If you are a member of the military, a DUI arrest may have a significant impact not only on your career in the armed forces, but also on your future careers in a civilian capacity. Thus, if you are a member of the military and are facing a DUI, it is important that you understand the potential conse
The Uniformed Code of Military JusticeAny person subject to this chapter who-- (1) operates or physically controls any vehicle, aircraft, or vessel in a reckless or wanton manner or while impaired by a substance described in section 912a(b) of this title (Article 112a(b)), or (2) operates or is in actual physical control of any vehicle, aircraft, or vessel while drunk or when the alcohol concentration in the person's blood or breath is equal to or exceeds the level prohibited under subsection (b), as shown by chemical analysis, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct. In determining the applicable legal limit for the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream or breath for incidents occurring inside the United States, the UCMJ adopts the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for the state in which the conduct at issue, i.e. the operation of an aircraft, vehicle, of vessel, occurred. In Virginia, the legal limit is .08 BAC. Thus, if you are a servicemember cited for a DUI in Virginia, the BAC applied by the UCMJ to your situation will be .08 BAC. A servicemember charged with a DUI or DWI will be tried in the military court system in accordance with the UCMJ. Military courts in DUI and DWI cases are subject neither to sentencing guidelines nor minimum sentence requirements. As such, a servicemember brought before a military court on DUI or DWI charges is truly vulnerable to the sympathies of the court, a situation making the attainment of competent counsel all the more pressing. Military sentences for a DUI or DWI may include the following: dishonorable or general discharge, reduction in rank, reduced pay grade, fines, forfeiture of pay or allowances, reprimand, confinement, and imprisonment. Unlike DUI and DWI sentencing in civilian courts, probation is not a sentencing option for military courts due to the temporary nature of courts martial.
Tried In Civilian Courtf you are being charged and tried in a civilian court, the UCMJ cannot charge you for the same offense. However you may face charges for corresponding offenses, such as disorderly conduct or resistance to law enforcement officials. Thus, in addition to military punishment, a service member may face civilian punishments as well. Civilian punishments for DUI and DWI may include the following: revocation of the service member's driver's license, mandatory alcohol education, or the installation of an ignition interlock on the servicemember's vehicle. Furthermore, following the end of a servicemember's military career, finding civilian employment may be made more difficult with a DUI on the servicemember's record. Many civilian employers, such as those in the medical field, refuse to hire applicants with a DUI on their record. In addition, the serious nature of a DUI charge in combination with any adverse action taken by the military in response to such a charge reflect poorly on the character and fitness of former servicemembers and work against their potential for employment in civilian capacities. The overall seriousness of DUI and DWI charges for members of the armed forces, both while serving in the military and later in a civilian capacity, are not to be taken lightly. It is therefore highly recommended that if you are a service member facing DUI or DWI charges, you contact an experienced attorney in these matters immediately.