DUI Arrest at MacDill Airforce Base
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent people arrested for DUI both on-base and off-base. Many of our cases involve members of the military stationed at MacDill Air Force Base being arrested for DUI off bases. An arrest for DUI at MacDill AFB is relatively rare, although we have represented clients on those charges in federal court as well.
An arrest for DUI off-base by civilian police is subject to the following consequences:
- prosecution under state law at the courthouse in state court with penalties that can include jail time, probation to complete substance abuse evaluations and treatment, installation of the ignition interlock devise, and a driver’s license suspension;
- a DUI arrest off-base usually results in the officer taking the driver’s license and initiating an administative suspension of the driving privileges in Florida, even if the driver does not have a Florida’s driver’s license;
- regardless of the criminal consequences in state court and the administrative consequences with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), a service member arrested off-base for DUI can also face additional sanctions in a military administrative action in the form of an Article 15 nonjudicial punishment (NJP).
After an arrest off base, call us to find out why you should ALWAYS fight an administrative suspension within 10 days of the arrest even if your commanding officer is pursuing an Article 15. If your case is being prosecuted in state court, then you should always hire a criminal defense attorney to fight those charges.
Attorney for an Arrest for DUI in Federal Court in Tampa, FL
If you have been arrested for a DUI at MacDill Air Force Base, the case can be prosecuted in Federal Court. The arresting officer will issue a Violation Notice from the United States District Court which alleges a violation of the DUI laws in the State of Florida but it is prosecuted in federal court.
For a DUI arrest on-base, you will not typically go to state court or receive a notice of an administrative suspension at the Florida DHSMV.
The biggest downside to fighting the DUI case in federal court is that the federal court system does not generally recognize a right to a jury trial on a first DUI since it is not considered a “serious offense” and it carries a maximum sentence of up to 6 months in jail. Although not required, the judge always has the discretion to grant the defendant’s request for a jury trial in federal court.
In some DUI cases, the defendant has a right to a jury trial if the statutory maximum sentence exceeds six (6) months because:
- the DUI is charged as a second or subsequent offense; or
- the DUI is charged as an enhanced DUI because the subject blew over a .15 or a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense; or
- the DUI results in property damage or non-serious bodily injury; or
- any felony version of DUI is charged.
Federal DUI Preliminary Suspension of Driving Privileges
After a DUI arrest at MacDill Air Force Base, you will receive notice of a preliminary suspension of driving privileges. This preliminary suspension will become permanent (and normally lasts for 12 months) UNLESS you request an administrative hearing within ten (10) calendar days.
It is important to request that administrative hearing because it allows your attorney to protect your privilege to drive, gather exculpatory evidence, and discover what each witness will say about the events surrounding the arrest.
The evidence gathered at the preliminary hearing is also critical to defending your case in the criminal court system. In fact, that preliminary hearing is one of the most important parts of your case.
Preliminary Suspension after a DUI Arrest at MacDill Airforce Base
For any civilian or member of the military arrested on the property belonging to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL, the Department of the Air Force, 6th Air Mobility Wing (AMC) will issue a preliminary suspension of driving privileges after a DUI arrest involving:
- a DUI arrest with a refusal to submit to a breath, blood or urine sample to determine your BAC (blood or breath alcohol content); or
- a DUI arrest with a breath test reading on the Intoxilyzer 8000 with a reading over the legal limit of 0.08.
Preliminary Suspension of Driving Privileges
Effective immediately after the DUI arrest at MacDill Airforce Base, the driver’s privileges to operate a motor vehicle on the base are preliminarily suspended. This suspension prohibits the driver from operating any motor vehicle while on all military installations. Additionally, the driver is prohibited from operating government-owned or leased vehicles.
Until the final adjudication of the case, your base driving privileges will remain suspended. This suspension can become a revocation under the authority of AFI 31-204, para 22.214.171.124. and you will be required to attend Court V. Driver Improvement Course presented by 6 AMW/SE.
You must contact Base Safety Office to schedule a date and time for the course.
- The law enforcement officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were driving or were in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs;
- You refused to submit to the test for alcohol, breath or urine;
- Failed to complete the test;
- Submitted to the test and the results exceeded the amount of allowed blood alcohol content;
- Results indicate the presence of other drugs for an on-installation apprehension or in violation of state laws for an off-installation apprehension; and
- The testing methods used were valid and reliable; and
- The results were accurately recorded and evaluated.
Requesting an Administrative Hearing to Vacate the Suspension
You may request an administrative hearing to vacate this action and request your driving privileges be restored pending investigation or final adjudication of the incident by contacting 6 SFS/S-5R, 2505 SOCOM Memorial Way, MacDill AFB, FL 33621.
You may present evidence, witnesses, and be represented by assigned military or civilian counsel (at your own expense). Military personnel may contact the Area Defense Counsel for advice and representation. DoD personnel are entitled to personal representation (including private civilian counsel) at the hearing in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
Determinations made at the hearing are without prejudice to the rights of the government in subsequent criminal or administrative proceedings involving the same incident. All hearing determinations will be based upon the preponderance of the evidence presented.
Military members, civilian employees, or family members of military members must submit requests through their appropriate commander, staff agency chief, or sponsor’s commander for endorsement to 6 SFS/S-5R. If an administrative hearing is not requested within ten (10) calendar days, this suspension will become a permanent suspension until final adjudication of the DUI case in federal court.
Restricted or Probationary Driving Privileges
You may request restricted or probationary driving privileges at any time after you receive the letter. There are no guarantees you will receive requested privileges. Restricted or probationary privileges are reserved for those with extreme hardships.
Requests must be made in writing and must be endorsed by your commander, appropriate staff agency, or your sponsor’s commander, for review and approval or disapproval.
Reinstatement of Installation Driving Privileges
For DUI offenses and refusing to submit to a blood-alcohol test to determine your blood alcohol concentration in conjunction with a DUI, your driving privileges will be automatically reinstated one year from the date of the offense, provided no further incidents have occurred.
You may request reinstatement of your driving privileges if you are acquitted of DUI through any judicial or non-judicial proceeding. Exception: If you are acquitted of DUI, but refused to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration, your driving privileges will continue to be revoked for one year from the date of the offense.
Finding an Attorney for a DUI Case in Federal Court
If you have been arrested for DUI or any other criminal offense at MacDill Air Force Base contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Hillsborough County, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the particular facts and circumstances of your case.
In many of these cases, you must act quickly (within ten (10) days of the arrest) to preserve your rights.
Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case today.
This article was last updated on Friday, August 16, 2019.