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What happens when someone serving in the military gets a DWI?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | DWI

A DWI is a serious offense that can have significant legal and professional consequences for military personnel. It is important for those who hold these honorable positions to understand the risks and responsibilities associated with alcohol-related incidents.

What is the legal limit for service members?

When it comes to criminal charges, military personnel are subject to the same BAC limits as civilians. The legal limit for operating a vehicle is typically 0.08% BAC. Exceeding the legal limit can result in arrest, fines, and potential disciplinary actions within the military as well as social stigma.

What are the potential disciplinary actions?

Civilian courts may handle DWI cases, where penalties can include fines, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol education programs.

In addition to civilian penalties, service members face military consequences. Discipline will vary depending on the situation but can include:

  • Detainment: If suspected of DWI, military police or civilian law enforcement may detain the driver for testing.
  • Career impact: DWI convictions can harm an individual’s military career, affecting promotions, security clearances, and assignments.
  • Removal: The military may choose to remove the service member from their position as a result of a conviction for a DWI.

These are just a few examples. Other forms of punishment are possible depending on the details of the situation.

Do I have to report a DWI conviction?

Service members are generally required to promptly report DUI incidents to their chain of command.

What should I do if I am charged with a DUI?

Law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull over a vehicle. If the stop was unjustified or based on insufficient evidence, a service member may be able to argue that the charges should be dismissed. Drivers could also question the accuracy of field sobriety tests or chemical tests like breathalyzers.

Remember, criminal charges are not a conviction. Drivers have the chance to fight these charges. Defenses are available and can result in a reduction or even dismissal of charges. An attorney experienced in this niche area of criminal law can review the case and discuss options, better ensuring a more favorable outcome.