Military DUI: What Happens if You Get a DUI While Serving?

As per the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), a DUI charge while serving in the military can receive different penalties than a civilian DUI charge. It indicates how the military holds its service members to higher standards, and the consequences are even more severe since they are defending the country.

 Military Regulations for DUI Charges 

 The UCMJ has specific provisions applicable to its members facing DUI charges. The military has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to DUIs. When a military member faces a DUI charge, there are various levels of command involved in the process. The consequences range from loss of rank, forfeiture of pay, confinement, court-martial, discharge from the military, or death penalty, depending on the severity of the offense. The military recognizes that service members are leaders, and they must hold themselves to a higher standard in all aspects, including alcohol and drug consumption. 

Effects of a DUI Charge on Military Members

The consequences of a DUI charge go beyond legal repercussions. It can affect a member's career in the military significantly. A DUI conviction can lead to revocation of security clearance, making it hard to perform one's duties, and even termination of employment in some cases. Additionally, it can impact the soldier's morale, discipline, and the unit's overall readiness. Since the military expects its members to lead by example, a DUI can negatively affect the individual's reputation and future career prospects. 

Military Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program 

The military has implemented an Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program to help prevent DUI charges and similar offenses among its members. The program aims to promote individual responsibility, prevent drug and alcohol abuse, and maintain mission readiness. It offers education, counseling, and treatment to members who have an addiction problem, as well as preventive measures to limit potential misuse of alcohol or drugs by the service members. 

DUI Defense in the Military

When a military member faces DUI charges, they have the right to a military defense attorney, free of charge. The military defense attorney will represent the service member at the administrative hearing and in court if necessary. In some cases, outside legal counsel may be necessary to navigate the civilian court system. It is essential to understand that the military defense attorney doesn't represent the service member's interests; they represent the military's interests. Therefore, it is critical to have a military defense attorney who understands both the military and civilian legal systems and can guide the service member accordingly. 

Impact of a DUI Charge on Veteran Benefits 

When a veteran is convicted of a DUI, they can face additional penalties in addition to the ones imposed by the military. A DUI can impact a veteran's disability benefits or eligibility for VA benefits. Moreover, it can affect the veteran's ability to find employment or access training programs. As a result, veterans facing DUI charges must be aware of the significant consequences that can result from a conviction. 

Steps to Take After a DUI Charge 

If a service member receives a DUI charge, the first step is to get in touch with a military defense attorney immediately. It is essential to obtain legal guidance to ensure the service member understands their rights and knows the potential consequences. Additionally, the service member should cooperate with the legal proceedings and consistently attend all scheduled appointments and meetings. Lastly, the service member should make all reasonable efforts to seek treatment, counseling, or rehabilitation, if necessary. 


In conclusion, military members facing a DUI charge can face severe consequences, both legal and personal. It is essential to understand how the military justice system operates, the possible penalties, and how it can affect the member's reputation and career. The military has a zero-tolerance policy towards DUIs, as it expects its members to hold themselves to a higher standard. When facing a DUI charge, it is essential to seek legal guidance from a military defense attorney and take all necessary steps to mitigate the consequences. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and it's advisable for military members to avoid drinking and driving as far as possible.

Read More:


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.