When a member of the armed forces commits a crime, the military generally has jurisdiction. However, when it comes to a DUI, this fact does not always hold true. According to FindLaw, who has jurisdiction — the military or the state of Georgia — largely depends on where the arrest took place and the circumstances leading up to the incident.
If you were arrested for a DUI, you should first know that both the military and the civilian authorities may file charges against you. Though the two entities may come together to coordinate the charges and the penalties, it is more likely that the military will want to take separate action. This means that you may face twice the charges — one in the civilian world and one on base. If this is the case, the military may still impose sanctions even if the civilian courts acquit you. Sanctions may involve a court martial.
If your arrest took place on base, the military may impose both a court martial and administrative penalties. However, the civilian authorities do not have any jurisdiction in this case, meaning you will not face double charges. That said, the state may still revoke your license, require you to drive with an interlock ignition device or impose other administrative punishments.
If your arrest took place off base, you will likely face criminal charges in the civilian world. In addition to criminal penalties, your commanding officer has the discretion to take administrative actions against you. Such actions may include revocation of pass privileges, alcohol abuse treatment and corrective training. The military may also charge you with other crimes related to a DUI, such as disorderly conduct, or a DUI in general.
If you are a civilian, and if an officer arrests you on base for a DUI, you may face charges at the federal level. However, the federal courts will likely apply state DUI laws, as federal legislature does not have DUI laws that apply to civilians.
You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.