How Much Did That Drink Cost You?

  • Published
  • By Capt Anastasia M. Lewandoski
  • 23d Wing Legal Office
An arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can cost you big. Whether an Airman is caught off-base or on-base, the impacts can greatly affect one's career. Automatically, your on-base driving privileges will be revoked for a year. And the consequences only begin there.

If you are arrested off-base, you face points against your license, fees, and jail time. As a first-time offense, Georgia punishes DUI convictions with a fine of $300 - $1,000, imprisonment for 10 - 364 days, at least 40 hours of community service, completion of a DUI Risk Reduction Program, and a period of probation. Additionally, you will not have an Area Defense Counsel, so you will have to pay out of your pocket for a civilian lawyer. On top of that, your commander may still initiate a Letter of Reprimand or an administrative demotion against you.

If the local authorities give jurisdiction to the Air Force or if you're caught driving on base under the influence, your commander may either offer you nonjudicial punishment, also known as an Article 15, or prefer charges against you, initiating a court-martial. Nonjudicial punishments can include reduction in rank, forfeitures, extra duties, restriction to base, and a reprimand. Maximum punishment at a court-martial for UCMJ, Article 111, Drunken Operation of a Vehicle includes a Bad Conduct Discharge, 6 months confinement, reduction to E-1, and total forfeitures.

Additionally, there are consequences if you are suspected for DUI, and you refuse to provide a breath sample. If you are entering any Air Force Base driving a vehicle, then you have given implied consent to provide a breath, blood, and urine sample, per AFI 31-204, paragraph 2.3. Failure to provide a sample could be punishable under the UCMJ. If you refuse to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample to local Georgia authorities when you are suspected of DUI, your Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive on the roadways in Georgia will be suspended for at least one year.

When Airmen drink and drive, they put the lives of others, their lives, and their careers in jeopardy. Pay for a cab ride - you will save in the end.