August 29, 2016, by Jerry Nelson – Like it or not, society places greater expectations on military personnel to obey laws. The reality is someone in the military is human. From time to time they make mistakes. Driving under the influence is possibly the most common crime with which military personnel are charged and a civilian lawyer for military personnel bay be a better choice for some.
DUI laws carry layers of different offenses. Depending on previous convictions, or mitigating circumstances, the penalties may vary from one case to another. Another layer to the charges is whether the individual being arrested is military or civilian.
All DUI charges can be significant; more so for the service member.
“When someone in the military gets a DUI, they not only face the same penalties as civilians, but they can also face the loss of a security clearance,” says Arkady Bukh, noted New York City criminal defense lawyer.
“Service may find their security clearance taken, and that could result in discharge, demotion or removal from sensitive duties,” he adds.
DUI Charges Off-Base
A service member resides in two worlds. One is controlled by the military. The other by civilian authorities. The uniform of the arresting officer will help determine in which court — military or civilian — the trial will be prosecuted.
Criminal Penalties include fines, time behind bars and other actions. The penalties’ extent will vary based on prior convictions, and each case will be heard on its own facts. The key to evading these penalties is to hire a civilian defense attorney to prepare a defense and work to get a not guilty verdict.
DUI offenses carry penalties which are administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles. These penalties may include revocation, or suspension, of driving privileges.
How a DUI Lawyer Can Help
If you are prosecuted for DUI in civilian courts, the military will not see that you have an attorney.
A civilian attorney, who has provided high-level criminal defense representation to military personnel should be consulted. They understand the importance of protecting your military standing.
Even if you are stopped on a military base and face charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, you can be provided an attorney by the military. You also have the right to hire your own lawyer to help in your defense.
DUI charges can affect military personnel professionally as well as personally. Take the decision about legal representation seriously.
Author Bio: Jerry Nelson, a Vietnam Veteran, is an American writer and photojournalist and is always interested in discussing future work opportunities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the million-or-so who follow him on Twitter @Journey_America.