the Victims’ Bill of Rights. These rights include:

  • The right to be treated with fairness and respect for your dignity and privacy;
  • The right to be reasonably protected from the accused offender;
  • The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of public preliminary hearings, pretrial confinement hearings, court proceedings, and clemency and parole hearings related to the offense;
  • The right to be present at all public proceedings related to the offense unless the hearing officer or military judge determines that your testimony would be materially altered if you as the victim heard other testimony;
  • The right to reasonably confer with the prosecutor/Trial Counsel in the case;
  • The right to receive available restitution;
  • The right to be reasonably heard at: 1) a public hearing concerning the continuation of any pretrial confinement of the accused; 2) a sentencing hearing related to the offense; 3) a public Military Department Clemency and Parole Board hearing related to the offense;
  • The right to submit a written statement for the consideration of the Convening Authority prior to taking action on findings and sentence;
  • The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay;
  • The right to be provided information, if applicable, about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, Convening Authority's action, appellate review, and release of the offender.

Victims also have significant rights contained in the Military Rules of Evidence (MREs) including MRE 412 protecting a victim’s prior sexual history, MRE 513 protecting a victim’s mental health records, MRE 514 protecting a victim’s communications with their victim advocate, and MRE 615 giving the victim the right to attend all open sessions of a court-martial. Importantly, victims have the right to appeal a trial judge’s ruling violating these rights to a miliary appellate court.

Do victims of sexual assault have special rights?

Yes, victims of sexual assault and rape do have significant special rights in the military justice system. Among these rights are:

  • The right to request the case be investigated and prosecuted by civilian authorities instead of the military.
  • The right to a military victims’ counsel for certain victims.
  • The right to elect not to testify at the probable cause hearing (Article 32 hearing)
  • The right to attend the Article 32 hearing and the right to a copy of a recording of the hearing.
  • The right to express a preference of whether a case is prosecuted.
  • The right to a copy of the record of trial.

How can a civilian lawyer help a victim of military sexual assault and domestic violence?

An experienced civilian counsel can be invaluable in protecting a victim’s rights, ensuring their voice is heard and helping bring their offender to justice. While the military does provide free military counsel to many victims, civilians who are not dependents of a military member of a DoD employee usually will not qualify for those services. Moreover, while most military victims’ counsel are highly dedicated many are relatively inexperienced and may have never prosecuted a sexual assault or rape case. Additionally, civilian attorneys can zealously represent their client without fear of retribution from military authority.

Counsel can be with victims from the very start including when they report their offender. Victims have a right to have counsel present during any interviews with investigators, prosecutors or defense counsel. Counsel can speak on their behalf at all stages including discussions about whether a case will be prosecuted or the terms of any plea agreement. Most importantly, counsel can also file motions and make arguments before the trial and appellate courts to ensure a victim’s privacy is fully protected in accordance with the law.

You Don't Have To Face This Alone. Put Your Trust in Solomon Law Firm, PLLC

If you have been a victim of military sexual assault, you deserve justice and support. Reach out to Solomon Law Firm, PLLC, where our team of dedicated attorneys is ready to stand by your side. We understand the intricacies of military law, and our experienced lawyers have the knowledge and compassion needed to aggressively advocate for your rights. You don't have to face this alone. Contact our team today, and let us provide you with the representation and support you deserve.

Send us a message or call (866) 833-3529 to speak with someone from our team.


  • Best Law Firms 2023
  • Super Lawyers 2023
  • Ariel Solomon - Avvo 10.0 Rating
  • Best Lawyers
  • American Bar Association
  • The National Trial Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 - Top Lawyer