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Military discharge review.

Sussex, WI |

Dear sir or ma'am,
I received and Other Than Honorable discharge from the Marine Corps. in 2005. I was involved in a traffic accident that resulted in loss of life of a civilian. There were no drugs or alcohol involved, and I pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in civilian court. November 2013 will mark 5 years since my release from probation and I will be eligible for a governor's pardon from the state of North Carolina. If I get my pardon, will I be eligible to request a review of my discharge and get it switched to an honorable discharge? If so, would I also be able to request my uniforms and medals back? Thank you.

Michael J Pelnar

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Everybody is eligible to request an upgrade. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you have a reasonable chance of getting an upgrade. Every case is different, and I would encourage you to get a free consultation with an attorney experienced in discharge upgrades. If you can scan me your discharge paperwork and your criminal charges I would be happy to review them and give you my opinion as to whether you have a reasonable chance of getting an upgrade and getting your uniform and medals back.

  2. The Naval Discharge Review Board has the lowest success rate among the Service boards.
    Generally the longer you have been out the better.
    The fact you have successfully completed probation will help, as would a pardon.
    However, the hardest part here is the nature of the misconduct that lead to the discharge.
    While an unblemished life post-service is good, a great deal of community service is a good significant factor, and the lack of drugs or alcohol as an issue - well, again it goes back to the reason for the discharge.
    You are coming "close" to the 15 year deadline. The boards are more inclined to give upgrades and you CAN request an upgrade now. Keep that deadline in mind.
    Depending on the facts as developed after a thorough review, I'm inclined to say, "ask, you can't lose for asking," and it's sometimes better to ask rather than kick yourself later for not asking.
    SIncerely, 703-298-9562, 800-401-1583. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  3. Be aware that a pardon is not a simple matter of application. Pardons are rarely granted. According to the NC Governors office, NC pardons granted 2001-2010 ran somwhere near .004 of all applicants (.4%)--read in the alternative, that a 99.6% chance of being denied.

    You will need an experienced attorney if you are to have ANY shot at all. Best of luck to you.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I am providing educational instruction only--not legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.

  4. I would agree with the comments of the other attorneys. You don't have to wait for a pardon, but the passage of time will have helped make you more competitive. If the involuntary manslaughter charge had no criminal intent element, I too think it will help. The help of an attorney will certainly increase you chances.