U.S. Military in Germany Go to Local Courts for DUI Offenses
Barbecues, village festivals and get-togethers where alcohol is served may be a huge part of summertime fun in Germany, but the consequences of driving under the influence afterward can be a sobering reality check.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs not only endangers others, but jeopardizes government civilian careers and disrupts lives, said Robert Leist, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Civilian Misconduct officer.
"Government civilian employees and command-sponsored family members are subject to the criminal jurisdiction of the host-nation authorities and the administrative jurisdiction of U.S. forces under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement with established civilian misconduct programs," Leist explained. "Civilians receiving logistical support also fall under the civilian misconduct jurisdiction. Host-nation authorities maintain criminal jurisdiction, so they will typically assign fines, fees, penalties and determine guilt or innocence. DUIs are normally processed through host-nation criminal court."According to host-nation DUI laws, violating 0.05 percent blood alcohol concentration or driving under the influence of drugs will result in the following consequences:
• First Offense: 500€ fine, two point reduction and one-month driving suspension
• Second Offense: 1,000€ fine, two point reduction and a three-month driving suspension
• Third Offense: 1,500€ fine, two point reduction and a three-month suspension.
• Tougher DUI penalties and fines are issued by host-nation authorities if drivers endanger road traffic or their BAC is greater than 0.109 percent.
Although U.S. civilian drivers with DUIs have host-nation penalties and fines to contend with, they will still deal with Army reprimands as well, said Rick Anderson, USAG RP Civilian Misconduct officer.
"For certain BACs, German authorities may suspend a license for 90 days, but Army in Europe Regulation 190-1 requires a revocation of one year for the offense," he said. "Whether you are a government civilian employee, government contractor or family member, if you are affiliated with the U.S. forces and receive logistical support, you must pay the host-nation fines and also abide by AER 190-1 with the revocation of your license, regardless if host-nation authorities only remove driving privileges for 90 days."
There is a difference between host-nation license suspensions and required U.S. forces license suspensions and revocations, Anderson said.
"According to AER 190-1, operation of a vehicle with 0.05 to 0.079 percent BAC will be a mandatory 90-day license suspension; 0.08 percent BAC or higher is a mandatory license revocation with petitioned reinstatement authorized after one year," Anderson explained. "People who commit a second offense lose their license for five years; a third offense prohibits them from ever possessing a U.S. Forces Certificate of License again."
DUI includes drugs as well.