September 26, 2013

Hiring a Military Discharge Attorney in Wisconsin: 5 FAQs Answered

written by Lane Fitzgerald

As a former member of the military, I make it a priority to help my fellow servicemen and women get the justice they deserve. This is especially true when it comes to military discharges. If you find yourself in need of outside legal counsel as you attempt to upgrade your discharge status, we are here to help you through the process.


Below are the five most common questions we’re asked regarding military discharges. For more detailed information on any of the five points below, please refer to our Military Law & Uniform Code of Military Justice information page here.


1. Can I reapply for a military discharge review?


Yes, if you have applied to the Military Discharge Review Board (DRB) in the past without success, it’s possible to have your discharge reviewed again. In addition to assisting you with preparing a potential case to present to the DRB, an experience military discharge attorney can also advise you on how to go about beginning the reapplication process.


2. What are my chances of getting my military discharge status upgraded?


It’s important to note that success at any stage of the reapplication process is not guaranteed. That said, the following success rate statistics have been compiled and recorded by a third party and represent all filed BCMRs. As such, they are not the success rates of The Fitzgerald Law Firm, and are intended to be purely informational.


Success rates at the DRB level:


Navy (and Marine Corps) successful upgrades: 4%


Army successful upgrades: 41%


Air Force successful upgrades: 19%


Coast Guard successful upgrades: 1%


Success rates at the BCMR level:


Navy (and Marine Corps) successful record changes: 18%


Army successful record changes: 13%


Air Force successful record changes: 20%


Coast Guard successful record changes: 18%


On average, you are three times more likely to succeed at a DRB or a BCMR when you appear in-person or have the assistance of counsel.


3. What is the military discharge review board denies my upgrade? Is there any way to appeal?


If you initial reapplication to the DRB does not yield a desirable outcome, you may then appeal to the Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR). This board is capable of overruling DRB decisions and ultimately correction your military records to reflect what they may or may not deem to be a valid upgrade.


4. How can hiring a military discharge attorney help?


On average, success rates concerning DRB or BCMR proceedings are three times higher when individuals appear in-person or have the assistance of legal counsel. If you are facing possible court-martial, it’s important to review the stipulations regarding outside counsel corresponding to your particular branch of the military.


5. Does The Fitzgerald Law Firm offer a discount to service members?


The Fitzgerald Law Firm offers a discount package usually adding up to 25% savings for those currently serving in the military or for individuals honorably discharged from duty.


If you’re a member of the military seeking outside legal council, contact us for assistance today.


Photo Credit: highboom via Compfight cc



September 17, 2013

What To Do If Pulled Over Under Suspicion Of Drunk Driving

written by Lane Fitzgerald


Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious problem; about one third of fatal car accidents in the United States are related to drunk driving. Police departments across the country are cracking down on DWIs to try to curb this trend. Unfortunately, sometimes overzealous cops falsely accuse people of drunk driving, and being accused of it can ruin your life even if you are ultimately acquitted.


- You should never try to “get away” with drunk driving. However, if you are about to be falsely accused of DUI, some of the steps below can help minimize the damage to your life and reputation.


Park in a Private Parking Lot


When you are pulled over, turn into a parking lot or driveway rather than parking on the side of the road. Make sure you park correctly–i.e., within the lines of a designated parking space. In most states, police cannot tow vehicles off of private property without a warrant to do so. Thus, if you are arrested, your car cannot be impounded.


Don’t Answer Questions Without an Attorney


You have the same right to remain silent as any other criminal defendant after your arrest. Many cops get around this by sneaking questions in before your arrest. For example, they may ask where you’re coming from or if you’ve had a drink when they first approach your vehicle. Don’t answer these questions, as your answers may be used against you.


Request Medical Intervention If Necessary


If you’re stressed out enough by being pulled over and accused of DUI, you may have a heart attack. If you experience cold sweats, tightness in your chest and numbness in your left side, tell the officer right away. He or she must call an ambulance for you. The upside to a potential heart attack is that the life-saving oxygen you get in the ambulance and the time spent saving your life will corrupt any breath or blood alcohol level tests the cops want to take after you’re stabilized.


Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests


The police ask you to take field sobriety tests in order to collect additional evidence that you are drunk. You don’t have to help them! Invoke your right to refuse to take these tests and ask the officer if you are being arrested if he or she asks you to exit the vehicle for any reason.


NOTE: Although you cannot be compelled to take a field sobriety test. However, you CAN be compelled to take a breathalyzer. If you refuse a breath or blood test, your license can be suspended pending trial and you may face other legal consequences.


Refuse Blood Tests Without a Warrant


If the officer wants to take a blood sample to see if you are legally drunk, ask if you are under arrest. If the officer doesn’t arrest you on the spot, ask to see the warrant. Refuse to take the test without a warrant or being placed under arrest.


In some cases, the officer may read a disclosure informing you of your rights when being accused of a crime. Stand firm in your insistence that you need to see the warrant if you are read this paper without being arrested.


Taking some of these steps will strip the officer of his or her ability to establish probable cause for an arrest. In some cases, he or she may arrest you anyway to force the issue of getting you tested. If that happens, don’t worry. Just call your attorney and be confident in your knowledge that the police won’t be able to hold you and that you will incur minimal damage to your reputation.


For a free initial consultation with a Beloit Bankruptcy Law or Rockford Bankruptcy Law attorney, contact The Fitzgerald Law Firm today. We recognize that not everyone is capable of meeting during traditional business hours—let us know a time that’s convenient and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

Photo credit: wyoguard


Criminal Defense

September 10, 2013

Video: Attorney Fitzgerald Talks About His Childhood Career Ambitions And Shares What He'd Be Doing If He Wasn't An Attorney

written by admin


Schedule a free consultation with Lane Fitzgerald of The Fitzgerald Law Firm today by clicking here.


Video Transcript


Title Slide: Attorney Lane Fitzgerald On His Career, Past and Present


Attorney Lane Fitzgerald: I actually wanted to be an attorney, it's very strange. Everyone that I kind of run in to now - I moved away for ten years when I joined the military, I didn't come back for about ten years. I was kind of doing the military and college thing, so I kind of stayed away for a little while. So now that I've come back, everyone that I run into is saying how they remember me talking about wanting to be attorney when I was younger.


Criminal Defense, Video

September 02, 2013

The Dangers Of Driving With Drugs On Board

written by Lane Fitzgerald

Vehicles, although private property, do not share the same kinds privacy affordances as other forms of personally owned property. Unlike a house which is protected from invasive searches by the need for law enforcement to obtain a warrant, the notion of acting on probable cause in regards to vehicle searches and seizures is much more broad.


For this reason among others, it’s advisable to not operate motor vehicles with illegal drugs inside them. The primary rationale is a commonsense one, which extends beyond simple legal advice: possession of an illegal substance in any venue or circumstance can have far-reaching impacts on your life and as a result, it’s best to avoid taking the risk in the first place.


Criminal Defense