April 15, 2013

Birmingham DUI Serious for Service Members

An Air Force service member was recently arrested for DUI, following a two-car accident near the Alabama-Mississippi border. At least one person sustained serious injuries and had to be transported to a hospital in Mobile.
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Our Birmingham DUI attorneys know that for any military service member, the stakes can be much higher. How the case is handled is going to depend on whether the incident took place on or off base.

In either case, you may face additional military sanctions. If your DUI occurred off-base, you will need an experienced attorney to defend you in civilian court. While the military won't prosecute you under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice if you are also being prosecuted by civilian authorities, the effect to your military career will almost certainly hinge on the outcome of your civilian case. If you are convicted in civilian court for a DUI, you might additionally be given a letter of reprimand, a revocation of pass privileges, mandatory referrals to substance abuse treatment, corrective training, reduction in grade or even a bar to reenlistment.

Plus, you might still be subject to sanctions under UCMJ for misconduct that isn't being prosecuted by civilian authorities, such as resistance to law enforcement or disorderly conduct.

All of this underscores the fact that the importance of a solid defense can not be stressed enough.

Code of Alabama Section 32-5A-191 holds that a person may not be driving or in "actual physical control" of a vehicle while they either have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or are under the influence of alcohol or any substance, controlled or otherwise, that renders you incapable of safely operating a vehicle.

Penalties include up to a year of jail time, a fine between $600 and $1,200, a driver's license suspension for up to three months and the potential for a judge to order you to undergo substance abuse treatment and to have an ignition interlock device installed.

In Alabama, there are five military bases - an Air Force base in Montgomery, Army bases in Bynum, Dale and Madison and a U.S. Coast Guard base in Mobile.

In this case, the 31-year-old Air Force member was driving an Audi A4 with three passengers - all Air Force members - when he rear-ended a Pontiac G5.

After his fellow Air Force member was transported to a Mobile hospital, the defendant was booked on a charge of DUI first offense. It's possible, due to the property damage and injuries caused, that additional charges could follow.

In a statement released soon after the crash, an Air Force spokesman said the military does not condone drinking and driving, and in fact has adopted the "wingman concept" as a way to prevent DUI offenses among military members from occurring in the first place. That is, other service members are expected to speak up or otherwise intervene if one of their own is about to drive while impaired.

In many areas of the country, there is also a service called Airmen Against Drunk Driving, which provides free and anonymous rides to all service members, Department of Defense civilians and base contractors.

If it's too late for that, call us.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Birmingham, call Defense Lawyer Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

Additional Resources:
Air Force service member charged in DUI, By Christina Skaggs, WLOX13

More Blog Entries:
Alabama DUI Watch: 600 Killed in Crashes in Jefferson, Shelby Counties, March 26, 2013, Birmingham DUI Lawyer Blog