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Could a civilian offense end your military career?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2021 | Military Law

Those serving in the military have to protect their career at every turn. If you make a mistake on base, you can face military justice and possibly a court-martial. If you get arrested for a mistake made off of the base or during your free time, you might face criminal charges as a civilian. 

Often, civilian criminal charges can lead to secondary consequences for those in the military. However, in certain situations, a civilian conviction could effectively end your military career. When is your job in the military at risk some because of a criminal charge?

When you’re charged affect your right to legally possess firearms

You may already know is that a dishonorable discharge could affect your ability to own a firearm in the future. However, civilian criminal charges can also affect your right to own or legally handle a firearm. 

A conviction with certain criminal offenses could make the possession of a firearm a crime under federal law. These offenses include any kind of domestic violence conviction. The same rule also applies to those subject to a domestic violence restraining order. 

Although some people think that if they plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge or another reduced offense, the reality is that any misdemeanor or felony offense involving domestic violence could be grounds for the permanent loss of your Second Amendment right to bear arms. Those consequences could mean drastic changes to your military career plan or even an early end to your service. The law specifically removed the previous exemption that applied to military service members and police officers. 

Understanding the severity of civilian criminal charges and responding to them appropriately can help you protect your military career.