Military DUIs in Arizona
Introduction to Military DUIs in Arizona
Receiving a dui, for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, can be a serious situation for any average person. For an individual in the military, receiving a DUI can be life changing. The military does not have a different standard for determining a DUI, but the consequences can vary greatly. Both civilian and military DUIs in Arizona require a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, but the area in which a DUI is received will determine where the military service member will be prosecuted for their crime.
Classifications for General DUIs
A driving under the influence charge can vary depending on the blood alcohol concentration level in the driver, as well as their previous charges. If a driver receives a DUI, and it is the first DUI, the consequences have the potential of being not as severe. However, if the driver receives a DUI and it is their second or third DUI, the consequences could be more expensive and result in more jail time.
Generally speaking, there are three categories for driving under the influence charges in the United States.i When it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol, the legal limit is set at a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration, and this legal limit is set across the United States.ii The first classification of driving under the influence charges is the standard DUI – which is when a driver is under the influence of 0.08% blood alcohol concentration while driving.iii The 0.08% blood alcohol concentration is for standard vehicles.iv When it comes to commercial vehicles, the legal limit for the driver is a 0.04% blood alcohol concentration.v While the states vary on underage drinkers, many states – like Arizona – have a no tolerance policy.vi This means that if the driver is found to have even 0.01% blood alcohol concentration in their system, they could be charged with driving under the influence.vii
The next classification of a driving under the influence charge is the extreme DUI. While the number can vary depending on the state, typically a driving under the influence of alcohol charge will rise to the extreme classification when the blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.15% or higher.viii The next level of classification for a driving under the influence charge is an aggravated DUI.ix An aggravated DUI in Arizona can arise under three different situations.x First, an aggravated DUI can arise if the DUI was committed while the driver’s license was either suspended or revoked.xi Next, if the DUI was the third offense for DUI within 84 months.xii And finally, if the DUI was committed with a child under the age of 15 years, the DUI will be classified as aggravated.xiii
Driving under the influence of drugs, prescription or illegal, the consequences will vary from state to state.xiv The reason for that is because some states in the United States have legalized the use of marijuana, which is a common drug that leads to driving under the influence. For states that do not have laws to legalize marijuana, the majority of those states have a no tolerance rule.xv This means that if a driver is found to have any marijuana or any other illegal drugs in their system, they will likely lead receive a driving under the influence charge.
Consequences for receiving a DUI in Arizona
The consequences for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be incredibly severe, no matter what state you are in. While some consequences are just monetary, that can have a huge impact on a person with very little expendable funds. Other consequences are harsher, and can include revocation of the driver’s license or even jail time. In Arizona, the punishment for a driving under the influence conviction will depend on what offense the DUI is; first, second, third, or higher.xvi For a first offense of a standard driving under the influence conviction, the driver could face up ten days in jail, a fine of $1,250, required completion of an alcohol/drug screening treatment and education program, possibly the ignition interlock requirement for every vehicle the driver operates, and community services.xvii
Consequences for Receiving a DUI While Active in the Military
The first step in determining the consequences for a DUI for an active member of the military will depend on where the DUI took place.xviii The military courts do not automatically have jurisdiction over military DUIs in Arizona charges because the civilian courts can also have jurisdiction, depending on where the incident/arrest took place.xix If a DUI charge is initially filed by both military and civilian authorities, the two agencies will coordinate and decide how the service member will be prosecuted, since both agencies are unable to charge the service member twice.xx It is important to note that even if the civilian agency charges the service member, and they are acquitted of the DUI charge, the military court can still seek punitive actions against the service member based on the same exact incident which could involve a court martial.xxi
If an individual receives a DUI as a civilian, the prosecutor of the city or state the individual lives in will have a lot of discretion for how to proceed with the case. If an individual receives a DUI as an active member of the military, the commanding office of that individual will have the discretion on how to proceed with the case.xxii There are two general categories for how to proceed with a DUI procedure:
- Punitive actions, which include a court martial (which could result in forfeiture of pay, grade reduction, imprisonment, or dismissal from the military); or non-judicial punishments listed in Article 15 of the “Office Hours” or “Captain’s Mast”xxiii; or
- Administrative actions, which could include a letter of reprimand, revocation of pass or driving privileges, corrective trainer, reduction in grade, or a bar to reenlist. Administrative actions could also include mandatory treatment for substance abuse.
Conclusion to Military DUIs in Arizona
Receiving a DUI can be a life changing event, for any civilian or military person. Receiving military DUIs in Arizona as an active military member could result in major consequences, even if the active member is prosecuted first in civilian court. The military has the ability to seek punitive damages against the active member, even if the civilian court sought criminal penalties against the active member for the same DUI.
i See Arizona Drunk Driving Fines & Penalties DUI Driving Laws. (Accessed July 3, 2017). http://dui.drivinglaws.org/arizona.php
ii See Impaired Driving: Get the Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Accessed July 3, 2017). http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html
iv See Arizona Drunk Driving Fines & Penalties DUI Driving Laws. (Accessed July 3, 2017). http://dui.drivinglaws.org/arizona.php
xiv See Michelle Fabio Marijuana DUI: How Marijuana Use Can Be Considered a DUI. Legal Zoom. (Published October 2014). https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/marijuana-dui-how-marijuana-use-can-be-considered-a-dui
xvi See Arizona Drunk Driving Fines & Penalties DUI Driving Laws. (Accessed July 3, 2017). http://dui.drivinglaws.org/arizona.php
xviii See Military DUI: Court Martial and Civilian Charges Find Law (Accessed July 3, 2017). http://military.findlaw.com/criminal-law/military-dui-court-martial-and-civilian-charges.html