Military DUI’s in New Jersey

March 9, 2014

Being convicted of a DUI as a member of the military can carry a variety of negative consequences, both professionally and civilly.  Military clients often contact Randolph H. Wolf to aggressively defend against military DUI convictions with several questions about the consequences they face.  This article will provide a brief overview of those consequences.

There are two types of military DUI cases: those where a military member is arrested by the civilian police for DUI and those where a military member was arrested for DUI while on base.  The procedures and consequences depend on which type of case you fall under.

DUI Arrest of Military Member by Civilian Police

If you are a military member that was charged with a DUI by the state or municipal police, New Jersey state law will govern your DUI proceeding.  The fines and penalties for a civilian DUI are established by New Jersey state law.

Although you will not face a military court martial with respect to the DUI arrest, your commanding officer may subject you to additional administrative actions.  This could include mandatory substance abuse treatment, corrective training, or a revocation of pass privileges.  In addition, the military could also charge you with other crimes relating to the  incident, such as disorderly conduct.

DUI Arrest of a Military  Member While on Base

The military imposes stricter guidelines and penalties with respect to DUIs.  Service members that are arrested for a DUI on a military base will be charged by the military pursuant to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Section 911: Art. 111.  In New Jersey, a breathalyzer test determines the amount of blood in one’s bloodstream.  If you are found to have exceeded the legal limit of 0.08%, you will be charged with DUI.

For a military DUI, however, if you are found to have even a small amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, then you can be charged with DUI. Under the “intoxication” standard of Article 111, the military court may chose to adhere to state standards for determining whether an individual is intoxicated or they may chose to convict a service member whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is lower than the state’s legal limit.  The military court has discretion in this capacity.  Thus, even a small amount of alcohol could sustain a DUI conviction.

Although you will not face civilian charges for the DUI, the Motor Vehicle Commission may nonetheless still impose penalties relating to your driving privileges.  Military convictions carry severe penalties, even more so than civilian convictions.  Commanding officers enjoy broad sentencing discretion. 

A military DUI conviction may, depending on the facts of your case, lead to the following penalties:

  • A dishonorable discharge from the military;
  • Loss of pension or forfeiture of pay;
  • Rank and salary reduction;
  • Imprisonment;
  • Fines;
  • Loss of a security clearance; and
  • Other non-judicial punishments listed in Article 15 of the UCMJ.

You may also face the following administrative actions:

  • A letter of reprimand;
  • Revocation of pass privileges;
  • Mandatory treatment for substance abuse;
  • Corrective training;
  • Reduction in grade; and
  • A bar to reenlistment

As can be seen,  a military DUI conviction can be significantly life-altering. For extra guidance on military DUIs, you should consult an attorney experienced in this area.  Contact Randolph H. Wolf today for a free consultation.

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By way of disclaimer, I must advise you that the purpose of this blog is not to provide legal advise and I am not doing so. I do not generally police this blog and I have no way of knowing whether the information that anyone else posts is accurate. Also keep in mind that laws and regulations change frequently and anything you read may be out of date.

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