Driving under the influence (DUI) charges come with a whole host of consequences for the person accused. A conviction might mean prison time and thousands of dollars in fines. Additionally, drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs will typically lose their licenses temporarily and will pay more for insurance when they start driving again.
People in certain professions have more to lose after an arrest for an alleged drunk driving incident. Commercial drivers could lose their eligibility for a commercial driver’s license and might find themselves without a job. Military servicemembers are also at high risk for massive consequences when facing DUI charges.
On-base drunk driving rules are often stricter
There are some people who actually think that it is preferable to get arrested on base for a technical offense like driving home after a night at the bar with friends. They might assume that the military police would be more likely to treat them with dignity, respect and empathy during an arrest. They might also assume that military justice would offer minimal penalties for a technical offense where no one gets hurt.
However, those assumptions are inaccurate. The military punishments for DUI offenses are typically as strict as civilian penalties and often worse. The military police also exist specifically to guard against nepotism and the potential for lawless conduct on military property. Facing accusations of misconduct on base can lead to many serious penalties, including court-martial.
The military has a zero-tolerance policy for a drunk driving
When you face charges in the civilian courts, you can expect there to be significant career consequences for an impaired driving defense while actively serving in the military. A conviction in the civilian courts could affect your ability to be present for your duty and could also leave you unable to perform certain job responsibilities, like driving.
You can expect to face penalties for a conviction or guilty plea in the civilian courts. You could lose wages, rank or future promotion opportunities. In some cases, you might even face the end of your career. Two DUI charges or alcohol-related offenses in a short amount of time could be justification to begin separation proceedings.
Defending yourself either from military justice or civilian criminal charges is the best option as a service member accused of a drunk driving offense.