DUIs - what you need to know

  • Published
  • By 28th Bomb Wing office of the Staff Judge Advocate
  • 28th Bomb Wing Staff Judge Advocate
As you get ready to celebrate this holiday season, remember to plan for every situation.  Have a safe way to get home and then plan on having a backup in case the first plan fails. Don't endanger yourself and others--or your career--because you didn't plan ahead or spend a few bucks on a safe ride home at the end of the night.  Failure to plan can have dire consequences.

Since Jan. 1, 2015, the Air Force has punished 305 Airmen under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for driving under the influence, or DUI. Nine of them were Airmen from Ellsworth AFB. This number still does not reflect all DUI events, because Article 15s are only an option when the civilian courts turn over jurisdiction to the Air Force.  However, when the Air Force is not granted jurisdiction, commanders may utilize a variety of administrative actions as a result of the DUI event.

Should the Air Force not get jurisdiction, a first time offender in South Dakota faces a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Punishment for this type of misdemeanor includes up to a $1,000 fine.  Additionally, the offender may have additional court costs, an increase in insurance costs, a license suspension for up to a year, and up to a year in jail.

All DUIs at Ellsworth AFB in the last year have resulted in the loss of a stripe for the Airman, regardless of what happens in civilian court or whether the Air Force receives jurisdiction.  A commander can offer an Article 15, which may not only result in punishment of a loss of rank, but also include forfeiture of pay or extra duty. In cases where the Air Force does not obtain jurisdiction, a commander may determine that the member does not meet standards expected of that member's rank, and consequently administratively demote the member.

Always have a plan if you do decide to go out. Then, have a backup plan. A designated driver, or DD, is the standard plan recommended by everyone from supervisors to commanders. Acting as DD is always preferable to your wingman endangering lives.

A quick Google search for "Rapid City taxi" populates no less than seven results. Entering one (or more) of these numbers in your phone before going out creates a backup plan you don't even have to think about until it's time to use it.

As a last resort, there's always the SafeRide program. But remember, this shouldn't be your first call as this service is provided by base volunteers and can become overburdened with calls quickly. Store their number in your phone before you go out, just in case: 385-RIDE (7433).