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DUI Consequences Can Be Deadly, Cost Airmen Their Careers

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Florida statute defines driving under the influence as a person driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle who is under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Mike Meares)

California and several other states define driving under the influence as a person driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle who is under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Mike Meares)

Los Angeles Air Force Base -- Driving under the influence is serious business. According to the National Safety Council, an average of one person every two minutes is injured in an alcohol-related crash in the United States.

If you chose to drive while under the influence of alcohol, you risk serious injury, or even death to yourself and to others. As Airmen, you also subject yourself to UCMJ and civil criminal and administrative penalties that may irrevocably damage your Air Force career. We hope that by ensuring you are aware of some of the negative consequences of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you will make knowledgeable, mature decisions about drinking and driving. PLEASE NOTE: a single incident of DUI can be devastating to your future--it may bring any or all of the consequences outlined below. You are a valuable part of our Air Force Family, so please do not take unnecessary chances with you future; with your life.

UNIFORM CODE OF MILITARY JUSTICE

DUI means "Operating or exerting physical control over a vehicle while drunk or impaired"

-- Legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% for the state of California, so this is our standard. However, a driver may be impaired even at a lower BAC level as the specific circumstances dictate.
-- Physical control of a vehicle means the ability to drive it; this includes just sitting behind the wheel of a parked car with the keys in the ignition

Article 111, Drunken or reckless operation of a vehicle

-- If court-martialed pursuant to this article, the maximum sentence is 6 months confinement, Bad Conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction to E-1
-- Other aggravating factors like damage to property or personal injury can significantly increase the maximum punishment for DUI

Article 15, Non-Judicial Punishment

If not court-martialed, you may still face punishment here including:

-- Reduction in Grade
-- Forfeiture of one-half month's pay per month for up to two months
-- Restriction to base for 60 days
-- 45 days extra duty

Other Administrative Consequences (these apply to offenses committed off base as well as on base): 

-- Removal from PRP status
-- Revocation of security clearance
-- Negative comment in OPR/EPR
-- Letter of Reprimand/Unfavorable Information File
-- Revocation of base driving privileges for 1 year (2 years if breathalyzer or blood alcohol test refused)
-- Control Roster action
-- Denial of Reenlistment
-- Administrative Demotion
-- Administrative Discharge

CIVILIAN CRIMINAL COURTS

Driving Under the Influence Maximum Sentence for first offense:

-- Six months jail
-- Community service
-- Fines in excess of $1,500
-- Alcohol assessment and possibly mandatory counseling/education
-- DMV license suspension up to four months
-- Permanent criminal record
-- Any restitution for damages caused (note, you can also be sued in civilian civil court for damages caused)

Punishments for multiple DUI:

-- "Mandatory minimum" punishments assessed against drivers with prior offenses
-- After three prior offenses, your next DUI becomes a felony and is punishable by commitment to state prison