Military Full Dress for DUI's

DUI Effects Lead to Legal Snowball

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., October 08, 2005

Breaking the law doesn’t often require an invitation for formal
attire, but Airmen at Eglin Air Force Base charged with driving under the
influence can expect just that.

Col. Edmond B. Keith, 96th Air Base Wing commander, said he requests
that Airmen charged with a DUI show up at his office in their
service-dress uniform.

“I have them put on that uniform because it’s the uniform I would have
to put on when I explain to their parents why they no longer exist after
wrapping themselves around a telephone pole or explaining to parents why
one of my Airmen killed their child,” he said.

Last year, the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Prevention and Treatment
program here reported 46 active-duty DUIs. As of August, 34 DUIs have
been reported this year.

Though the trend for Eglin had been a steady increase in the number of
DUIs since 2003, Capt. Mitzi Mitchell, ADAPT program manager, said
they’ve just begun to see a decrease in DUI numbers as compared to the
first quarter of 2005.

“The trend has already been decreasing,” she said. “Earlier in the
year the numbers were really high. Now they’ve already gone down this
first quarter.”

Numbers for Eglin may be taking a downward turn, but DUIs still remain
a national problem.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
approximately 1.5 million drivers in 2002 were arrested for driving under
the influence of alcohol or narcotics, putting the DUI arrest rate at 1
for every 130 licensed drivers in the nation.

Legal repercussions stemming from a DUI vary according to location and
circumstances, but one thing is certain – the penalties, monetary or
otherwise, come at high costs.

“The financial costs are great and are often a lot more than people
recognize,” Captain Mitchell said.

Costs and penalties associated with DUI vary by county, but the price
tag of a first-time DUI ranges from $4,000 to more than $25,000. In
Okaloosa County, this figure can include $250 to $1,000 in DUI fines,
$372 to $1,425 in court fees, $1,500 to $5,000 in attorney’s fees and a
variety of others depending upon blood alcohol level.

Legal officials said servicemembers with DUI offenses can be taken to
court-martial and charged under Article 111 of the Uniform Code of
Military Justice. If a DUI results in personal injury, an Airman can
expect a maximum of dishonorable discharge, confinement for 18 months and
forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

Without personal injury, the maximum punishment is a bad conduct
discharge, six months confinement and forfeiture of all pay and

DUIs can also be handled through Article 15 action, with punishments
varying depending on case circumstance and a commander’s decision.

Suspension of a driver’s license for one year, personal injury
lawsuits, vehicular manslaughter and prison sentences can also accompany
DUI charges.

Colonel Keith said the military is the most respected institution in
the United States, thus holds Airmen to a higher standard.

“Irresponsible drinking is one of the easiest ways to become a
civilian below the zone,” he said.

Editor’s Note: In July, the 0-0-1-3: Creating a Responsible Drinking
Culture program began a test phase in two squadrons at Eglin Air Force
Base, Fla., with the aim of eventually implementing the program
base-wide. The standard 0-0-1-3 stands for zero drinks under 21, zero
DUIs, max one drink per hour, max three drinks in one night. The
program’s goal is to significantly decrease alcohol-related incidents
among Airmen. This is part two of a four-part series about different
elements of the program.

By Monica D. Morales 96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

DUI Attorneys |