Recent studies have shown a dramatic increase in “alcohol abuse” among those on active duty. In fact, in one study it was revealed that military personnel are more likely to drink more heavily than those who are not in the military. Because of the high criterion of a military person, they face greater consequences in regard to DUI than a civilian. Facing a Military DUI As you probably already know, DUI is a very serious offense, but when faced with a DUI while serving in the military, it means the consequences can and usually are much more severe.
If someone who is a member of the armed forces finds him or herself facing a Military DUI charge, there are a number of differences regarding a military DUI compared to a civilian DUI charge. The first difference is that when a person is in the military, their case is tried in a military court, which has a different criterion for evaluating the state’s legal blood alcohol level. In fact, in a military court, if the blood alcohol limit is lower than the state’s legal limit, it doesn’t necessarily matter. Why?
Because if the military court feels that the blood alcohol level was high enough to impair the ability of the person driving a vehicle, they can be charged with a military DUI. Intoxicated in the military is defined as the presence in the blood of any amount of alcohol, however small. It is very possible for a military person to be DUI or DWI even if a Breathalyzer or BAT (blood alcohol test) discloses that the blood alcohol concentration is considerably below the state’s legal level. Anyone in the military facing a DUI can expect that it will destroy their military career.
The reason? Because a dishonorable discharge usually and often occurs when a military person is arrested for a DUI, and that means a career in the military will probably end. There are times when the relationship of the service person with their commanding officer can have an affect on the end result, but more often than not, an alcohol related arrest bears great consequences. If a person in the military faces a court-martial because of military DUI charges, their good name, along with their military career, benefits and freedom are at great risk.
More than likely a positive alcohol test will lead to the end of a military career in addition to federal conviction and jail time. The abuse of alchohol by young members of the Military Heavy alcohol use is a significant problem in the military. Personnel often use alcohol in an attempt to cope with stress, boredom, loneliness, and the lack of other recreational activities. The easy availability of alcohol, ritualized drinking opportunities, and inconsistent policies contribute to a work culture that facilitates heavy and binge drinking in this population.
Prevention strategies such as alcohol use policies combined with campaigns focusing on alcohol deglamorization, personal responsibility, and health promotion currently are being implemented to help reduce heavy alcohol use, but further research is needed to evaluate the effects of these efforts. Understanding the characteristics of military culture that encourage or allow heavy and binge drinking practices also will help in designing effective prevention approaches. Relative to other substance use, heavy drinking (i. e. consuming five or more drinks per typical drinking occasion at least once a week) appears to be a particularly persistent problem in the military. Although illicit drug use and cigarette smoking both decreased significantly over the period from 1980 to 2002, heavy alcohol use did not show the same decline. In fact, heavy alcohol use increased significantly from 1998 to 2002 for the first time since 1988. In 2002, 27 percent of young adults in the military reported heavy drinking, compared with only 8. 9 percent of 26- to 55-year-olds. Heavy drinking also is prevalent among those entering the military.
A study tracking high school students into adulthood found that those who entered the military were more likely than other young adults to have been heavy drinkers in high school. Rates of alchohol use among young Military personnel Rates of heavy alcohol use among 18- to 25-year-old military personnel differ significantly by service branch and by gender, as shown in the accompanying table. For example, young males in the Marines Corps have the highest rate of heavy alcohol use, at 38. 6 percent; among males in the Air Force, the rate is 24. 5 percent. Young men in the Army and Navy have similar rates of heavy drinking.
A somewhat different pattern of heavy drinking rates is observed for young women. Rates of heavy drinking are higher for women in the Marine Corps and Navy and lower in the Air Force and Army. Rates of heavy drinking in all service branches are nearly four times higher among young men (32. 2 percent) than among young women (8. 1 percent). In addition, more than half (53. 8 percent) of all young military personnel reported at least one episode of binge drinking (defined here as having consumed five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once in the past 30 days). Possible punishment for Military DWI
There can be a wide variety of punishment in a military DUI conviction. A DUI sentence in a civilian trial is limited to community service, jail time, fines, loss of license, community service, and DUI programs. These are all that are limited by state law. In a military DUI case, the you can be sentenced quite differently as compared to civilians. For instance, there is no maximum legal sentence for military DUI, so the court will be able to decide the sentence. A person convicted for a military DUI can face punishments like dishonorable discharge, a rank reduction, a pay deduction, loss of security clearance, fines, and imprisonment.
At the very least you may receive a formal reprimand for your military DUI conviction. Two examples of Marine’s careers destroyed by DWI/DUI GySgt Sheals of CLR 25: State troopers say a man and woman injured early Friday morning in a motorcycle wreck were both naked when the bike they were on veered off Meadowview Road in Jacksonville. The man involved in the wreck is a senior enlisted Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune. Gunnery Sgt. Steven Sheals, 38, of Meadowview Road, and his passenger, Jennifer Smith, 30, of Parnell Road in Hubert, were thrown from the motorcycle when it crashed.
A trooper said the motorcycle was traveling east on Meadowview, toward Sheals’ home, when he failed to negotiate a curve and ran off the road into a ditch. Smith managed to walk three-tenths of a mile for help despite a broken arm and leg, according to the Highway Patrol. Smith told a trooper at the scene that she used a stick for support and walked to the office of a nearby landfill. Troopers said alcohol was a factor in the 3 a. m. crash . The call for assistance didn’t come in until after 5 a. m. , two hours after the incident occurred, troopers said.
Sheals is an explosive ordnance disposal technician with EOD Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. He entered the Marine Corps in January 1992 and was promoted to his current rank of gunnery sergeant in June 2007. He has been with his present unit since February 2008. Sheals has been charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, driving without a license, license revoked, expired inspection, no insurance and no helmet, according to authorities. Capt.
Scott Sciple: Captain Scott Patrick Sciple, a Marine Corps captain who has been decorated with three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his service, has been charged with DUI manslaughter after a fatal crash on the Florida highway. Pedro Rivera, 48, was killed in the crash, which occurred at around 4 in the morning on April 25, on Interstate 275, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Court records revealed that police measured Capt. Sciple’s blood-alcohol content T . 255, which is three times the legal driving limit.
It was while behind the wheel in this condition that he allegedly drove his Chevy Impala the wrong way on the interstate, and collided with Rivera’s Chevy Malibu. Rivera was pronounced dead after he arrived at the hospital following the crash. “This is a horribly tragic case for everyone involved,” said attorney for Sciple John Fitzgibbons. Sciple was a veteran of four tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was planning to return to the battlefront to serve a fifth tour of duty at the time of the accident. He was home recovering from injuries before deploying again.
Fitzgibbons would not elaborate on Sciple’s war wounds. He joined the military in 2001, and was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. “We are presently examining some very compelling circumstances,” he said of the injury situation, “which may involve legal and medical matters, but I’m not going to discuss those at the present time. ” Rivera’s wife, Carmen, was also injured in the accident, as was Sciple. They were both taken to the hospital in serious condition. It took so long for Sciple to be charged because the court was awaiting the results of the toxicology tests in the case.
This was explained as a standard procedure, according to Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Larry Kraus. Sciple was also charged with DUI with property damage or personal injury to go along with the DUI manslaughter charge. He was released from jail with a $25,500 bail. After the military learned of the accident, Sciple was switched to an administrative role, where he now manages paperwork. This move was not viewed as a punishment, which would allow him to more easily deal with legal issues. Personal experience In my experience, I have not yet felt the full effects of the punishments that are going to follow my DWI.
The more research that I do on the amount of alchohol abuse in the military, the effects of drinking and driving on both the accused and possible victims, aswell as the variety of military personnel that make this rediculous decision, my eyes become even more open to just how serious the situation is. I can not go back to make the right decision like I should have, but I can use this experience to pass on to my peers, and anyone I encounter, the influence to make the right choice that just might save someones life or career.
I chose to place GySgt Sheals’ story in this essay because it is very close to home for those of us in CLR 25, aswell as all of us who are amongst the enlisted ranks. Capt. Sciple’s story was chosen because I want any servicemember who reads this essay to understand that anyone, officer or enlisted, can find themselves in the prediciment to make that wrong decision and possibly take another life. I never thought I would be appart of these statistics, but I only hope that I can make enough of a difference to change them for the better.