If you serve in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, being charged with a DUI can result in serious consequences. Military service members who are charged with DUIs on or off base could result in consequences in both civil court and within the military. If you are charged with a DUI while driving on a military base, you could be court-martialed. Even if your DUI happened off of the base, your commanding officer can also punish you separately for misconduct in addition to any penalties you might receive in civilian court. Military service members who are facing DUI charges should talk to an experienced Montgomery County DUI attorney at DiCindio Law as soon as possible for help with defending against their cases. DUI cases can result in severe consequences for military service members.
Jurisdiction for military DUI cases
Unlike other offenses such as desertion, military courts do not exclusively have jurisdiction over DUI offenses. This is because a civilian court might also have jurisdiction over a DUI offense based on its location. If both civilian and military authorities file DUI charges, they will normally coordinate with each other to determine how the military service member will be prosecuted whether in the military court or the civilian court. However, it is possible for you to face charges in both the civilian and military courts for your DUI. Even if your DUI charges are dismissed by a civilian court, you can still face penalties from the military based on the DUI incident, including being court-martialed. Whether the civilian court has jurisdiction will normally be determined by whether your arrest occurred on base or off base.
Off-base DUI offenses
If you are arrested for a DUI while you are off-base as a military service member, you will likely be charged in civilian court and not the military court. However, your commanding officer might initiate administrative penalties against you, including the following:
- Require you to undergo alcohol treatment
- Require you to undergo corrective training
- Revoke your pass privileges
You might also have DUI charges filed against you by the military after your civilian DUI case is over.
Military DUI consequences
Military service members who are charged with driving under the influence on base will be subject to how their commanding officers choose to proceed. Your commanding officer might issue an Article 15 against you, which gives him or her the authority to decide whether or not you are guilty and to determine the consequences. The penalties for an Article 15 finding of guilt are lower than for a conviction obtained through a court-martial. If your commanding officer finds you guilty of drunk driving through an Article 15 process, you will face the following potential penalties:
- Reduction in rank
- Fine equal to two-thirds of the basic pay for one month
- Up to eight days of confinement
- Reprimand or admonition
- Serving extra duty for up to seven days
- Restrictions for up to seven days
- Corrective training
- Mandatory substance abuse training
Your commanding officer can also recommend you to face a court-martial and take other administrative actions. If you are found guilty at a court-martial, you could forfeit some pay, have your grade reduced, be imprisoned, or be dismissed from service and be barred from re-enlisting. If you have two alcohol-related serious incidents within one year, you can face being separated from the military.
How do I find a criminal defense attorney near me for help with a military DUI?
If you are facing DUI charges as a military service member, the consequences can be severe and impact both your life and your career. For help with a civilian DUI charge, contact a DUI lawyer in Montgomery County at DiCindio Law today by calling 610-430-3535.