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About Military DUIs

Since our firm is based in South Orange County, we get our share of calls from service men and women who were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in OC. Every day, service members come to Orange County to visit or they pass through while driving up to Los Angeles on the 405 or 5 freeways.

Due to the fact that Orange County is between LA and San Diego counties, service members from Fort Irwin, Camp Pendleton, and San Diego’s Navy bases find themselves driving in OC regularly, which is why it’s not unheard of for us to get a call from a service member who was arrested for DUI on one of Orange County’s freeways, or while visiting a local hot spot, like Laguna or Newport Beach.

Military DUI vs. Civilian DUI

Military DUI occurs when law enforcement arrests a uniformed member of the armed services for drunk or drugged driving. If the arrest occurs on military property, such as a military base, the service member will be charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

If civilian law enforcement conducts the arrest, the service member will face DUI charges under state law. The term "military DUI" is most applicable when law enforcement conducts a DUI arrest on a military base.

If you are member of the armed forces, you will be arrested and charged for drunk driving under 10 U.S.C. §911: US Code - Section 911: Art. 111., which deals with drunk driving and reckless driving. Unlike California state law, this statute applies to vehicles, vessels, and aircraft.

According to military law, any person who operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol commits DUI. Military law states that state law defines "intoxicated."

In California, you are legally "under the influence" when your BAC exceeds .08%. Military code also gives military court the discretion to lower this DUI threshold for a specific case. In other words, you can face military penalties for DUI even if chemical tests show that your blood alcohol concentration was less than .08%.

If a service member is arrested for drunk driving on a military base, he or she will not face civilian legal penalties; however, the DMV can initiate non-criminal penalties such as license suspension.

What are the consequences of military DUI?

Military DUI is punishable by courts-martial and a variety of other serious consequences. These include:

  • Dishonorable discharge
  • Loss of military pension
  • Corrective Training
  • Loss of security clearance
  • Incarceration
  • Fines
  • Letter of reprimand

While some of these penalties may seem harsh, military code gives commanding officers almost complete discretion to implement whatever punishment they see fit.

Are you in the Armed Forces and facing DUI charges? Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to protect your rights and your future!