What Happens If I Get a DUI While in the Army?

Getting a DUI While in the ArmyUpdated: April 16, 2018

Drinking and driving is always trouble, but what consequences happen can be more so when you are in the army or other military branch. Being in the military, you are subject to military law over civilian law, even when stopped for a DUI. Not only will you face fines and penalties, you may find your career in jeopardy.

It is important to realize that regardless of the state you are in when you are arrested for a DUI violation, the standards you will be held to are actually military laws. The fines and penalties may actually be in line with state fines and penalties, but you have the added consequence of a possible court martial.

Unlike civilians, military personnel will not find it useful to plead out and accept the minimal fines and penalties because of the added repercussions of a DUI conviction. If court martialed, you may find that you are facing jail time, reduction in rank, or even a dishonorable discharge. Realistically, if you want to avoid your career path being obstructed, you need to fight the charges in an effort to have them outright dismissed.

Even though the case will be held in military court, you are allowed to have a civilian attorney assist with the case. The challenge here would be to find a civilian attorney that is knowledgeable in military law. Ideally, your attorney will have served in the JAG office, but this is not absolutely necessary, as long as he or she has experience with military law.

If you are not yet in the military but are planning a career in the Army or some other service branch, know that a conviction can be just as damaging to your future. If you have been arrested, the military may now find you less desirable as an applicant and block you from joining the Army or any other branch of the service.

This is also something that cannot be hidden from the military. What happens is, the Army will run a background check on any new candidate as well as running periodic background checks on existing personnel, especially when an upgraded security clearance is requested. Even if you are able to get a waiver from the recruiter or are not dismissed from the service, you may find yourself unable to get promoted due to “questionable moral character” or the inability to obtain a higher security clearance (if the promotion requires a level of clearance you are now ineligible for).

Please take advantage of our free online DUI arrest review so we can provide you with case-specific defense options and legal advice to win before a dishonorable discharge takes effect.

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