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Camp Pendleton DUI Defense Attorney

Strong Legal Representation for Members of the Military

One of the worst fears for a member of the military is having to go before a military court. The rules governing a military court vastly differ from a civilian’s trial and you can face significant charges, even for crimes that equate to a misdemeanor for anyone else. This is especially true for DUIs, which the military courts have a strict zero-tolerance policy on. If convicted, you can not only face serious penalties such as imprisonment and fines, but you can also be dishonorably discharged.

But there are ways to protect your future. While the military courts at Camp Pendleton can provide a military lawyer, your best bet is to contact an experienced and knowledgeable Camp Pendleton DUI defense attorney. At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, our lead attorney has more than 30 years of experience defending clients throughout North County in a variety of DUI cases and can provide excellent legal advocacy in a military court. In addition, if your case is tried in a civilian court, we can also work to protect your career. To learn how, contact jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys at (760) 630-2000.

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Differences Between Military and Civilian DUIs

It is important to know that not all DUIs are charged in a military court for servicemen. While the military court has jurisdiction over many serious crimes, such as desertion and sexual assault, DUIs are completely dependent on where the crime occurred. If you are arrested within Camp Pendleton or another military base, then the military court has jurisdiction over your case; however, if you were arrested while off base in another part of North County, then you can be charged in a civilian court.

While jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys can provide legal advice in both types of cases, civilian cases typically have lighter penalties. In turn, with the military, you are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which means you can face court martial, reduced pay, loss of rank, and several non-judicial restrictions, such as a license suspension and the requirement to install an interlocking ignition device.

In either situation, you will want to work with an attorney with extensive experience and legal knowledge.

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Why Experience Matters

At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we specialize in defending clients against DUI charges across North County and have a thorough understanding of the law. Our founding attorney is a former LAPD investigator who has in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of how DUIs are tested and charged. If you bring your case to us, we can utilize that same experience to protect your future.

Among the numerous cases that we have successfully defended, we can provide legal guidance for:

  • First-time Offenders
  • Multiple DUIs
  • DUIs with Injuries
  • DUIs with Drugs
  • Vehicular Manslaughter
  • Out-of-State DUIs
  • Military DUIs

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Penalties for a DUI in California

Even if you are charged in a civilian court, you should take these charges very seriously. While California does work to rehabilitate first-time offenders, it can bring harsh penalties down on repeat offenders, even if you are a member of the military.

If you are charged with a DUI and have no prior charges on your record, you can face a misdemeanor punishment of:

  • Between 48 hours and six months in a county jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000 fine plus penalty assessments
  • A six-month or longer license suspension based on BAC
  • A maximum 30-day vehicle impoundment
  • Community service requirements

A second offense adds on a minimum of 10 days in jail and a maximum of one year, an increase in fines of up to $3,000, a two-year license suspension, three to five years of probation, admission in a mandatory alcohol treatment enrollment, and a potential ignition interlock device installation. For third offenses, the punishments can increase further and the crime may even be charged as a felony.

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Harsh Punishments for the Military

For members of the military, the punishments do not stop at a civilian court. While the military does not have jurisdiction over your trial if the crime occurred outside of Camp Pendleton, it can still impose punitive and administrative punishments, both of which can drastically impact your military career.

Punitive punishments refer to judicial penalties that the military uses to discipline servicemen and can include:

  • Court martial
  • Reduced pay grade
  • Confinement
  • Discharge

In turn, administrative punishment, or non-judicial punishments, can include specific restrictions for your military career, including:

  • Limited security clearance
  • Corrective training
  • Letter of reprimand
  • Reduction in rank
  • Limits on reenlistment

The military has discretion as to whether or not you will face these punishments in addition to a civilian DUI. However, they are almost also imposed when a DUI takes place on the base and can drastically shift the course of your life. However, California does have a diversion that you may be eligible for.

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California’s Military DUI Diversion Program

Under California Penal Code 1001.80 PC, members of the military, both current and veterans, can enter a pretrial diversion program for substance abuse issues. This program, referred to as the Military Diversion Program, is designed to help treat servicemen and women who are suffering from a variety of issues related to their military careers, including PTSD, sexual abuse, mental health issues, and substance abuse issues. In lieu of facing criminal charges for a first-time DUI offense, a member of the military can forgo a trial and enter into the program if the court deems them qualified.

To be qualified for this program, you must show that your substance abuse issue started as a result of the military and did not occur before it. Evidence that can help support this is testimony from people who know you, medical experts, and psychiatrists who can argue that you did not show signs of a substance abuser until after you joined the military.

If accepted, the judge overseeing your case will decide which program you can enter into, which may vary between a locally based program or one that is overseen by the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs. The goal of this program will be to treat you for a substance abuse issue and, if you complete it, your charges will be dropped. However, you may still face administrative penalties with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), such as a license suspension, but with the aid of jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we may be able to have your license reinstated.

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Common DUI Defense Strategies

In addition to helping you enter a diversion program, the team at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys can rigorously defend you in both a military and civilian DUI trial. With our years of experience, we can argue that:

  • You were illegally pulled over
  • The breathalyzer test was improperly administrated or showed a false positive
  • The arresting officer did not impose a 15-minute observation period
  • You only showed the objective signs of intoxication
  • The arresting officer committed misconduct

Each case is different, and to fully grasp the ramifications of your charges, you will need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

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Protect Your Military Future

The pressures of serving in the military are unheard of, and even those in it do not fully understand how harshly they can be punished for a DUI. In addition to civilian charges, your military career and reputation may be put in jeopardy if you do not work with the best lawyer available. That is why you should not hesitate to contact a Camp Pendleton criminal defense attorney at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys. We have a strong history of defending clients throughout North County and provide an aggressive and thorough defense on your behalf. If you are facing a military DUI in Camp Pendleton, contact our office at (760) 630-2000.

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James N. Dicks

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