Military-Civilian Drunk Driving Considerations…As Well as DUI in a Tank

M-1 Abrams tank

If you are currently serving in the military, whether on Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard, you probably understand that your actions in civilian life can easily affect what happens to you in your service, and also vice versa. At the same time, many of our nation’s servicemen and women have not taken the time to consider the specific consequences of something like getting a DUI while off-duty or off-base. A recent event highlighted that very scenario.

In a story that sounds like something out of a video game, a Virginia National Guard lieutenant was recently arrested for driving under the influence of drugs after taking an armored vehicle and leading police on a 60-mile chase outside of Richmond, VA. Although the vehicle was not technically a tank because it was weaponless, many onlookers were left breathless after seeing the vehicle driving down the interstate on tank treads, with a dozen police vehicles in pursuit, like something out of a Fast and the Furious sequel.

While getting pulled over for operating a tank while intoxicated due to drugs or alcohol is unlikely to happen to you, it is not uncommon for an off-duty service member to be charged with DUI/DWI. After all, it only takes one drink for many persons to be over the legal limit of .08% blood alcohol content (BAC). If you or someone you know is in this situation, it is important to contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. A good lawyer may be able to take your case and defend you or work with military area defense counsel (ADC) to help you take the appropriate action.

Jurisdiction for DUI Involving Active Military

One of the difficulties in addressing drunk driving for persons in some branch of the military, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or National Guard, is determining who has jurisdiction for a certain charge. If an individual on active duty is charged with driving while intoxicated, it is possible that the charges will be brought in civilian court or in military courts, or that military and civilian authorities will coordinate to determine how the case will be tried. It is also possible that a DUI or DWI can result in charges brought in both courts, and being found not guilty in one does not mean you will acquitted in the other. Depending on where charges are brought, it may be necessary to have a civilian attorney, military defense counsel, or both.

Where You Are Arrested Matters

Where you are arrested for driving under the influence is probably the most important factor in determining how and where you are charged. If you are arrested on Base in New Jersey, such as at McGuire Air Force Base or Fort Dix, then you will likely face military authority. However, you can still face civilian penalties such as loss of driving privileges, loss of license, and require use of an ignition interlock device.

If the arrest occurs off-base, it is likely that you will only face criminal charges in a municipal court. Nonetheless, a conviction could carry additional consequences – more than the possible jail time, fines, and loss of driving privileges – such as administrative actions and corrective training.

If you are a civilian charged with DUI on a military installation, then you will may be required to face charges in federal court, but the court will still apply regular New Jersey law.
Regardless of the specifics of your case, dealing with DUI or DWI charges can be extremely complicated or difficult. Consulting a good lawyer is the first step in making sure that you are presenting the best possible defense in your situation.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Will Work with You When You’re in Trouble

If you or someone you know is facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are many possible complications that could arise – especially if the case involves the military, military personnel, or is on a military base. In any scenario, you need to talk to someone who will know the best way to help. A good lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.