Most jobs don't care if their employees get a DUI. But the military is not “most jobs.” Our men and women in uniform have dedicated themselves to serving this great country, and they deserve all the rights and presumptions of innocence as anyone else when charged with a DUI. A DUI arrest off base does not have to mean a conviction. A dedicated DUI defense lawyer can fight to keep a defendant's record clean, and maintain their license to drive.
Military Personnel with a DUI
Driving under the influence (DUI) is an offense whether it takes place off base, or on base. Off base DUIs will be prosecuted in the state court. DUIs on military bases will be treated as a military offense. Wherever the case is handled, there are serious consequences for a DUI conviction.
Anyone caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the State of Georgia risks arrest for a DUI. The law does not treat military personnel and civilians any differently when they are driving on public roads and highways. All drivers are subject to arrest for driving while intoxicated. Driving with a blood alcohol content 0.08% or higher is a per se violation of the law, or 0.02% for under-21 drivers, and 0.04% for commercial drivers.
Local Military Bases
Every major branch but the Coast Guard has a military base here in Georgia. Across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, there are more than 70,000 active duty military personnel in the state. The Atlanta area alone is home to Fort Gillem, Fort McPherson, and Naval Air Station Atlanta. If a driver is arrested on one of these or other Georgia military bases, it is not the state court that will prosecute their case. Instead these cases are handled by military, according to the rules and regulations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A soldier arrested for a DUI may face court martial, as well as a number of administrative penalties. Article 15 of the UCMJ authorize a number of non-judicial penalties for a DUI, which could include forfeiture of pay; grade reduction; suspension; limited duties; imprisonment; and even military discharge. Additional administrative penalties could include revoking pass privileges, letters of reprimand, and requiring the individual seek alcohol treatment.
In addition to the penalties handed down by military officials, a military member may lose their state driver's license. The Georgia Department of Driver Services may suspend a driver's license for up to a year on a first DUI offense. This is a state administrative action rather than a military process.
Drunk Driving Charge Off Base
Any DUI arrest off base will be handled locally in the state court. This means that the driver, military or civilian, will face the same types of charges. This could include jail time; over $1,000 in fees, penalties and fines; mandatory DUI school, and community service hours. In addition, the driver only has 30 days to request an administrative hearing to challenge the automatic driver's license suspension, which could suspend a driver's license for up to a year after a DUI.
Military DUI Defense Lawyer
Just because the police treated you like a criminal does not mean that you have to plead guilty. You have rights, and talking to an experienced DUI defense lawyer can put to rest your fears of how a DUI could affect your military career. Don't wait until tomorrow, because your 30 day time limit to appeal your suspended license begins from the day of arrest. You can call our office 24/7.