I have just been charged with an OWI off-base and in a different state. I am currently active duty air force and am set to deploy in September. I blew a .15 and was released the same night. I have been trying to reach an attorney but since it's the weekend have had no luck. I would like to know if i should report this to my chain of command right away or wait to speak to a civilian attorney first. I really messed up and i don't want to get kicked off this deployment. I've been beating myself up for the last 12 hours. Please any information would be greatly appreciated!
State/Country relating to question: United States
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.Are you on leave? Or liberty ?
I was just on liberty. We are allowed to travel up to 8 hours away, the thing is i was caught aproximately 20 minutes outside of the allowed travel area.
Will you make it back to work prior to expiration of liberty?
Yes i am back in town and will be back to work on time.
ThanksMan that is a tough one. The fact it happened outside of liberty limits just aggravates it. Normally I tell folks to fess up right away. And it is likely a good idea for you to do so. The Air Force will react stronger against you if they find out from someone other than you. That said, it would do you well to talk to a qualified attorney first. If you can resolve this soon (a few weeks or less) and it will not require you to report for probation that could help quite a bit...that is, you report when it is done. That actually limits what the af can do in the way of punishmentBut you run a risk that your commander finds out prior to your notificationYour call...it is a tough one..I would talk to a lawyer tomorrow and see if there is any chance you can resolve this in a few weeks.
How likely is it that if my commander does find out, they can obtain jurisdiction of the case? Also should i be contacting an attorney in the state i was charged or the state of my actual base? Lastly what kind of costs will i be looking at for hiring an attorney to help me possibly reduce the charge?
The commander has jurisdiction up until the state adjudicates the case...the jurisdiction bumps up to flag level. The military always has jurisdiction under UCMJ. You need a lawyer in the state that charged you.Cost? Depends on what is needed to resolve. But figure a few hundred to a few thousand minimum. Welcome to the criminal process. It can get expensive real quick if you go to trial. But if you can negotiate a plea deal that will limit your lawyer costs.
One final question. What are the chances my command can take me off the deployment if they find out? Is it a case to case or can they legally take me off? I am really looking forward to deploying and serving.
Yes they can pull you off. There is right to deploy. That is why if you can present this as 'solved'. When you notify your command it may help you.
Retired Marine Corps Lawyer, Veterans Services Officer (VSO)
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