October 16, 2015 By Matthew Wallin
Military - how a DUI conviction can ruin your career
Are you a military member facing DUI charges? Here is what you need to know…

Handing your driver’s license to a police officer who just pulled you over on suspicion of DUI can be terrifying. You probably are aware that you could face jail time and the loss of your driver’s license if you are convicted of DUI. However, the consequences can be far more severe if you are member of the military.

Members of the military are held to a high moral standard. As a result, the military takes DUI charges very seriously. Unfortunately, studies have shown that service members are almost twice as likely to abuse alcohol as their civilian counterparts.1

If you are military member, a DUI conviction could end your military career. It is imperative that you speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney if you are accused of DUI.

Not an Ordinary DUI

A DUI conviction under California Vehicle Code 23152(a) carries harsh penalties. These include imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months and fines of up to $2,000.

If you are a member of the military, you could also be subject to additional penalties.

These administrative penalties include:

  • Letters of reprimand;
  • Revocation of pass privileges;
  • Mandatory substance abuse treatment;
  • Corrective training;
  • Reduction in your grade; and
  • Prevention of reenlistment.2

It is important to remember that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution prevents you from being charged more than once for the same crime, so you will likely be charged in military court rather than civilian court. Regardless, you could be subjected to these administrative penalties if your conviction occurred in civilian court.

If prosecutors decide not to pursue charges against you, the military can choose to do so.

Military Court Process

If you are charged with DUI while on a military base, or if the military decides to pursue charges in lieu of state charges, then you will be tried in a military court rather than a civilian court.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 111 stipulates that any person who operates a vehicle while drunk shall be punished “as a court-martial may direct.”3 The punishment for violating UCMJ Article 111 includes:

  • A reduction in grade;
  • Confinement to military jail;
  • Forfeiture of pay; and
  • Dismissal. 4

Along with these penalties, you could be mandated to repay any money you received from the GI Bill and additional fines can be levied against you. Your security clearance could also be reduced, which can be a detriment to your military career.

Speak to a Federal DUI Attorney at Wallin & Klarich

If you are a military member accused of DUI, you face devastating consequences. That is why you need to speak to a skilled DUI defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been successfully defending our clients accused of DUI for over 30 years. Let us help you now.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney can help no matter where you are located.

Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.

1. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arcr344/401-407.htm

2. http://www.militaryonesource.mil/legal?content_id=269355

3. http://www.ucmj.us/sub-chapter-10-punitive-articles/911-article-111-drunken-or-reckless-driving

4. Id.

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