It’s not uncommon to see local servicemen and servicewomen on leave out at the bars. And it’s no wonder with California being the home of 32 military bases. Serviceman of servicewoman should be aware that their DUI, if they are arrested for one, may be treated differently than a civilian’s DUI. Additionally, they may face additional consequences from their commands.
Military bases are considered federal land. As such, crimes committed on military bases are subject to federal laws, not state laws.
The Code of Federal Regulations states that a person can be convicted of a DUI under federal law if they are 1.) unable to safely operate a vehicle because they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs, 2.) they have a BAC is .10 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or .01 gram or more of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, or 3.) the person could be charged under the state law if the state law is more restrictive than the above standards. Although federal law governs the case, the Assimilative Crimes Act allows the court to impose the penalties from the state in which the military base is located.
As I mentioned, servicemen and servicewomen may also face additional penalties simply because they are military members. Whether the DUI occurred on a military base or not, military members may also be court martialed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. A court martial may result in further penalties including suspension of favorable personnel actions, reduction in pay and rank, reprimand, denial of promotions and leaves, and possible dishonorable discharge.
Military members however may face non-judicial punishment, also known as NJP, under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which allows commanders to discipline military members without a court martial. Although an NJP is not a criminal conviction, it can result of in many of the same punishments as a court martial.
Furthermore, if a DUI conviction results in a license suspension, servicemen and service women will not be able to drive any military vehicles including, but not limited to, tanks, Humvees, or aircraft.