DUI Charges and Servicemembers

Posted by James Ferguson | May 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Mississippi boasts over three military bases with Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg being one of the largest military training sites owned by a state in the U.S. Given the presence of a military population in Mississippi, unfortunately, it is a reality that a DUI offense committed by a servicemember can occur on and off military premises. The area of crimes committed by active duty servicemembers is an interesting one and it creates questions of jurisdiction, questions of military law and questions of a possible double penalty structure. In other words, a charge and conviction for DUI can affect the offender in his role as a member of the armed forces and in his capacity as a resident of a state.

Jurisdictional Issues

There are several jurisdictional issues that arise when a servicemember receives a DUI charge. The entity that has jurisdiction over the case largely depends on where the offense was committed. If a DUI was committed by a servicemember on a military base, then the servicemember will be subject to a court martial. The servicememember, in this scenario, will not have to appear before a state court judge. Nevertheless, the state court and the military tribunal can coordinate to ensure that the proper state court penalties apply such as the installation of an interlock system, the requirement of attending an alcohol education course, and ordering a license suspension. However, if the offense occurred off the military base and the servicemember is charged by civilian police, the offender must appear in civilian court. Still, the servicemember can be subjected to administrative disciplinary actions and can be court martialed for related crimes that are against proper military conduct.

Those who are subject to civilian courts will face the normal consequences of a DUI conviction. This will include the paying of fines and court costs, up to 48 hours in jail, a mandatory MASEP course, and a suspended license. These penalties apply to first time, misdemeanor offenders. Offenders who are also servicemembers can face additional consequences as a result of a DUI conviction. These consequences may include administrative suspensions or punishment as well as facing additional charges for prohibited behavior according to the military code of conduct.

Let Us Help With Your DUI Case
Attorney James Robert Ferguson is a seasoned DUI attorney with experience working with the military community in Mississippi. Contact us to determine the implications of your DUI charge including a review of both state and military considerations. We will provide a unique approach to help you with your matter.

See related blog posts:
Restricted and Hardship Licenses in Mississippi
Does Your Employer Care About Your DUI Conviction?

About the Author

James Ferguson

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. During college, I studied at East Tennessee State University, where I received a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice, which I then followed up with a Master's in Criminology from the University of Memphis. Before beginning my legal career, I worked as a Project Coordinator at the University of Memphis, where I assisted in training law enforcement officers in the Memphis Model of Crisis Intervention Training. The purpose of the project was to provide officers with the tools to deal with citizens in a state of mental crisis. I then went on to study law at the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. During law school, I clerked with Victor W. Carmody, Jr., the lawyer who wrote the book on DUI law in Mississippi. I am currently licensed to practice law in both Tennessee and Mississippi, and spend a majority of my time traveling the highways and biways of Mississippi defending those who have been charged with a DUI.


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