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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > DUI > Can I Be Court Martialed for a DUI in Georgia?

Can I Be Court Martialed for a DUI in Georgia?


A drunk driving arrest often has consequences that extend beyond any criminal charges. For example, if your boss learns of your arrest, you may be fired or face disciplinary action at work. And if your job happens to be an active duty member of the armed forces, you might even face a court martial.

Indeed, drunk driving is a court-martial offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In theory, this applies to a DUI that occurs anywhere. But in practice, military prosecutors tend to pursue charges only when the offense occurs on a U.S. military base or installation. Otherwise, it is left to civilian prosecutors to file charges. Keep in mind, though, that even if a servicemember is tried and acquitted in Georgia’s courts for DUI, that does not preclude military prosecutors from separately pursuing a court-martial based on the same incident.

Navy Fires Submarine Commander Following Georgia DUI Arrest

Nor is a court-martial necessary when it comes to imposing other forms of administrative discipline in the military. A commanding officer can revoke many privileges following the DUI arrest of someone under their command. And in fact, if the person subject to arrest holds a high-profile position, they may be relieved of that post.

Just recently, the Navy fired one of the commanding officers of the USS Georgia, an Ohio-class submarine, following his arrest for DUI in Camden County, Georgia. The captain, who oversaw one of the Georgia‘s two rotating crews, was arrested by the St. Mary’s, Georgia, police on January 8, 2024, and charged with DUI, less safe, and two traffic violations. He was released on bond pending trial.

The Navy removed the captain from his post a week later. In a public statement, the Navy said,

Navy commanding officers are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct. They are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability, and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards.

Officially, the Navy fired the captain due to a “loss of confidence” in his ability to command. The Navy’s statement did not directly reference the Georgia DUI arrest. But it doesn’t take much to read between the lines. No employer–especially the military–likes to be associated with someone who has been charged with drunk driving.

Speak with a Georgia DUI Lawyer Today

Another question you might have is, “What happens if I’m a civilian arrested for DUI on a military base? Could I be tried by a military court?” The answer there is “no.” The military cannot try civilians in that situation. But you can be tried for DUI in federal court as opposed to state court, as military bases are considered the property of the United States government.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, it is critical that you seek out timely legal advice on how to deal with the charges. Our Georgia Board-certified DUI lawyers can review your case and advise you of your options. Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Georgia including Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs.



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