Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) as a civilian is a serious offense, and one that can result in jail time, a license suspension, a large fine, and other potential consequences. When a civilian is arrested for and charged with a DUI, the process that follows is relatively straightforward – charges will be read, the defendant will have an opportunity to defend himself/herself or enter a plea bargain, and the party will either be found not guilty or guilty (the latter of which will result in sentencing from the court).
For members of the military on a military installation who are charged for DUI, the process may be more complicated. Indeed, the defendant may face both civilian penalties and punishments under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Consider the following about the severity of a DUI on a military installation, and call our lawyers directly for help from an experienced military law attorney.
Arrest for a DUI Off Base
If you are arrested for a DUI by a civilian police officer off base, your case will likely be prosecuted by the state. In Colorado, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08 percent results in an administrative penalty license suspension of at least nine months, between five days and one year in jail, a fine of between $600 and $1,000, and mandatory public service of between 48 and 96 hours. If the offense is a second or subsequent offense, or if any damage to person or property occurs as a result of impaired driving, the consequences are more severe.
If you are arrested and have DUI charges brought against you by the state, you will have the same rights as a civilian in defending yourself, including the right to an attorney.
Arrest for a DUI On-Base/ Punishments Under Uniform Code of Military Justice
If you are arrested for a DUI on base (or, in some cases, even if you are arrested off base) you will likely face penalties under the UCMJ. This may be the case even if you face civilian penalties for the DUI.
Section 10 U.S.C. Section 911 addresses the impaired operation of a motor vehicle or vessel. Under the code, an offending party may be subject to both adverse administrative actions and a court-martial. The action that is taken against you may be up to the discretion of your commanding officer. Typically, there are two categories of actions that are taken against those who commit DUIs while on a military installation: administrative and punitive.
Punitive actions are more serious, and include a court-martial, which could result in any number of penalties, ranging from a reduction in pay to dismissal from the military with a dishonorable discharge in the most severe of cases. Sometimes, non-judicial punishments may be pursued.
Administrative actions, on the other hand, include things like the suspension of one’s driving privileges, reduction in rank, or a letter of reprimand. You could be banned from reenlistment, ordered to attend a substance abuse course, or be ordered to attend corrective retraining.
Being convicted for DUI in a civilian court does not necessarily mean that the military will reprimand you as well, and vice versa. In some cases, the civilian and military courts will coordinate to determine how the case should proceed, handing over jurisdiction to one or the other. It is more likely that you will face penalties under the UCMJ if you are facing secondary or subsequent DUI charges, or if your DUI resulted in injury or death to any person.
Call an Experienced Criminal Defense and Military Law Attorney
Facing DUI charges can be intimidating and nerve-racking. If you’re a member of the military who was arrested for a DUI while on a military installation, the consequences that you’re potentially facing may be even more serious. Rather than risk your military career and your future, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney familiar in military law.
At the office of Anderson & Carnahan Attorneys at Law, Attorney Stephen Anderson has years of experience in Colorado military defense law. As a former infantry sergeant and part of the Air Force JAG team, attorney Anderson understands the inner workings of military cases and knows how to effectively navigate both military and civilian criminal cases.
To improve your chances of a favorable outcome when facing DUI charges, either civilian or military, call our law firm today. You can reach our team by phone at (719) 473-9099 or by sending us a message directly. We will provide you with the competent representation you deserve.