Will a DUI ruin my military career?

For years, lawmakers have been making DUI restrictions tougher–to lessen the number of people who die in alcohol-related auto accidents. As a result, depending on the circumstances and your blood alcohol level content, a first-offense DUI in Georgia can result in a $1,000 fine, a year in jail and a license suspension. Those punishments may seem harsh, but they are nothing compared to what you’ll face if you are a military service member and receive a DUI.

Military service implications

First, for members of the military, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) can give out punishment for a DUI. Each branch of the military prosecutes DUIs differently and completely separately from any civilian DUI court. As a result, with a DUI, you may face court martial. Some of the military punishments for being guilty of a DUI include the following:

· dishonorable discharge
· demotion
· pay deductions
· fines or imprisonment

For those looking to make the military a career, dealing with the consequences of a dishonorable discharge, a demotion or imprisonment can ruin a military career, or at the least severely hamper it.

Security clearance implications

Also, a DUI conviction for a service member can limit your ability to receive a promotion in the future. In fact, your superiors might not even be able to promote you, depending how severe your DUI charge was and which branch you serve in.

Finally, many service members dream of serving in an occupational specialty, where special security clearance is necessary. Most often, a DUI conviction will prevent your ability to do that.

When it comes to taking a night off and going out with your fellow troops, it’s always best to play it safe. Find a volunteer to be a designated driver. Take a taxi or ride-share home. Restrict the number of drinks you have during the night to one-hours before you leave. You never want to take the chance of getting a DUI and severely hurting your military career.

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