If you’re facing a drunk driving charge, you probably have lots of questions about your future. You might worry about spending time in jail. Fines and court costs can be another big area of concern. Most importantly, you might be wondering you can kiss joining the military goodbye.
What are my options?
Can you join the military after a DUI? The answer is that yes, you can, but it’s going to be harder for you to get there. Today, joining the military is very competitive. More people want to join the military than the military has room to accept. They can afford to be selective, and they’re looking for anything that distinguishes you from the sea of candidates.
Your DUI lawyer knows that if you’re facing a DUI charge, your effort to join the military just got a lot harder. The military wants to know that you have good character. They want to know that they can trust you with your fellow soldiers and with weapons. They might see a DUI as weighing on your character.
That isn’t to say that the answer to can you join the military with a DUI is always no. In fact, in many cases, you can still join the military. However, it’s important that you take all steps to comply with any term of probation. You should essentially try to be a model citizen and prove your fitness for service in any way possible.
There might be lasting consequences
If you’re still able to join the military with a DUI conviction, there might be some restrictions on your service. You may not be able to get a service job that involves driving a vehicle. You might have a harder time moving up in rank. You might also have to take drug and alcohol tests to ensure your sobriety during your service.
Don’t take steps to hide the fact that you received the DUI conviction. You can work with your DUI lawyer to mitigate the consequences of your conviction. However, your military application is going to ask you if you have any criminal convictions.
If the answer is yes and you don’t tell the truth, that can be far more fatal to your application than the criminal conviction is in the first place. Your best bet is to be honest with your recruiter about the exact circumstances of your case.
The case must be resolved
The military typically doesn’t accept someone who has pending charges. That means you need to resolve your case as quickly as possible. Work with a DUI lawyer to explore all of your options. In some cases, this means working to negotiate a plea resolution as quickly as possible. In other cases, this means taking the time to prepare evidence so that you can go to trial and ask a jury to find you not guilty of the charge.
It’s important to avoid making assumptions about the best possible course of action until you speak with a DUI lawyer. There are many different goals when it comes to addressing a criminal charge. In some cases, the only goal is to go to trial to seek a not guilty verdict.
If you want to join the military, your goal might be to preserve your best chances to join the service given the entire circumstances. This may or may not mean that it’s in your best interests to go to trial in your case. Talk to your DUI lawyer to make a game plan for the best course of action.
If you’re facing any kind of felony charges, the answer to can you join the military after a DUI is no. It’s against the law in all fifty states for a felon to own a firearm. That means if you have a felony conviction, you can’t have a weapon.
Even if you might be able to work against the odds and join the military after a drunk driving charge, you definitely can’t join the military with any kind of felony on your record. That means if you’re convicted of any kind of aggravated drunk driving, you have no options. This might occur if you flee the scene of a drunk driving crash or if someone is hurt or killed by your drunk driving.
A conviction for resisting an investigating officer is also likely a felony that ruins any hope of joining the military. As an aside, a domestic violence conviction usually bars you from owning a firearm and joining the military. It’s important to work with a DUI lawyer to keep a felony off your record at all costs so that you can have any chance of joining the military.
Often times, district attorneys and state prosecutors want to help you succeed. They are mindful that many young offenders can benefit from the discipline and structure in the military. In many cases, state attorneys are willing to bend over backward to work with your DUI lawyer to help you find a way to still join the military.
That means the state attorney might allow you to take advantage of a diversion program. These programs vary wildly from state to state. They might allow you to complete a term of supervision that’s similar to probation. This can occur before or after the court adjudicates your case.
There are other programs that might be available to young offenders. Many state laws recognize that young people make mistakes. You might be able to receive a special disposition in your case because of your age. The result can be a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you.
Drug and recovery courts
Your DUI lawyer can also help you evaluate your options to join a recovery court. These courts exist to help offenders address substance abuse issues. Your local DUI attorney knows when these options are available in your local area.
Drug and recovery court involves intense monitoring for alcohol and drug use. You also have to get treatment for substance abuse issues. Successfully completing recovery court can result in reduced charges or a complete dismissal of the charges. Eligibility for recovery court varies by location, so it’s important to talk with a DUI lawyer.
What if you’re already in the military?
You might wonder what happens if you receive a drunk driving charge while you’re in the military. The answer is that there is not one particular way of handling the situation, but it’s a serious problem no matter the circumstances. First, you have a right to a DUI lawyer. Whether you’re charged in state or federal court, you have a constitutional right to your day in court.
You might receive a court martial in addition to the criminal charges. This is so that the military can address discipline against you in addition to the penalties imposed by the criminal court. The possible penalties might be different than you typically see in criminal court. Can you join the military with a DUI might be a question that’s answered with a no, even if you’re already in the military. Just because you’re already in doesn’t mean that you can stay.
In some cases, the military can order you to complete a substance abuse treatment program. They can lower your rank and your pay. You might not be able to reenlist once your term of service is complete. Finally, you might receive a dishonorable discharge. It’s important to work with your DUI lawyer to address the charges as aggressively as possible. The charges might change your entire life.
Work with an attorney
If you’re considering the military and you’re facing a DUI charge, it’s important to work with a DUI lawyer. Can you join the military after a DUI depends in large part on how your drunk driving case resolves before you ever apply to join the military? A skilled and experienced local attorney can make all the difference.