What happens to a soldier charged with a DUI off the base?

| Feb 14, 2019 | Firm News

Many forget that soldiers are, for the most part, young people prone to momentary mistakes and impetuousness. But momentary bad decisions can have serious, long-term repercussions.

If you are a soldier on active duty and stationed at a military base, you could face both civil and military punishment if charged with a DUI while off the base.

Civilian punishment

If you are a soldier charged by civilian authorities with DUI, you will face punishment from the state. While the law differs from state to state, in Georgia the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08 percent. The drinking age in Georgia is 21 and the BAC limit for drivers under 21 is 0.02 percent.

As a first-time DUI offender in Georgia, you will spend:

  • 24 hours in jail
  • Lose your license for one year
  • Spend 40 hours in community service
  • Face fines of up to $1,000
  • Spend time on probation
  • Be required to attend a DUI education course
  • Depending on the severity of the offense, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle and pay for its upkeep

The penalties get stiffer for every ensuing DUI conviction.

Uniform Code of Military Justice

You will also likely face punitive action through the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Although you can’t be charged for the same incident on and off base, you can still be punished for misconduct under the UCMJ.

If civilian authorities don’t prosecute you, you can face a court-martial with penalties that range from dismissal to loss of pay, confinement or reduction in grade.

Your commanding officer has other options that fall outside civilian prosecution or court-martial. Some of these are:

  • Letter of reprimand
  • Corrective training
  • Bar to re-enlistment
  • Revocation of pass privileges
  • Referral to treatment program
  • Reduction in grade

If civilian authorities do prosecute you, you can still face military punishment for lesser charges that could result in reprimand, loss of pay, reduction in grade or extra duty.

If you are charged with DUI off the military installation, you should contact a qualified, experienced attorney who can help you navigate the difficult repercussions of a bad decision.