Written by attorney Philip Douglas Cave

Your rights as a suspect under the UCMJ.

In the military? Your Rights! Don’t waive them!

Right to Silence

Right to talk to a lawyer

Right to terminate or stop an interrogation

Right to leave the interrogation

Right to say “No" to a request for permission to search

On the page at you will find helpful information about your rights as a suspect in the military. Every cop or lawyer show on TV has something about “Miranda" or “I want my rights!" We hear about rights so often you would imagine people know what they are and that the police would know to “give the rights." Well, TV and movies aren’t reality. As a police officer it never ceased to amaze me how many suspects who had been through “the system" multiple times continued to waive their rights.

If you have already been interrogated the first and best thing you can do to help yourself and your military lawyer at this point is to sit down and make a complete and detailed account of what happened. Write down who was there, what was said, and what was done. Be as detailed as possible, memories fade and your notes will be very helpful later on. Do not show this document to anyone except your lawyers. Mark the document, “Attorney-Client/Work Product," to help preserve the confidentiality of the information. Do this now!

If you end up at court-martial an early record of what happened will be very helpful to your military attorney in preparing an effective case.

Trickery and deception by law enforcement is an ongoing part of their investigative techniques. How to lie to suspects is a part of their training. Lying and deception by law enforcement is allowed by law and has been approved by the United States Supreme Court as legitimate investigative techniques. You on the other hand will be prosecuted if you lie to them. So don’t talk to them.


If you want a lawyer or to remain silent you must explicitly state:

“I want a lawyer."

“I will not speak and I exercise my right to silence."

Law does not mimic real life and so the law says that any other discussion of rights is “ambiguous" and the investigators don’t have to stop their questions.

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