If you are in the military, in the process of joining or a veteran you should consider the effect that charges for a criminal offense such as driving under the influence, aggravated speeding, or driving while suspended or revoked may have upon you and take the time to carefully consider your best course of action. All three of the offenses listed are class A misdemeanors which means they have the same level of severity, the only crimes more severe are classified as felonies.

For those seeking to join the military, a criminal offense can be a serious roadblock. As part of the process of joining the military one must self-disclose their criminal history, in addition to submitting to a criminal background check.

For those actively in the military you are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and each service has a regulation which dictates your reporting requirements.

For the purposes of this article we will be addressing only civilian convictions, convictions resulting from prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice are not discussed here and have separate reporting requirements.

United States Army

For the Army this manual is called AR 600-20, and at paragraph 4-23 it details the reporting requirements. In short, the regulation requires reporting as follows:

  • Soldiers must report a conviction for any violation of criminal law anywhere in the United States.
  • It does matter if the conviction results from an incident which occurred off post, or while the member was off duty (after hours) or not on active duty, soldiers must report any conviction.

There are several important exceptions to this requirement:

  • Reporting is not required for traffic offenses that do not require a court appearance, commonly known as petty tickets.
  • These requirements apply only to Officers, Warrant Officers & enlisted personnel grade E-6 and up.
  • The reporting requirement is only triggered upon conviction. This means that the fact that you got arrested and charged alone does not trigger a reporting requirement. The reporting requirement is only triggered if you are found guilty either by entering a plea of guilty or by a judge at trial.
  • The army uses a very broad definition of “conviction” which essentially encompasses any resolution of the case where you admit guilt even if the case is later dismissed as with deferred prosecution.

What does this mean? If you are an E-7 and you are charged with a DUI you would not have to report it to your command unless and until you are found guilty either by entering a plea of any kind or from a finding of guilty at trial. If you have a trial and win or the case is dismissed without entering a plea you do not have to report at all. If you are an E-7 charged with a petty speeding ticket you would not have to report it at all.

Note: If you are an E-4 charged with a DUI you would not have to report it to your command at all.

United States Navy and Marine Corps.

If you are in the Navy or the Marines the duty to report criminal incidents can be found at OPNAVINST 3120.32D CH-1 at section 5.1.6. It is different from the Army in that it requires all service members to report any arrests and/or charges for any crime. This applies regardless of the rank or grade of service member and most importantly the obligation to report does not depend upon a conviction.

What this means is that if you are in the Navy or Marines and you are an officer, warrant officer or enlisted member and you are arrested for DUI, or any other crime, (excluding petty tickets) you must report this to your command even if the arrest does not result in criminal charges (arrested and released).

** A discussion of the reporting requirements for members of the Air Force has been omitted because those regulations are in the process of being reviewed and possibly changed at the time this was written. **

It is important to note that the both the regulations covering the Navy, Marines and the Army specifically state that commanders who receive a self-report of a criminal incident are prohibited from imposing discipline or other negative consequences based solely upon the report. The information the service member is required to report is limited to the fact that they were charged with a crime and does not include any statements, evidence or information relating to the facts of the case.

This means if you are a service member and you are required to report, you need only report that you have been arrested/charged/convicted for DUI (for example) but you do not need to make any statement about your case or provide any information about the facts of your case.

Court Supervision in Illinois

If your case is in Illinois you may be offered a resolution known as court supervision. For an Illinois resident who is not in the armed services or seeking to join, this could be a very acceptable disposition for their case.

However, service members should be aware that Supervision is unique to Illinois and although it is not a conviction under Illinois law, the federal government (and thus the Armed Services), and Uniform Code of Military Justice do not recognize supervision and treat any such disposition as a conviction. Please also note, if you have a security clearance or you are accused of a crime involving domestic violence there are separate reporting requirements you should familiarize yourself with.

In Conclusion

This information is based upon the contemporary state of the law and applicable regulations and it is subject to change as the regulations are amended by the respective branches of the armed services and/or changed pursuant to court rulings. As stated above this article is limited to issues arising from civilian criminal incidents and does not relate to issues stemming from criminal incidents under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

If you are in the military, in the process of joining or a veteran and charged with a misdemeanor offense you should research the rules associated with each individual branch’s code of conduct to determine your best course of action.

In some branches for certain offenses it may be best to hire an attorney to assist with your case. If an attorney is able to help get your charge dismissed it will have an impact on whether or not you must report the incident.

Our experienced attorneys at Driver Defense Team can help. Contact us at (312) 940 – 8330 to discuss your case.