Alcohol-Related Offenses in the Military

gavel and handcuffs

Defending against alcohol-related charges in the military.

Servicemen and women may drink alcohol at certain types of celebrations. For example, many people drink alcohol at holiday celebrations such as Christmas or New Year's. Some servicemen and women may also drink alcohol on other types of special occasions, such as when they are given a promotion or when they retire from the military. Although drinking alcohol is not necessarily required or expected at these events, it is often common.

Additionally, combat can take a heavy toll on service members, both physically and mentally. As such, many troops celebrate their combat victories with alcohol, as a means to cope with post-combat stress, loneliness, boredom, and the lack of other recreational activities. Again, although drinking alcohol is not necessarily required or expected at these events, it is often common.

For help with alcohol-related charges in the military, please reach out to the UCMJ military defense lawyers at The Griffin Law Firm.

So, When Does It Become an Offense To Drink Alcohol?

Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), it is illegal to:

  • Be drunk when in the operation of a military vessel (e.g humvee, aircraft, seacraft, drone, etc)
  • Be drunk on duty
  • Drunkenly engage in any type of disorderly conduct
  • Drink with a prisoner
  • Get a prisoner drunk

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, service members may drink alcohol at authorized functions and in private homes on-base. Additionally, service members who are 21 years old or older may drink alcohol off-base and off-duty.

The Repercussions of Drunkenness in the Military

Many troops may turn to alcohol to ease their symptoms. Unfortunately, this can lead to negative consequences such as addiction and impaired performance. Whatever the case, the Department of Defense Alcohol Policy states that service members must abstain from drinking alcohol "to the point of impairment." 

While many service members drink responsibly and without incident, commanders must take a hard line against those who drink to excess or put themselves and their fellow troops at risk.

As stated in the policy, the military takes a hard line on alcohol abuse, with punishments that can include confinement, partial or total forfeiture of pay and allowances, and even a bad conduct discharge. 

How Can You Defend Against an Alcohol-Related Charge in the Military?

When it comes to defending against alcohol-related charges in the military, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, you need to understand that military law is different from civilian law and that you will likely be tried under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The UCMJ is a federal law that applies to all members of the military and covers a wide range of criminal offenses.

Frankly speaking, another thing to keep in mind is that the military takes alcohol offenses very seriously. In fact, as we mentioned earlier, drinking while serving in the military can lead to serious consequences, including dishonorable discharge, imprisonment, and loss of rank. As such, if you are facing an alcohol-related charge, it is important to consult with an experienced military defense lawyer at Griffin Law Defense right away who can help you navigate the complex legal system and protect your rights.

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