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Administrative Separation & BOI

Types of Military Discharge

There are two types of discharge from the military: administrative discharge or punitive discharge.

Administrative Separation

Military members facing administrative separation are entitled to due process. In certain situations, they may be entitled to an administrative discharge board. First, when a member has achieved a high enough grade/rank or long enough time in service, they are entitled to a board for any early discharge. Second, when the commander is pursuing an Under Other Than Honorable Conditions Discharge, the member is entitled to a board.

Types of Discharges

With an administrative separation, there are three possible ways to characterize the member’s service:

Honorable: An honorable discharge ensures a veteran is eligible for all the benefits they have earned during their time in service. It tells civilians you served your country with the highest level of dignity and personal conduct. You will normally receive an Honorable discharge at the expiration of your obligated service. You can also be separated early with an Honorable discharge through processes like a discharge for childbirth or a medical discharge for a condition not a disability.

General: A general discharge is given to those who’s service was satisfactory, though fell short of expectations in some areas. It usually follows disciplinary issues documented through letters of counseling, 6105’s, or nonjudicial punishment. It can limit the veteran’s access to certain benefits, most notably, the GI Bill.

Under Other Than Honorable Conditions (“OTH” or “UO”): This is the lowest characterization under which a servicemember can be “fired” administratively. It indicates there has been serious misconduct during the member’s service. This type of discharge can severely limit access to any veterans’ benefits and limit civilian employment.

Punitive Military Discharge

A punitive discharge can only be adjudged as a sentence in a court-martial. You cannot receive any of these types of discharges through the administrative discharge process. There are three types of punitive discharge:

  • Bad Conduct Discharge: A Bad Conduct Discharge applies only to enlisted persons and can only be adjudged by a general court-martial or a special court-martial. It cannot be imposed in a court-martial that has been referred to trial by Military Judge Alone. It is less severe than a Dishonorable Discharge but still carries a significant stigma that will affect a person for the rest of their life.
  • Dishonorable Discharge: A Dishonorable Discharge applies only to enlisted persons convicted of offenses in a General Court-Martial for which a dishonorable discharge is the maximum punishment is authorized under the Manual for Courts-Martial. It is a severe punishment reserved for those who should be separated under conditions of dishonor.
  • Dismissal: A dismissal is the equivalent of a Dishonorable Discharge, but it is imposed on commissioned officers, commissioned warrant officers, cadets, and midshipmen who have been convicted in a General Court-Martial for offenses for which the punishment is authorized under the Manual for Courts-Martial.

The Process for Enlisted Administrative Separation

Each service has slightly different regulations for the administrative separation process. However, there are always only two methods a command can use to separate an enlisted servicemember: Notification Administrative Separation or Administrative Separation Board.

Notification Administrative Separation

You are not entitled to an administrative separation board when

  • You are enlisted,
  • You have less than 6 years of time in service, and
  • The command is seeking no lower than a General discharge characterization.

If that is the case, the command will notify you of the discharge on the service’s applicable notification form. The notification will state the basis for the administrative separation and the lowest characterization possible in your case.

You will then elect your rights. You have the right to see the evidence the command is relying on. You have the right to respond in writing. You have the right to review by the General Court-Martial Convening Authority.

In the Air Force, you have the right to representation by an Area Defense Counsel. However, in the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Coast Guard, you only have the right to consult with counsel. They can provide only a limited scope of representation.

At KMD, we provide the full scope of representation, including talking extensively with our clients with no time limit, preparing robust packages of evidence rebutting the allegations, and providing in-depth legal analysis for the Commanding Officer’s consideration. Notification administrative separation cases can be hard to fight, which is why it is important to have a strong defense. It is even more difficult to fight the discharge after the fact through the discharge upgrade process . That is why you should consult with a military defense lawyer who ensures you have the best chance at a favorable result.

Administrative Discharge Board/Administrative Separation Board (ADSEP Board)

If you are enlisted and have more than 6 years in service, you are entitled to an administrative separation board. In the Air Force only, you are entitled to an administrative discharge board if you are a noncommissioned officer on the date of notification, regardless of your years in service. Enlisted members of all ranks and time in service are entitled to an administrative separation board if the command is seeking an Under Other Than Honorable Conditions discharge characterization.

You will first be notified of the administrative separation. You will elect your rights. The initial election of rights involves your choice of counsel – military and/or civilian defense counsel. In all services, you are entitled to a military defense counsel to represent you at the administrative discharge board.

There is a lot of preparation that goes into presenting your case at an administrative separation board. You have significantly fewer due process rights at a board than you would at a court-martial, so it is imperative that you have someone creative advocating for you. The rules of evidence don’t apply, so even if evidence was seized illegally, or a statement was taken from you in violation of your rights, those can be shown to an administrative separation board.

You have the right to present your own statement to the board, orally, in writing, or both. The manner of presentation is essential to making sure your case resolves as favorably as possible. Again, it is extremely important that you are represented by someone you believe has your best interests at the forefront of their mind. KMD takes all the time necessary to patiently and fully prepare our clients for their statement to the administrative discharge board.

Officer Notification Administrative Separation

Officers can also be separated through notification procedures or via a Board of Inquiry. If the officer is a probationary officer on the date of notification, and the characterization of service the command is seeking is no less than a General discharge, are only entitled to a notification administrative separation that looks exactly like the enlisted process, except the discharge is reviewed and decided on by the service Secretary.

Board of Inquiry (BOI)

Officers who are no longer probationary officers, or those whose command are seeking an Under Other Than Honorable Conditions characterization of service are entitled to a Board of Inquiry. A Board of Inquiry is substantially the same as an enlisted administrative discharge board, with the exception that the board members must be comprised solely of officers that outrank the officer facing the Board.

What happens on the day of the board/BOI?

The exact process varies between each service, but they generally follow a similar format.

First, the potential board members are questioned to ensure they are not biased. They are picked by the Convening Authority, which is the same person who orders the board. That makes it even more important that your counsel exercise the skill required to fully question the board members to make sure they’re the right people to hear your case.

Next, the government presents its documentary evidence in the form of a binder. The Defense has the ability to object to any evidence presented based on the limited grounds contained in the relevant instructions. The Defense presents its documentary evidence, and the government has the right to object as well. The government and Defense both have the opportunity to present witnesses. Once all the evidence has been presented, the board members deliberate.

The board members must decide the following questions in order:

  • Is there a basis to believe the charged conduct has been committed?
    • If the answer to the question is no, the case ends there. You stay in the military.
  • If yes, should the member be separated?
    • If the answer to that question is no, the exact possible outcomes vary by service. In the Navy, for example, retention is simply a recommendation, and you can still be separated.
  • If yes, what should the characterization of service be?
    • The convening authority cannot impose any worse characterization of service than what the board recommends.

The board can also recommend your separation be suspended, generally for a period of 6 months. Suspension is also only a recommendation that can be ignored at the discretion of the convening authority.

Why is your choice of military defense attorney so important?

At KMD, we pride ourselves on our team approach to every client’s case. When the stakes involve the loss of your career, potential retirement, and long-term impacts on your ability to obtain civilian employment, you need to make the right choice about who the leader of that team should be.

You need someone who will listen to you, think creatively, and advocate tirelessly for the best possible outcome in your case.

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*Please note, KMD does not handle cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs, disability claims, or family law matters.

My local Military Defense Counsel is very short staffed so I had trouble getting a hold of them. Not wanting to wait I contacted Ms. Danielle Espinosa over the weekend and she was able to help review and discuss my response with me before it was due Monday. She was extremely knowledgeable, cut the fluff and told me like it was. I recommend anyone serious about the future of their Military Career to work with this team. Thank you for your help!
When I retained Ms. Kral, I was a nervous wreck. As she worked with me over the course of 18 months, she was compassionate and was able to assure me that I would have a future. Even my command JAG assured me I’d be alright when I hired her. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome with my case. Ms. Kral should be your choice if you need a military defense attorney.
Chad S.
Chad S.
Abbigayle Hunter and her legal team, especially Danielle Espinosa, were exceptional! The communication was prompt, professional, and thorough. From the moment we reached out to them, they showed a genuine interest in understanding our case and providing us with the best legal representation possible.Abbigayle Hunter and Danielle Espinosa, went above and beyond to ensure that we were kept informed throughout the entire legal process. They promptly responded to our emails and phone calls, addressing any concerns or questions we had. Their attention to detail and extensive knowledge of the law instilled confidence in us that we were in capable hands.Not only did Abbigayle Hunter and her team provide us with excellent communication, but they also displayed a remarkable level of expertise. They meticulously examined every aspect of our case, leaving no stone unturned. Their dedication and commitment to our case were evident in the meticulous research they conducted, the thorough documentation they prepared, and the persuasive arguments they presented.Abbigayle Hunter not only possessed an impressive understanding of the law but also had excellent negotiation skills. Her tirelessly advocated on our behalf, ensuring that our interests were protected and our rights were upheld. Their ability to navigate complex legal matters and maneuver through any obstacles that arose was truly remarkable.
Rufus Byrd
Rufus Byrd
Stephanie and her team were AMAZING! I found her through a mutual friend and she handled my case with care and compassion. Even her team checked on me, answered all my questions I had, overall she made sure everything was token care of during the ENTIRE process! When she told me “don’t you worry, that’s my job” I truly believe her and in the end she got the results that I am so grateful for! Hopefully I won’t have to go through the process again but if I have to she will most definitely be the woman I WILL call on! Thank you so much Stephanie and Danielle you both made this process a lot less stressful with your knowledge and compassion towards me and my case!!!
Steph and her team worked diligently to ensure all evidence or lack there of was thoroughly examined. Her knowledge and experience within the military justice system gave me piece of mind throughout the process as she was well versed in the way everything played out. My family and I are grateful for the hard work and professionalism displayed by everyone on her team. Thank you!
Jonathon Lynch
Jonathon Lynch
Hiring Steph has been the greatest thing for my career. In the last year alone I have had horrible encounters with my immediate chain of command and twice I had the best outcome given the circumstances. I highly recommend Steph.
Eva Aguilar
Eva Aguilar
Steph was the first and clear choice to handle my ADSEP board. I was facing serious allegations, which she handled with professionalism while keeping me posted along the way. Her expertise in UCMJ matters is second to none. Without her I would have probably lost my retirement benefits.
Called on behalf of a veteran who is terminally ill regarding a discharge upgrade and spoke to their assistant Christian. Christian was so unbelievably rude and spoke to me like I'm an idiot when he was unable to answer the questions I had about their services and the process. The level of disrespect from him totally caught me off guard given the nature of work the office is supposed to be doing. What's more upsetting is the lack of empathy that he displayed during our conversation. Unfortunately, I can't not speak on the level of service from the attorneys since we decided to go with someone else but Christian either needs to undergo more training or he needs to be replaced.
Desiree M.
Desiree M.
Stephanie is very experienced and a great attorney.
Jameel Yusuf
Jameel Yusuf
There are many things that I could say about this particular law firm, but instead of going into the weeds on my particular case, I feel as though brevity would be the best choice here. I was primarily represented by Ms. Abbigayle Hunter, and in short, I believe the representation by Ms. Hunter was above reproach. I couldn’t have asked for a better legal professional to handle the complexities of my particular case. She was transparent, punctual, and actually made me feel as though she was personally invested, despite the fact that she had already been paid for representation. She didn’t sugarcoat hard truths and was very up front about all different aspects relating to my case. It was comforting in a way that she was also a fellow service member, and it made me feel as though she took this case to heart and it added another level of drive to the case. Ms. Hunter has a certain tenacity in the courtroom that I found very refreshing to witness, and I would strongly recommend her to anyone else seeking legal advice. Would actively seek to be represented by her again, though also hoping it’s never needed.
Tim Malikie
Tim Malikie
Outstanding!!!! She's very smart, knows her job, and communicates with you all the time with the best of her knowledge. I highly recommend Kral Military Defense!!!
Jamal Stephens
Jamal Stephens
After my command refused to give me due process, I was lost for words and truly had no where to turn. A shipmate referred me to Steph and it was the best possible recommendation I have ever received. Reliable, expert, professional and overall just a great person. She never lost sight of my case and would check in on me to ensure I was doing good personally. I highly recommend her services to anyone who may have a legal issue. At minimum, request a consultation. I can assure that you will not be dissatisfied!
Vincent Hurtado
Vincent Hurtado
Highly recommend Steph! Thank you for all your hard work and fighting for righteousness. My family and I will be forever grateful!
Selena Hurtado
Selena Hurtado
Great team! After hiring this legal team i was pleased with their work and their ability to go above and beyond resulting in a finding of not guilty.
Tyson Smith
Tyson Smith
Very easy to talk to. Will get you the best outcome there is
I wish you could give more than 5 stars. She deserves 10!! This was a huge decision for our child, but she was worth every penny and more. As a mom I was really concerned about him spending the money on an attorney since you never know what you’re going to get. Our child mentioned this to Stephanie and she called me to answer all my questions. She went above and beyond what was required of her, not just with the phone call but with everything she did. The case went on for longer than we had ever imagined. She never wavered in her dedication. I was honestly shocked at just how hard she worked. If only I could express in words the heart felt gratitude, we feel towards her. She fought so hard and we knew we could trust decisions she made. When ever our child would update us, we would ask what Stephanie thought. We never could have imagined finding an attorney who we trust as much as we trust her. I don’t believe you will find an attorney who will fight as hard for you as she will. I consider her a part of our family and am so very blessed to have gotten to know her. She’s an amazing attorney and an even more amazing human being.
Shelly B.
Shelly B.
Stephanie was a great attorney as well as her team they helped me through my entire CID investigation and got me a no basis separation. Every question I had was answered in the upmost professional manner. I highly recommend that you retain her defense team for any case that you have. She’s attacks every case in a manner that leaves everyone with a reasonable doubt.
This was a life changing decision.I spent hours searching for and calling several attorneys. Some didn't give me the time of day, others just seemed cold. Mrs. Kral was the only attorney I called who actually seemed to care. And not only that but she listened me and gave an honest opinion. Usually you feel that attorneys only care about money but I never once felt that from Mrs. Kral. She took a personal interest in my case and brought not only her extensive knowledge of the law, but also her fierce attitude and relentless perseverance. She never missed a beat and always had a way forward. She also has excellent communication skills and took the time to explain everything to me at every step. I felt hopeless until we met. Now I can move on with my life and move forward with everything behind me because of how valiantly she fought. I truly think that if you decide to choose Kral Military Defense to fight for you then you'll never feel disappointed. If I could give more than 5 stars then I would. Because she's not like other attorneys. She will always have your back and keep your best interests at heart. If you take away anything from this review, let it be this: You want someone behind you that is willing to fight for you as if you were their own and also has the strength and knowledge to be successful. Don't pass up the opportunity to increase your chances and decrease your stress.
Evan Giancola
Evan Giancola
The team at Kral Military Defense is very approachable, knowledgeable, and dedicated. I was facing an LOR due to the results of an investigation conducted by the military. The team at Kral Military Defense reviewed the report of investigation and was able to craft an excellent rebuttal to the charges. Ultimately, the leadership decided to rescind the LOR . The whole team, Steph, Danielle, ,Abby, and Chris were very responsive to my questions and requests through the whole process. If you ever find yourself in any sort of legal situation in the military I highly recommend that you contact them and put them in your corner!
Stephanie was very knowledgeable and despite me being so anxious about my case helped me through it and got an innocent verdict within 6 minutes of the board being adjourned. So very grateful for her and my JAG for helping me out and highly recommend hiring Stephanie especially if you are military.
Andrew Compton
Andrew Compton
This law firm it worth every penny. Mrs. Danielle is an amazing women. She is kind and warm hearted and professional. She will make sure she understands you very well and will fights tooth and nail for you. Mrs. Abby is phenomenal. Mrs. Abby's Knowledge is deep and spot on. Mrs. Abby knows what to do and if she's not sure about UCMJ she'll make sure she does within your next call. Both these ladies are top-tier lawyer and paralegal. And I will always recommend these two to others for the duration of their long careers. Christian was a great guy and made sure all information was pushed up to them in a timely manner he's a hidden gem. They fight the good fight. Do not doubt them and work with them and they'll do their best and more.
Peter Petracca
Peter Petracca
Kral Military Defense has been absolutely amazing to me. Their whole team is very easy to work with and does such an amazing job. Kral defense was referred to me by JAGS I used to work with and I would absolutely 110% recommend and refer them to anyone in need of assistance. They have made my whole situation stress free and easy.
Kyle Lewis
Kyle Lewis
Steph and her team helped me to get a positive outcome during my NJP process. As soon I heard my case was going to captain mast, I googled military lawyer's and her name came up. With her experience as a former active duty Jag, her team truly understands the military system and what commands can and cannot do. With just a week to prepare for the NJP, her team got me templates that made the process easier. Her wording in her official letter to my command made it hard for the command to process several charges. This team is professional and know what they are doing. Hopefully I am never in this position again, but if so Kral Military Defense will be my first call.
James Johnson
James Johnson
The Kralmilitary defense firm saved my career and my family today! I have never experienced such a graceful, tactful, intelligent person in my life. She literally destroyed the prosecutor on everything and went tooth and nail to fight for my rights and career. I’m forever indebt to this firm. The Paralegal have lived the military life so they fully understand and know how to support. This firm should add 5 more stars because the service she gives 5 stars is not enough.
ron bobo
ron bobo
I am blessed to have Abby as my lawyer with Danielle as her paralegal during my ADSEP board. My retirement was on the line since I was just a few months away from it. The Kral team worked my case as true professionals. Since they all have a military background in the Air Force. Knowing military law in all branches is what they do best. Abby even worked with the military jag I requested to represent me as well. She now continues to do follow ups to make sure there’s no resistance from my command after we had won the board unanimously. If you feel like your command is out to get you without the facts, the Kral team will provide all the receipts to defend you.Joseph
Joe C
Joe C

About The Firm

Kral Military Defense defends members of America's military throughout the world. We do not maintain physical office space in the traditional sense. Instead, we offer secure video and telephone consultations and meet with current clients, as needed, at home and abroad.

Office Location

3111 Camino Del Rio N.
Suite 400
San Diego, CA 92108

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Nothing on this site should create an expectation of any particular outcome or result. Every case is unique.

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