It’s not uncommon for people to drink in the military. The problem
is, if a service member is arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI)
in Texas, there will be some serious consequences that impact many aspects
of their military life; for example, a reduce in rank.
The U.S. Army published an
article about an Army noncommissioned officer whose military career was affected
after getting behind the wheel one night after having “just a few
drinks.” The NCO, who the Army called “John Smith,”
was arrested for
DWI in Germany one summer evening. When Smith’s command was notified,
a general officer letter of reprimand was given to Smith, which of course
was filed in his record.
“That’s going to haunt me for the rest of my career,”
Smith’s rank was reduced from E-5 to E-4, and according to Smith,
“I went from a supervisory pay grade to junior enlisted pay grade.”
After more than a year for Smith to regain his rank, he lost about $8,000
in basic pay, but the cost was more than financial.
Smith lost his driver’s license for a year, and he was given 45 days
of restriction to post and extended duty. His days started at 6:30 am
and ended at 10 pm – 7 days a week. He also forfeited 50 percent
of his pay for two months. Smith didn’t get much support from his
peers. His unit wanted Smith to be separated from the Army due to his
misconduct, but as an NCO who had put in six years of loyal service, the
separation board decided to retain Smith.
Even though his superiors decided to retain him, it wasn’t easy for
Smith to be accepted back into his unit. According to Smith, the guys
in his unit were telling him that he wasn’t fit for the uniform.
DWI and Court-Martial
If a service member is caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration
(BAC) of .01% or higher, they have violated the Uniform Code of Military
Justice. In such cases, the service member would face either a court-martial
or a non-judicial action (Article 15).
Some of the penalties under Article 15:
- E-4 and below face loss of rank to E-1.
- Loss of 50 percent of two months’ pay.
- Up to 60 days of extra duties.
- Restriction to the garrison.
- E-5/E-6 rank lose one rank.
Most DWIs are handled as non-judicial actions; however, if it was a high
BAC or there were aggravating circumstances, the DWI could be tried as a court-martial.
The maximum punishment for a court-martial involving a DWI include dishonorable
discharge, confinement for 18 months, and the loss of all allowances and pay.
Are you facing a
military DWI in Plano or Dallas?
Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today to meet with one of our
military criminal defense attorneys!