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DUI and the Military

Serving in the United States Armed Services is an honor to those who serve but it is not for everyone.  Passing the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and enduring the rigors of boot camp can be a backbreaking process that is intended to weed out those who do not have the mental or physical attributes needed to serve.  But an arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can just as easily disqualify someone for duty in the armed services.
705th Military Police Battalion DUI

Moral Standards of the Military

  The military in general expects its men and women to exhibit a certain moral standard.  The purpose of requiring that those entering the military have a certain moral standard is to help minimize the disciplinary actions the military has to address, to decrease the likelihood individuals will pose a security risk, and to improve the overall order in the military.  These moral standards may therefore disqualify the following types of people from service:
  • Those with felony criminal convictions
  • Those who are still serving out the punishment of a criminal conviction, including those in jail, on parole, and on probation
  • Those who have been previously discharged from military service under dishonorable conditions
  • Those with certain beliefs or social behavior that makes them a poor fit with other military personnel

Impact of a DUI on Military Service

  Given the moral standards of the armed services noted above, if you receive a DUI just before entering the service or while in boot camp, the DUI definitely has the potential to affect when you can continue your military career or even if you are allowed to do so. Those arrested and charged with DUI may be convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the DUI.  Whether a DUI charge is a misdemeanor or a felony depends in part on how many prior DUI arrests you have had and if the person caused serious bodily injury or death while DUI, as well as possibly other factors related to the specific DUI arrest. If your DUI is ruled a misdemeanor, you have a much greater chance of being able to continue your military career in the short term.  It may even be possible for your defense attorney to attend any DUI-related court appearances on your behalf or file a continuance in the case until you are available to attend in person. But if your DUI is ruled a felony, then continuing to serve in the armed forces will be much more difficult.  At a minimum you will very likely need to complete any sentencing related to the charges and be able to demonstrate for a sufficient length of time that you can function in society while staying out of further legal trouble.  Even then, there is no guarantee the military will accept you for further service.

Hiring a DUI Defense Attorney

  The information above should not be considered legal advice.  But if you receive a DUI while in the process of entering into the armed services, you need to speak with a DUI attorney or a criminal defense attorney about your situation.  While there is the possibility of continuing your military career if you receive a DUI, there is no guarantee that this will be the case for everyone.  There are simply too many variables from case to case to know for certain the likely outcome without working with an attorney who is experienced in similar matters. You are not the first person who has received a DUI while entering into the armed services.  A DUI or criminal defense attorney will have the experience from working with others in your situation, can evaluate the seriousness of your charges, and explain the military implications to you based on the specific circumstances of your DUI arrest and charges.
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