Understanding Military DUI

Understanding Military DUI in California

Military DUI is defined as an instance when an active-duty member of the military is charged with driving under the influence. In addition to incurring civilian charges, the military member charged with DUI is also likely to face certain military consequences.

A military member can get arrested for DUI on base and off base. Read more for the general overview and possible punitive measures – judiciary, non-judiciary and military.

Military DUI on base vs. off base

Depending on whether the military member was arrested on base or off base, they will be charged with DUI under different Codes. Namely, military DUI on base falls under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The charged military member can face a judiciary or non-judiciary punishment.

While there are no civilian charges, the military DUI on base is followed by a state administrative penalty, in accordance with criminal regulations by Department for Motor Vehicles.

By contrast, if arrested for DUI off base, an active duty service member will be charged under California Vehicle Code. However, additional punitive action can be taken by the service member’s command.

Adverse Administrative Action vs. Court-Martial

A military DUI charge can be followed by a judicial or non-judicial punishment. Court-martial results in a judicial punishment, whereas administrative action results in a non-judicial punishment (NJP).

There are a number of judicial punishments to active service members who are charged with DUI. The charged military member can be judicially punished by losing rank, having their pay grade reduced or their pay forfeited. Other punishments include a sentence to the brigs and military separation.

Administrative action can result in the charged service member:

  • entering mandatory substance abuse treatment and counseling
  • being assigned to additional duties or longer working hours
  • losing privileges on base
  • receiving a formal letter of reprimand, which will become part of their military record.

Mitigating military repercussions

Regardless of whether the service member has been charged with DUI on base or off base, it is likely they will experience some kind of military repercussions. Getting arrested for DUI is not something a service member can hide from their command. In turn, the command can determine the punishment they see fit.

Nevertheless, active-duty members of the military can seek legal representation from an attorney experienced in military DUI cases. Hiring a san diego criminal attorney can play a vital role in helping the charged service member avoid a judicial punishment.

What if a civilian gets arrested for DUI on base?

If a civilian gets arrested for DUI on base, they will face DUI charged in federal court rather than state court. However, the laws applied by the federal court are typically the state’s DUI laws. The federal court resorts to the application of state DUI laws since federal DUI laws do not apply to civilians.