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How to get out of the marines early?

San Diego, CA |

My 18 yr old son feels he made a big mistake. Is it possible for him to get discharged?

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Attorney answers 5


Getting out from an enlistment contract is difficult, and there are very few, restricted circumstances where you can leave the service early.

Can you provide more information about your son's thoughts?

If he is merely in boot camp or post-boot camp and doesn't like the Marine Corps, he's probably not going to have to be able to leave his contract early.

Also, I'd be remiss if I was not to raise the, seemingly, obvious point: it would not be good for your son to decide that he doesn't like the USMC anymore and to just come home without leave or come home on leave and not go back as scheduled. This situation, the commonly-known AWOL or Unauthorized Absence, will trigger a number of disciplinary, administrative, and/ or criminal actions against him.

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He should speak with a military law attorney to see if he has grounds for a discharge. Making a mistake, however, is not going to be enough. He can try the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild, which has staff in San Diego. *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***


It depends on where he is in the process. If he has already reported, there are very few if any options available. If he has only signed up, but not reported, there are other options.

Philip Douglas Cave

Philip Douglas Cave


If he has not yet reported to MCRD for training there may be an out from the DEP. If he's in training or been through it, then it is almost impossible to get out if the reason is that "he doesn't like it any more."


Assuming he is out of bootcamp, there isn't much he can do that would not affect him for years to come. The contract he signed is a legally binding contract--you can imagine the government is not very flexible when its asked to allow a contract to be broken- it doesn't have to be flexible, so it's not.

Your son should speak with his immediate NCO, chaplain, Company Commander, ASAP.

If in bootcamp he can quit simply by telling the drill instructor he wants to quit.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.

Philip Douglas Cave

Philip Douglas Cave


But, if it's the last option that's going to be "painful."


I need more facts in order to provide you with a good answer. I was previously stationed at Parris Island, and worked on the Drill Field, so I have some experience with these kind of cases. Please feel free to call and discuss. The initial consultation is free.

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