The Seriousness of Dui and the Army Regulations That Govern It
Driving while under the influence is a serious charge and there a several different army regulations that govern it. The primary regulation that governs it is article 112 of the uniformed code of military justice. DUI is a very serious offense, but when faced with a DUI while serving in the military, it means the consequences can and usually are much more severe. If someone who is a member of the armed forces finds him or herself facing a Military DUI charge, there are a number of differences regarding a military DUI compared to a civilian DUI charge.
The first difference is that when a person is in the military, their case can be tried in a military court. The military has a different criterion for evaluating the state’s legal blood alcohol level. In a military court, if the blood alcohol limit is lower than the state’s legal limit, it doesn’t necessarily matter.
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If the military court feels that the blood alcohol level was high enough to impair the ability of the person driving a vehicle, they can still be charged with a military DUI.
Intoxicated in the military is defined as the presence in the blood of any amount of alcohol, however small. It is very possible for a military person to be DUI or DWI even if a Breathalyzer or BAT, blood alcohol test, discloses that the blood alcohol concentration is considerably below the state’s legal level. Anyone in the military facing a DUI can expect that it will destroy their military career. The reason being is because a dishonorable discharge usually and often occurs when a military person is arrested for a DUI, and that means a career in the military will probably end.
There are times when the relationship of the service person with their commanding officer can have an affect on the end result, but more often than not, an alcohol related arrest bears great consequences. If a person in the military faces a court-martial because of military DUI charges, their good name, along with their military career, benefits and freedom are at great risk. More than likely a positive alcohol test will lead to the end of a military career in addition to federal conviction and jail time.
There are several repercussions for service members of all branches caught driving while intoxicated. Under Army Regulations, if a service member’s BAC is between 0. 05 and 0. 079, their driving privileges and military driver’s license can be suspended for 90 days. If their BAC is 0. 08 or more, the license will be revoked for a year. Two DUI convictions within five years will result in a five-year revocation of the license, and three alcohol-related traffic offenses will result in the permanent loss of their military driver’s license.
To reinstate their driver’s license after a DUI incident, service members must complete the ASAP training, take remedial drivers’ training, and possess a valid state driver’s license before they can obtain a letter from their commander recommending reinstatement. In addition to a license suspension, service members who are caught driving with a BAC of 0. 05 or more may receive a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand, which can be filed locally or in their permanent file. Those caught driving with a BAC of 0. or more are in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and face either a court-martial or, more commonly, a non-judicial action (Article 15) from their commander. Under Article 15, the maximum punishment could include for E-4 and below: loss of all rank to E-1, loss of half of one month’s pay for two months, and up to 60 days of extra duties and restriction to the garrison. For service members rank, E-5 to E-6, loss of one rank, loss of half of one month’s pay for two months, and up to 60 days of extra duties and restriction to the garrison.
For service members rank, E-7 and above, they may lose rank if punishment is imposed by a general officer, loss of half a month’s pay for two months, and 45 days of extra duties and restriction to the garrison. For service members who are Officers, they have no loss of rank, restriction for 30 days, arrest in quarters for 60 days, loss of half of one month’s pay for two months. Driving with a BAC of over 0. 1, or any level of intoxication sufficient to impair the mental or physical faculties, could be tried at a court-martial.
At a court-martial for drunken driving, the maximum punishment a service member could receive is, If a personal injury is caused; dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 18 months. If no injury is involved then; bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and confinement for six months. In 2009, Army Regulation 600-85 was amended to require that Soldiers be initiated for separation if they receive two convictions of DUI during the course of their career or if they are involved in two incidences of alcohol-related misconduct per year.
Intoxicated driving is a serious offense. It puts not only the safety of the driver at risk but the safety of those around him or her at risk as well. It can lead to bodily injury, destruction of property, or even death. It can reduce the effectiveness of the offending party’s unit to effectively complete the mission. It can create an undue emotional and financial stress on the service member’s family as well. The repercussions can be far felt and long lasting. The best way to avoid this entire unnecessary burden is to put down that drink and not pick up those keys.