Often people choose to enter the military in order to get practical experience and serve their country. The application process is selective, and applicants need to be able to pass background checks. Certain branches maintain more exclusive enrollment, which means those with a DUI are less likely to be selected. If you are arrested and charged with a military DUI, you may face a court martial or Article 15 procedure. Drunk driving charges that occur off a military base can have consequences for your career in the military as well. You could face misconduct charges or referral to alcohol abuse treatment. Phoenix DUI attorney James E. Novak may be able to represent you if you are a service member charged with a drunk driving offense.Military DUI
Both military and civil courts can have jurisdiction over a military DUI. Jurisdiction will depend on where you were arrested. There is no civilian or state jurisdiction if drunk driving happened on a federal military installation. Sometimes military and civilian authorities must coordinate to determine how you’ll be prosecuted. However, it’s important to be aware that even if you were acquitted of a DUI in civilian court, you could still face punishment through the court martial process based on the same set of facts surrounding the drunk driving episode.
If you face arrest for a DUI on a military base, you may be charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Title 10, section 911, Article 111. This military DUI can result in a court marital as well as negative administrative action. When the arrest is on base, you won’t be charged in civilian court. However, Arizona can still suspend your driver’s license or mandate that you install an ignition interlock device at your own expense.DUI Away From Federal Military Installation
What if you go off base one night and get a DUI? In that case, you may face arrest by the police. You can be charged with a DUI in court and face the charges that any civilian might face, along with the penalties that come with conviction. In most cases, you will not be given any special treatment by the prosecutor simply because you are on active military duty. You should not assume that you will be shown leniency, and it is advisable to retain an attorney to defend you because the penalties associated with an ordinary DUI can be serious depending on the circumstances.
In addition, your commanding officer may also take disciplinary action against you based on a DUI away from the military installation. Disciplinary action he or she might take could involve criminal charges such as disorderly conduct or DUI charges. You could be ordered to go through corrective training or mandatory substance abuse treatment.Punishment From a Commanding Officer
Your commanding officer retains significant discretion when determining how to handle an instance of drunk driving on a military installation. The potential consequences may involve an Article 15, which involves a nonjudicial punishment, a court martial recommendation, and administrative actions. A court martial can result in you suffering a grade reduction, a forfeiture of pay, dismissal from the military, and imprisonment. You can also face nonjudicial punishments set forth in Article 15 of the UCMJ, which is known as office hours. The administrative actions you may be subject to can include corrective training, a letter of reprimand, revocation of your driving privileges, reduction in your grade, and even a bar to reenlistment. If you have two serious drunk driving episodes in the course of a year, you may be confronted with separation proceedings.Consult an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney in Phoenix
A DUI conviction can pose a significant obstacle to your ability to stay in the military and continue on a chosen career path. You could not only lose your rank, but also be forced out of the military altogether. If you are charged with a military DUI, it is vital to take your situation seriously. It is wise to retain a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who understands military law. Mr. Novak represents defendants charged with drunk driving in the Phoenix area, including in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, and across Maricopa County. Call him at (480) 413-1499 or contact us via our online form.