The U.S military provides outstanding employment and training opportunities for those who are enlisted. But, can you join the U.S military if you have a criminal record? Well, that depends on the severity of the crime, the circumstances, and if you were convicted of the charges.
Each branch of the U.S army requires potential recruits to meet rigorous moral character standards, and each must refer to the federal roadmap when reviewing applications with a criminal record.
A felony conviction can ruin your chance of joining the U.S military. However, there are circumstances when the military may relax its enlistment standards so convicted felons can serve the nation.
Why felonies matter
The military believes that your moral character plays a crucial in your military role. As such, the military sets moral standards for recruits to reduce the possibility of discipline problems and security risks.
There are felony convictions that can make it impossible to join the military, including:
- Statutory rape
- Assault with a deadly weapon, including spousal assault
- Breaking and entry
- Repeat incidents of drunk driving
- Credit card fraud
In some cases, the military will grant a recruit a waiver, allowing them to join the service despite a conviction, but you cannot get a waiver to join the military if you are convicted of any of these crimes. Additionally, regardless of the offense, a felon cannot join the military if they are on parole or probation, in jail or before their criminal case is concluded.
Better than any waiver, however, is not being convicted at all. If you’ve been charged with a crime, don’t let your military career dreams vanish without a fight.