Crime and punishment
By Maj. Jennifer Clay, 17th Training Wing Legal Office
/ Published March 21, 2008
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Criminal misconduct can have serious consequences for both an individual's future in the military and in his or her life after the military.
Some of the more common offenses include underage drinking, providing alcohol to a minor, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, illegal drug use and shoplifting, just to name a few.
The consequences for these offenses can range from a verbal counseling, non-judicial punishment, an administrative discharge or even a court-martial. The choice is up to the individual's commander to determine the appropriate level of action.
If a commander chooses to offer non-judicial punishment to an Airman, he or she can be reduced in rank, forfeit pay and be required to perform extra duties.
In a court-martial, the consequences are potentially much greater. If convicted, an accused can be sentenced to confinement for months or years, reduced in rank, forfeit pay and allowances and receive either a bad conduct or dishonorable discharge. A federal conviction and a punitive discharge can limit future employment and educational opportunities.
There are also additional consequences for these offenses outside of the military justice arena, for example, an active duty member detained by Security Forces or local law enforcement for DUI will lose their base driving privileges for one year. If an Airman is arrested by local law enforcement, he or she will bear the full cost of defending the charges and may lose his or her state license.
Another potential consequence of illegal drug use is a mandatory administrative discharge action under the provisions of Air Force Instruction 36-3208 for enlisted and AFI 36-3207 for officers.
These are only a few of the potential collateral consequences of criminal misconduct.