What Happens When You Get Arrested for a DUI on a Military Base?

photo 1Here in San Diego County, we have a lot of military installations. That means our courts have to deal with DUI’s that happen on these bases.

Whether a case ends up in Federal or State court depends on the circumstances. If someone is driving onto a military base, and are stopped by security, local law enforcement will most likely be called and the case will be handled in State court. If the person is driving on a military base and is stopped there, chances are they will be arrested by military police and the case will be handled in Federal court. This is a very important distinction. Generally, DUI’s are treated far more harshly in State court than in Federal court. Also, arrests by military police often go unreported to the Department of Motor Vehicles which can mean no driver’s license suspension.

Another possibility is that if the person is driving on a military base is the spouse of someone in the military, they may not go to court at all and have the case dealt with on base with an officer conducting an informal hearing. In these cases, there are some important things to know. First, even though it is not actually a trial, you have the right to be represented by an attorney. Also, the usual punishment is quite different than in court. Usually, all that is done is the person’s privilege to drive on military bases is taken away for some time. Be careful. Often the hearing officer will say that the driving privilege is only being taken away on the base in question. Usually, that is ultimately not true and the person cannot drive on any base.

Arrests on military bases raise critical strategic and legal issues that need an attorney with experience in these types of cases. This is true whether it is in Federal or State court. Having the right lawyer can make a huge difference in these type of cases.