DUI and the Navy. A Sailor’s Duty to Report an Traffic Arrest to his Command.
San Diego is a big Navy town where a great number of sailors find themselves on a ship, on leave, on shore duty or on their way to retirement and get arrested for DUI, DWI or Drunk Driving. It strikes fear in the heart of any sailor to think of reporting their short stint in jail to their command. Former Navy DOD contractors are nervous to lose their secret clearance on which their job depends.
Should you report an alleged misdemeanor crime to your command? There is no easy answer. The other day I received a call from a sailor that had gotten arrested the evening prior. He wanted to meet right away, and that was smart. Smart sailors will hire a lawyer in DUI law firm that is affordable and let the lawyer explain the process. Even on a weekend (619) 258-8888 gets you to a DUI lawyer on the phone 24 hrs a day.
I did that for a sailor on a Saturday morning at San Diego Defenders in Chula Vista. I told the sailor that I was riding my motorcycle “so don’t expect me to look like a lawyer in a suit!” After I explained the entire DUI process and that he could tell his command, if they found out, that he did not report the DUI arrest “on advice of counsel” and his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and the JAGs know it. After retaining San Diego Defenders, he indicated that he would feel better reporting the arrest and advising his command that he had retained a lawyer.
I respect any decision a sailor makes and give him the best advice I can. In his case, we recommended the best language to use when reporting his DUI arrest to his command under the UCMJ Article of which many apply to both the Navy and Marines. You might notice that I mentioned that this particular sailor was going to tell his command that he retained a lawyer. Not a “DUI lawyer”, just a lawyer. I cannot say exactly what I told this particular sailor because this article is meant to be informative, NOT LEGAL ADVICE for every sailor. Every case is different and every sailor has the final say in what they will do and under the circumstances.
For instance, the civilian criminal code could be confusing to any command. We have all heard of drunk driving, DUI, DWI, a duece or whatever you want to call it. In California a DUI for alcohol still falls under the section entitled “Offense involving Alcohol and Drugs.” Drugs! What will the command think? Even though the Vehicle Code plainly states under VC 23152(a) “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.” It will still be under the heading which includes drugs.
Bottom line? It is best to consult a law firm such as San Diego Defenders to evaluate your case with a free consultation. We are truly in the “thousands” bracket of DUI defended for Navy sailors and Marines for that matter. Give us a call or tell your friend, then tell him to keep it to himself until he calls us at (619) 258-8888 for a free consultation before he makes any decisions, even on a weekend. You just might have to put up with a DUI lawyer on a motorcycle, not a suit.