Getting a DUI charge can shake up your world, as even first-time offenders can face fines, jail time and a mark on their criminal record. Since military members are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) as well as state and federal law, the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could be more intense.
Depending on where the arrest happens, you could face regular criminal charges and penalties that a court martial sees fit. You also risk carrying on your duties the same way you did before a traffic stop. Since both your reputation and career are at risk, it’s work getting legal aid to help defend your rights and ranking.
How does my place of arrest play a role?
Since military courts exist to keep order on the base, sometimes civilian courts don’t have to get involved. In the case of a DUI charge that takes place on base, the court martial trial will determine the military member’s punishment. There will be no criminal charges pressed against the individual, but the state may still strip them of certain driving privileges.
However, if a civilian police officer catches an individual driving while impaired off of the military base, they will face criminal charges imposed by a civilian court. Commanding officers will also decide if they want to administer additional punishments.
It’s also worth noting that if a friend or loved one visits and receives a charge for driving under the influence on the military base, then their case will go straight to federal court.
What penalties will I face?
Whether a DUI arrest of a military member happens on or off base, these are some punitive and administrative actions you may face:
- Forfeiture of pay or reduced pay grade
- Dismissal from military
- Revoked driving privileges
- Corrective training or refresher courses on military laws
- Substance abuse treatment
Taking extra steps to schedule a sober ride can save you from a premature end to your honorable career.