MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
To date, one can purchase a fine bottle of Cristal champagne for around $200. For the big spender, a bottle of Kentucky’s ultra-rare Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon will set you back around a cool $3,000. These are steep prices for most Airmen, but how do they compare to the cost of an arrest for drinking and driving?
Minot Air Force Base is one of the most secure military installations in the world thanks to the hard work of defenders acting as our security forces personnel. The main gate of Minot AFB is a 24-hour/365-day a year DUI check-point. There are few guarantees in life besides death and taxes, but one more certainty is that each and every individual attempting to gain access to Minot AFB will be screened by security forces for signs of impairment, regardless of the time of day or the weather. DUIs are an unfortunate and completely preventable offense committed by Airmen each month.
"We've seen so many Airmen who express the long-lasting financial consequences of a DUI," said Capt. Jasmine Dixon, Chief of Military Justice.
So what will a DUI cost you as an Airmen? The bottom-line is shown in the chart depicted below. Airmen can, at the very least, expect their command to address this misconduct through Nonjudicial Punishment under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. While each individual case is assessed on the facts and circumstances unique to it, the frequent punishment for a DUI is a hard bust of one pay grade, some forfeiture of pay, and extra duty or restriction to the limits of the base. Though officers are not included on the chart below, it can be expected that an officer DUI will significantly impact an officer’s career.
It is important to mention some of the secondary effects of a DUI as well. Driving privileges on base are typically revoked for at least a year for any military member found to be driving under the influence. Additionally, a DUI places a member’s career in serious jeopardy as the Air Force continues to trim down the size of the force. DUI offenders often find themselves under the microscope for involuntary separation, especially when the DUI follows other disciplinary misconduct. Also, don’t forget the increased insurance premiums that will undoubtedly accompany your next bill.
DUI offenses are preventable. Operation Safe Ride (701-7232-7233) operates specifically to provide Airmen who have enjoyed a bit too much alcohol with an option to get home safely. So the next time you close your tab and see the bill, think about the massive costs and risks awaiting you if you make the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking. It’s your money and life on the line.