My goal today is to provide a sample Army DUI Counseling. In the event someone you personally supervise gets arrested for a DUI, it is your responsibility to counsel them. Before you conduct the counseling with them it would be in your best interest to:
- Collect the facts about the situation (get a copy of the police report)
- Get a copy of your commander’s DUI Policy
- Read any pertinent regulations concerning DUIs
- Contact the JAG/S1 Section to find out your legal obligations about what you can and can’t say in the counseling and what types of punishments you can or can’t give
- Refer to a sample DUI Counseling (from unit S1) to get a good idea of what the counseling should look like
As always, preparation is the key to success. That being said, here is a sample Army DUI Counseling for someone who receives a DUI off post.
Purpose of Counseling
The purpose of this counseling is to educate you SPC James Smith, about the seriousness of driving while intoxicated and the repercussions of receiving a DUI.
Key Points of Discussion
On 5 Sep 2011 you (SPC Smith) were arrested in Boston, Massachusetts for Driving Under the Influence. According to the police report, you were stopped by a random road stop. When the police talked to you, you smelled of alcohol. After being subjected to a sobriety test your alcohol level was 0.09, which is above the legal limit of 0.08.
You were placed under arrest and detained in the Police Station until you sobered up. Your chain of command was notified and you were released to your unit on Monday morning.
As your first line supervisor, I cannot condone this behavior. DUIs are a serious crime. In addition to civil penalties, you can also serve jail time. Receiving a DUI can also have a detrimental impact on your military career.
Plan of Action
I am recommending to the Company Commander that you:
– Get a reduction in rank from E4 to E3
– Enroll in the Army Substance Abuse Program
Ultimately, the Company Commander will decide what punishment to administer to you.
Once again, you will also have to go to civilian courts to handle your case. I would suggest you hire a lawyer to represent you. You also might want to sit down with JAG to learn more about how to handle your case.
– Ensure soldier attends court date with civil judge
– Conduct weekly safety brief with soldier
– Make SPC Smith aware of DUI-related events, discharges, and accidents that have affected members of our Battalion in the past.
END OF COUNSELING
As a leader, it’s really important to understand the difference between your soldier getting a DUI on post compared to getting arrested for a DUI off post. Before you conduct your Army DUI Counseling with your subordinate, do yourself a favor and talk to JAG first. They should be able to provide some example Army DUI Counseling’s and tell you what you can and can’t do for punishment. There are certain rules about “double punishment” so make sure you educate yourself first so you don’t get yourself in trouble.
DISCLAIMER: Please note I am not a lawyer or JAG Officer.
If you have any other suggestions or examples, or if you have any questions, please post them below. Thanks.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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14 thoughts on “Sample Army DUI Counseling”
Any person, whether it be an Army Soldier or a regular civilian, that gets a DUI should undergo some sort of counseling and be held liable for their actions. I have absolutely no respect for someone who willing gets behind the wheel and drives knowing that they are putting others at risk simply from enjoying themselves and drinking too much. I have had way too many friends and family members affected by drunk driving that it is just unnecessary and uncalled for.
But with one of the previous comments that were made, I agree that the leaders should be held responsible as well and set a good example. It seems that a lot of drinking goes on in the military, although you can’t quite blame them especially after all that they see and go through. This is just a touchy subject – a great post covering the issue!
Like you said, people need to be held accountable. As Soldiers we are held to a higher standard than our civilian counterparts. Drinking and driving should never be tolerated, regardless of the person’s age or rank.
Army DUI counselors should provide counseling by example as well as teaching and discussion. It is difficult to take any kind of counseling for any unwanted behaviors when the person counseling is known to do the same thing he or she is counseling someone else for.
A company commander will find himself or herself being studied in social behaviors by others in the unit. Each must take this seriously.
This is probably not a position any Commanding Officer anticipates being in. Contacting the JAG/S1 Section definitely sounds like an important action to take every time a DUI occurs just to make certain no new regulations were implemented. I also see the need for the Commanding Officer to be diligent about making sure a soldier meets with required civilian authorities (for off base incidents). Not doing so could be detrimental to the Commanding Officer’s career as well. The Army Substance Abuse Program is a great resource, which I am sure is effective in helping soldiers move passed such events and addictions.
DUIs are a touchy subject, especially in the National Guard and Army Reserves. If the incident happens on base, the Commander can deal with it, along with JAG and the MPs. If it DUI happens off base, there are less things they can do, since the local authorities will deal with it. However, all Commanders, senior NCOs and first line leaders need to know how to do a DUI Counseling in case it happens to one of their Soldiers. The last thing you want to do is get yourself in trouble because you didn’t know what you were supposed to say or do on the DUI Counseling.
Thanks for sharing this post. I am new to the military and couldn’t imagine risking my career over a drink. I’ll make sure that I always act responsibly and never drink and drive.
Thanks Johnette. Seeing anyone get a DUI makes my stomach ill. I always used to tell my Soldiers to be responsible and give me a call if needed. But sometimes people will just do what they want to do anyway. I have very little sympathy for people who drink and drive.
During my time in the Army one of my Soldiers got a DUI. I remember the negative impact the DUI had on the Soldier’s career. Not only were the lawyer’s fees and fines expensive, but the Soldier got reduced in rank. I learned a valuable lesson when this happened and never drive if I have more than one beer or mixed drink. It simply isn’t worth it.
You make a good point. No drink is worth risking your career or potentially killing someone. Smart people drink responsibly. Thanks for sharing.
This is a great sample DUI Counseling. One of my Soldiers received a DUI last night and I have to do his counseling today. I’m going to follow your advice and talk with JAG and my S1 to make sure I do everything legally, and don’t step out of my lane. I really appreciate you sharing this information with the rest of us.
I agree with you Kevin. I didn’t realize the penalties were so severe. I think it is a good way to prevent officers from drinking and driving. The penalties are just not worth it, especially when you consider all the hard work they put in. It also shows how military members should display leadership as they set an example for the rest of society.
This can be a complicated issue to cover but I feel like you went over it very well. It is a very good deterrent to know exactly what some of the consequences are that come along with this. Very informative and scary.
Wow – I knew that DUI’s cost much more than the mere fee associated with the citation, but I did not know that a reduction in pay grade could be recommended and enforced. How quickly would something like that go into effect. That wouldn’t exactly be something you could hide from your spouse. How long would the pay grade demotion last?
The punishment would vary, based upon the Commander’s recommendation. Some units have standardized punishments and some don’t. If you were to get a DUI on base, you would deal with the UCMJ Consequences as compared to getting a DUI off base where you would face civil penalties and fines. When you get demoted, it can take 6-12 months to get your rank back, sometimes longer. That really depends on what rank you have when you get arrested. I hope that helps.