Joining the military is something that makes sense for some people. You might feel patriotic, and you also want a career prospect that pays well and has plenty of advancement opportunities. One other thing that makes the military attractive is that there are many specialty areas that you can pursue, aside from signing up for front-line infantry or one of the combat divisions.
If you are going to join the military, though, you’d better prepare to follow orders. Chain of command and discipline are what the armed forces are all about, so if you don’t like listening to authority figures, you’re not going to thrive.
If you misbehave or break any laws while on a military base, you face consequences unlike what you’ll experience as a civilian. For instance, if the MPs accuse you of driving while intoxicated, you should know your rights and what you can about it.
What Happens if MPs Accuse You of a DUI While on Your Stationed Base?
If you’re driving a military vehicle or your own car while on a military base, you have to follow the same traffic laws you would if you were outside of it. On top of that, you need to watch out for military recruits drilling, marching, and so forth.
There are posted speed limit signs on a military base, just like outside of one, and there are the same laws against driving after ingesting alcohol. If you’re past the legal limit, you should never drive, just as you never would if you were among the civilian population.
If MPs pull you over and accuse you of driving drunk, they will likely administer a breathalyzer. They might also ask you whether you had anything to drink and how much. It’s best to answer their questions truthfully.
They might take you into custody at that point, and they could confiscate your vehicle if they feel that’s appropriate. What you must do at this juncture is contact an attorney.
You should know that there are military base DUI lawyers who specialize in this sort of thing, so your best bet is locating and reaching out to one. You want one that has experience not just in dealing with DUI cases but also the military justice system specifically.
What Comes Next?
At this point, once you have retained your attorney, you two can talk about your strategy. Assuming you are active-duty military personnel, and the accused DUI happened on the base rather than somewhere out in the world, you’ll face a military court rather than a civilian one.
Military justice regarding something like a DUI is not much different than it would be if you were a civilian and were facing the same charges before a civilian court of law. The only difference is that the judge, prosecution, and jury, should one be necessary, will also be active-duty military members.
The government, or the military, in this case, must assume you innocent until proven guilty. You have the same Constitutionally guaranteed rights that you’d have in a civilian court.
The military must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They will use the breathalyzer test if you took one and failed it. If you refused the test, they might point to that as evidence of your guilt.
What Can Your Lawyer Do?
Your lawyer must try to establish your innocence. They’ll use all the means at their disposal to do so. They will likely launch a full investigation, calling on expert and character witnesses if they feel like that will help.
If you lose one of these cases outside of a military setting, you could face fines or even jail time. The government might also suspend or revoke your license. They’re more likely to revoke it if this is not your first offense.
All of that can happen in a military base DUI case, but in addition, the military might decide to take further action if the jury finds you guilty. In extreme cases, they might strip you of your rank, or you could face a dishonorable discharge.
If this is a first offense, and you didn’t hurt anyone, such dire results are not likely. It’s more probable that the military will place you on modified duty. They might have you attend AA meetings or seek additional counseling, depending on how serious of a problem they think you have.
You’ll certainly want the best defense possible in these cases, though, which means hiring an experienced lawyer.