Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if I am arrested or questioned by a member of my command or CID?
Contact your local Army Trial Defense Services office as soon as possible. Remember, you have the right under the UCMJ and the Constitution to remain silent - exercise it! You are not required to speak with anyone and should not discuss the facts of your case with anyone except your attorney.
Should I hire a civilian lawyer?
If you have been charged with a crime, a great deal is at stake. If convicted, you face jail time, loss of career, loss of income, loss of family, and loss of reputation. Minus jail time, the same is true of administrative and non-judicial actions. Your goal should be to resume your life with the least possible negative impact. The best way to achieve this goal is to select an attorney to represent you that you trust. Your attorney will be the person in whom you confide. You must trust their experience and counsel. When selecting an attorney, sit down with the attorney and ask the attorney if they have experience with your type of case. Talk with the attorney until you can confidently state that the attorney is the type of person you would want standing at your side. In some instances this may mean you are happy with the detailed defense counsel from the Army. However, in others, it may mean that you need to look towards hiring a civilian counsel. Remember, you have the right to select who will represent you. Don't give up that right when so much is riding on the decision.
How much will it cost?
Legal costs can differ greatly depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. The answer really depends on the seriousness of the charges, and the complexity of the case. When Mr. Coombs speaks to you and reviews your case, he will make an assessment as to how much work will be involved in case preparation, and how many court or administrative board dates it will take to resolve your case.
To help you plan for this stage of your life, Mr. Coombs charges a flat fee for representation. A flat fee provides you with the ability to know exactly what your legal representation will cost. There are no hidden surprises or extra expenses. The only additional cost to you after the flat fee will be administrative expenses associated with your case. Administrative expenses are actual out-of-pocket expenses incurred, other than ordinary office expenses, such as mileage (.55 per mile), flight expenses, lodging, daily per diem, filing fees, postage, service fees, transcripts, photocopies and incoming facsimile transmission exceeding more than 20 pages per transaction, outgoing facsimile transmissions, computer legal research, and expert witnesses or consultants. Administrative expenses will be itemized and billed on a monthly basis, or in some instances, they will be billed in advance. After discussing your case, Mr. Coombs will quote you the flat fee for representing you and an estimated fee for administrative expenses associated with your case.
Some lawyers may charge less, and others may charge more. Cost is just one of the factors you should consider. However, when you are facing the prospect of serious criminal penalties or a record that will follow you for the rest of your life, you will want someone with the right experience and proven results fighting on your side. Just remember, the bitterness of receiving a bad outcome at trial or in an administrative proceeding lasts a lot longer than the sweetness of paying little or nothing for your defense.
Can administrative expenses be minimized without hurting my case?
We strive to balance cost-effective legal services with meritorious results. Each case is evaluated based on its unique facts and circumstances. The more we know about the facts and circumstances of a case, the better we can anticipate and help manage legal issues and their related costs. For instance, if Mr. Coombs can reasonably drive to your location instead of flying, he will do it. Or, if he can stay at on-post lodging instead of off-post hotels, he will do that too. In other words, he will do whatever he can to limit the extent of these expenses.
How does the billing process work?
Once you are quoted the fixed fee, you are responsible for paying this fee at the beginning to retain the services of Mr. Coombs. The associated administrative expenses for representing you will be billed as they are incurred. To give our clients more control over these expenses, we will advise you of the cost versus legal benefit to you of the various options and always consult with you whenever incurring any individual expense in excess of $100.00.
What makes your firm different?
In the practice of law there is no substitute for experience and effective representation. If you have done any online research, you have undoubtedly found several law firms that advertise military justice services for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and the Coast Guard in addition to having other general areas of their legal practice. The Law Offices of David E. Coombs represents only soldiers. We do not accept cases from other branches of service. Each branch of service has its own rules and regulations. Likewise, although each service operates under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, there are significant differences in how cases are handled depending upon your branch of service and your installation. Think of it this way, if you or someone in your family needed a heart surgeon and you were trying to find the right doctor, would you call a general health practitioner or would you pick a cardiologist? When it comes to military justice within the Army, Mr. Coombs is the specialist that you need. Don't trust your freedom and way of life to a generalist.