Administrative Separation Board/Board of Inquiry (BOI)
What is an Administrative Separation Board/BOI?
When the military seeks to terminate you from your employment, the procedure is an Administrative Separation (AdSep) board or a Board of Inquiry (BOI). The major difference between AdSep and BOI is that an AdSep board is for enlisted service members and a BOI is for officers.
When this occurs, you must first be notified in writing that your command wants to separate you. In most instances, you have the opportunity to waive your board and agree to be separated. NEVER waive your board before consulting with an attorney. Doing this can have consequences that will follow you throughout your life.
A board is not a criminal proceeding. Because of this, you do not have the same rights as you would during a court martial. The board cannot result in a criminal conviction or confinement like a court martial, so the military considers this to be “administrative” in nature.
You do, however, have the right to a hearing, and to present evidence and witnesses on your behalf. The rules of evidence do not apply in these hearings as they would in a court martial, so the government can simply present a package of documents to prove their case against you instead of presenting live witnesses. You have the right to a military defense counsel as well as the right to hire a civilian defense counsel to help you prepare your case.
What does the hearing consist of?
A board consists of 3 members and it is their responsibility to decide four basic questions:
1) Is there a basis for separation?
2) Should the service member be retained or separated?
3) What should be the characterization of service?
4) Should suspension of the separation be recommended?
Your attorney will present evidence and witnesses to the board to persuade them to decide these questions in your favor. The goal is always to argue for retention in the service (to not be terminated from the military). However, if a service member is separated, characterization of service becomes extremely important. You can be separated with a characterization of Honorable, General, or Other Than Honorable (OTH).
An Honorable characterization entitles you to keep all benefits and privileges from your military service.
A General discharge entitles you to keep many benefits and privileges, but you do lose several benefits including the G.I. Bill.
An Other Than Honorable discharge basically removes all privileges and benefits from your military service. Additionally, there is no set time period after which you can get an automatic upgrade (for example, 6 months). Once you receive an OTH discharge, it is very difficult to change that.
Because of the seriousness of these proceedings and how much is at risk, it is very important to have a lawyer who is well-versed in the military justice system and who will fight for you.
To schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our lawyer, please get in touch with us today.