Protecting your Constitutional rights and your military career - The Dover AFB Area Defense Counsel is ready to fight

  • Published
  • By Capt. Cole Altman and Senior Airman Nicole Hart
  • Dover AFB Area Defense Counsel

Many Airmen join the military for the privilege to serve, live overseas and receive a free education. However, these possibilities and benefits are put at risk when an Airman receives a piece of administrative paperwork, such as an Article 15 or Letter of Counseling. Rather than feeling like they must fight alone, the Dover Air Force Base Area Defense Counsel is ready to fight!

Manned by Capt. Cole Altman, a licensed-attorney, and Senior Airman Nicole Hart, a defense paralegal, the Dover AFB ADC provides free representation to Airmen on matters ranging from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and Security Forces investigations, administrative discharges, and court-martials.

The legal advice provided by the ADC is privileged and confidential. Also, because the ADC is a tenant unit that falls outside of the chain of command of the 436th Airlift Wing and 512th Airlift Wing, the ADC can provide independent representation to protect Airmen’s rights and ensure any adverse action served on an Airman is fair and legally sufficient.

Although the ADC is ready to assist, they cannot reach out to Airmen. “Even if our office is aware that an Airman is being investigated, or served with paperwork, we cannot reach out to them; they have to come to our office and request representation,” said Hart.

A common trend seen by the ADC is the fear Airmen have that not speaking to law enforcement could raise questions about their integrity. Airmen also fear that if they do not speak to law enforcement, that decision can be used against them. “Actually, it is the exact opposite,” said Altman. “The right to remain silent and not self-incriminate are both protected by the United States Constitution and Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. We advise all Airmen to exercise their constitutionally protected rights, remain silent and request a lawyer.”

The ADC has helped Airmen get Article 15’s dropped, administrative actions set aside for legal insufficiency and have even helped Airmen pending serious matters at a court-martial get favorable case resolutions. It is never too late to seek out representation from the ADC.

“Whether you gave law enforcement a full confession, or had a positive urinalysis, we advise Airmen to come speak to our team so we can assist,” added Hart. On a similar note, Altman added, “if you are contemplating, even just a little bit, whether or not you should seek assistance from the ADC, you should.”

Available 24/7/365, the Dover AFB Area Defense Counsel is ready to fight! Located in the Bedrock Building, Bldg 262 on the 2nd Floor, both Capt. Altman and SrA Hart can be reached at 302-677-6995.