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Understanding DUI arrests on military bases

| Jun 6, 2018 | Criminal Defense

The general public and courts hold military personnel to higher standards than everyone else. They are not exempt from the law, as seen in the recent case of a former Air Force chief master sergeant who recently faced convictions for the death of a young man after driving drunk. The chief master sergeant in question had worked in North Carolina at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. 

Civilians and military personnel alike can face legal trouble after drinking. Consequences vary depending on where exactly the crime took place. 

When a civilian gets a DUI on a military base

DUIs on military bases are more complex than regular DUIs because they straddle the lines between federal, state, military and civilian jurisdictions. However, most of the time, a DUI on a military base falls under federal jurisdiction because it falls under the Code of Federal Regulation. In the event the civilian works for the military base but is not actually a servicemember, then there is a good chance the individual will face immediate termination of employment. In the event an arrest falls under federal jurisdiction, the case will go to a member of the Judge Advocate’s Group of the United States Army. A conviction, even for a first offense, can lead to time in federal prison. 

When a military officer gets a DUI on a military base

When police arrest a military officer on a base, the individual’s commanding officer will have a great deal of say in how to proceed. Punitive actions can immediately occur, and these include Article 15 and court-martial. The commanding officer may also take administrative actions, such as sending the officer to corrective training and a reduction in grade. The officer will then most likely need to go to federal court as well and face the same legal proceedings as a civilian.