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How Does a DUI Impact You If You Are Military?

We know the punishment for a driving under the influence charge can be very costly to those who have committed the offense. You can lose your driver’s license, be sentenced to time in jail, or be required to attend traffic school. There are many other types of punitive actions the State legal system can levy against the person who is being charged with driving under the influence. The stakes are even higher for those who are service members in the variety of military branches across the nation. Here is what you need to know about driving under the influence for those in the military.

When Does the Military Get Involved?

The first thing to consider when it comes to a potential driving under the influence charge while in the military is where the offense took place. Was it in a civilian setting or on a military base? The location will determine what type of consequences will be enforced. If the offense is at a civilian location off base, then the military has to defer to the State legal system. If the offense occurs on a military base then the military legal system will pursue the matter. However, if a service member were to be charged with a driving under the influence off base and then come onto military grounds and cause additional charges then the military can punish the individual in addition to the State for charges other than the DUI.   

What Types of Punishment Does the Military Use?

If the offense occurs on a military installation then the range of punishments will depend on the nature of the offense and the severity. Primarily, the military branch can invoke a court-martial which allows the military justice system to reprimand the individual for their crimes on the military property. The types of punishments that are issued during the court-martial can range from mild to extreme. For example, someone may have additional hours of physical training or lose their ability to leave base for time off. Additionally, some might receive a demotion in rank or receive a dishonorable discharge from the service. This range of punishments make it difficult to know how a service member might fair under a driving under the influence change. However, the threat of a loss in rank and ultimately the threat of a dishonorable discharge can affect the potential money received in retirement. Losing that benefit will certainly be a deterrent for many from driving under the influence.

While these punishments can seem more impactful than those on the civilian side, it is important to note that driving under the influence while on a military setting is more of a risk to the standard of security that the military has established. At all costs, it is beneficial to avoid a driving under the influence charge under any circumstance but especially while in the military service. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you are charged with a DUI while on base you may need to seek the counsel of an experienced DUI attorney to help you navigate the details and potential consequences that you have to face. Contact us today to learn how we can potentially represent you in your legal matter.

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  • Washington Association for Justice
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
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