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Civilian Court For Military Personnel Charged With DUI

Posted on 02/12/16

Fort Carson Army Base. Air Force Acadamy. NORAD. Peterson Airforce Base. The Colorado Springs metropolitan area has one of the largest concentrations of U.S. military personnel in the continental United States. Service members stationed at the installations must interact with local civilian laws and law enforcement on a daily basis.

This blog discusses how community law enforcement and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) interact when an active duty service member is charged with DUI during off-duty hours in the community.

Local Police Or MPs?

Upon arrest, the local prosecutor will have the option of charging the servicemember in the local court system, where the criminal process and penalties will follow prescribed state laws. If convicted (or guilty plea), the penalty may include incarceration, which will be served in the local county jail.

The local police may choose to turn the case over to the MPs at the servicemember’s duty station. If so, the case will be prosecuted through the military criminal justice system under the UCMJ.

Cannot Be Convicted Under Both Criminal Justice Systems

Under double jeopardy laws, the servicemember may charged and processed under one or the other, but not both. But if convicted through the civilian courts, it does not mean there will be no further disciplinary punishment under the UCMJ. The GI’s commanding officer will have the option of filing administrative disciplinary action under article 15 of the UCMJ (Army and Air Force). Penalties may include reduction in pay or rank, additional duty hours and restrictions to base.  Enlisted members and officers are subject to article 15 administrative punishment, with the process and punishments determined by their status.

If this is not the first DUI conviction, the servicemember may face stricter administrative actions, including an administrative separation hearing.

If you are a U.S. servicemember facing DUI charges in civilian court in the Colorado Springs area, get serious CO Springs criminal defense representation from an experienced team of successful attorneys.