If you are in the military and have been arrested for a DUI you are probably already aware that, unlike most employers, the United States Military does not sit back and wait for the DUI process to play itself out before taking action. Once informed of the incident, in the majority of cases, the chain of command will begin processing the matter internally, determining what sanctions will be imposed and what type of behavior will be expected from the serviceman moving forward. A meeting will be set with the chain of command wherein the severity of the incident, the individual’s service record, and any past similar occurrences are taken into account. After the meeting it will be determined what, if any, sanctions should levied. Those sanctions may range from nothing at all to base restrictions, imposed drug and/or alcohol treatment, and direct employment consequences such as having the pay grade lowered, to demotion or even separation.
Military Base Restrictions
One of the most common sanctions for members of the military facing a DUI charge is that both their on and off base privileges will be restricted. It is possible that phone, computer and communication time may be limited to certain times of the day. If the DUI occurred on base, on base driving privileges will likely, after a hearing, be denied for a period of time. It could also mean a curtailment of leisure time activities or an increase in on base chores, i.e. KP duty.
It is also common for movement off the base to be restricted or denied. That means either not being allowed to leave the base at all or, in circumstances where leaving the base is allowed, to be accompanied by a chaperon. In cases where movement off base is allowed, it is not uncommon that servicemen or women facing a DUI charge come to court with a commanding officer.
Required Drug and Alcohol Evaluation/Treatment
Unlike the criminal court system, where only after a conviction can a court force someone to obtain a drug or alcohol evaluation and complete any recommended follow up, the military acts immediately in that regard. Usually soon after the initial meeting with the commanding officer, the serviceman is required to submit to an alcohol evaluation and begin some form of education, abuse, or dependency treatment right away and as a condition of continued employment. In most cases, the counseling required by the military will satisfy any similar conditions levied by the DUI court.
Military Employment Consequences
While in some case a DUI may not have any direct effect on continued employment with the military, that is not always the case. Depending on the nature of the offense, whether or not there is any prior DUI related history and the individual’s services record, some form of a sanction with regard to future military employment may be in the works. It could be a simple cut in pay grade. It could be a demotion as well as a cut in pay. In the most extreme cases, the military may begin separation proceedings.
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and Veterans
Most courts these days are cognizant of the fact that veterans who have served their country may be experiencing mental health or addiction issues that stem directly from their service and are a contributing factor in the DUI. The King County Regional Mental Health Court is one such example. If you or someone you know has served or is serving in the military, has gotten a DUI and suffers from these conditions, consult with a DUI lawyer familiar with PTSD and addiction issues as soon as possible.
For the most part, the DUI court and administrative proceedings that one enlisted in the military will face does not differ greatly than that of the civilian population. He or she will, however, be dealing with issues of employment that are on an entirely different scale. If you are in the military and have been arrested for a DUI, contact the DUI lawyers at Milios Defense as soon as you can. We will review your case, discuss the issues that pertain to the military and help you find a way to cope with a very difficult situation.