Article 111 Drunken or Reckless Operation of Vehicle, Aircraft or Vessel
The operation of vehicles, aircrafts and vessels in military installations
is an essential part of service members' activities and duties. They
are professionally obligated to operate vehicles in a responsible manner.
Failure to do so is considered a violation of UCMJ, and covered under
Article 111 Drunken or Reckless Operation of Vehicle, Aircraft or Vessel.
Elements of Article 111
A service member is subject to this article if he was operating or physically
controlling a vehicle, aircraft or vessel in (a) a reckless or wanton
manner (b) a drunken state (c) an impaired state caused by the consumption
of a controlled substance. If found guilty, he will be punished as a courts-martial
A more detailed explanation of elements
wanton: If the service member in duty failed to use due care without considering
the safety risk he posed to others, he is said to have demonstrated
simple negligence. If this behavior is combined with a deliberate or gross disregard for
occupants' and others' safety, which posed imminent danger to
them, the service member is said to have acted in a reckless or wanton
manner. Even willful conduct is deemed to be wantonness.
controlling: A service member is said to have operated a vehicle, aircraft or vessel
if he is (a) driving or guiding it himself or through the agency of another
person or even (b) causing the vehicle, aircraft or vessel to move by
manipulating its controls or setting its motive power into action.
Control has a broad meaning and covers a person with the authority and means to
manipulate the movements of the vehicle even if he was not attempting
to control the vehicle and there was no link between his consumption of
drugs/alcohol and the operation of the vehicle. The service member is
said to be in
physical control of the vehicle if he had the capability and power to direct, influence
and manipulate it himself or through the agency of another person regardless
of whether the vehicle was operated.
Drunkenness or impairment refer to intoxication by alcohol and a controlled substance respectively,
which is sufficient to diminish the mental and physical faculties of the
service member. The level of alcohol concentration prohibited is the same
as that established by different states laws. If the behavior took place
in a military installation located in more than one state, with the states
defining their prohibited blood alcohol levels differently, the concerned
Secretary for the installation shall take the final call on the uniform
level to be applied to the case. The prohibited alcohol concentration
level outside the United States is 0.10 grams or more of alcohol per 210
liters of breath or 100 milliliters of blood. In determining the nature
of the substance causing impairment, the military judge may consider if
it is a scheduled (Schedules I through V) controlled substance.
Points to note
1. If the military judge is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the
accused was operating the vehicle when the alcohol concentration in his
blood was equal to or more than the prohibited level as determined by
a chemical analysis, proof of drunkenness or impairment is not required.
2. The accused's actions can also cause injury to another person or
persons. The victim(s) can allege injury if the accused's actions
were the immediate or nearly accurate ('approximate') cause of
1. In determining if the evidence is sufficient to convict the accused
under this chapter, the military judge shall take into consideration any
deviations from regulations governing the handling of breath, blood and
urine samples. So, reliability of the testing procedures becomes a defense.
2. In cases where injury is alleged, there could be evidence of or doubts
concerning the role of an intervening, independent or unforeseeable event
not involving the accused's conduct, that played a dominant role in
causing the injury. Here, the accused's conduct shall not be deemed
a proximate cause to injury and the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable
doubt the non-existence of an intervening cause, in order to get a conviction.
If the accused's actions have resulted in personal injury, he faces
Dishonorable Discharge, total forfeiture of pay and allowances and confinement
for 18 months, if convicted. If no injury has resulted, the maximum punishment
includes Bad Conduct Discharge, total forfeiture and confinement for six months.