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Can Felons Join The Army

The Role Of Your Current Legal Status

Convicted Felon Wants To Join Army

As subtly mentioned in the second bullet point above, an equally crucial factor in whether you can join the military with a felony is your current legal status. If you are bound to civil restraints, such as probation, confinement, and parole, or serving a jail sentence and facing criminal proceedings, do not expect any of the five military branches to waive your offenses.

Acceptable Offenses

If you have committed less severe minor offenses, juvenile offenses, or misdemeanor crimes, your waiver will be considered, and you may still get to join the Air Force.

In detail, this includes:

  • Six or fewer minor traffic offenses with fines from $100 each
  • Three or fewer minor non-traffic offenses
  • Any offenses charged when you were under 18-years-old, including those expunged, dismissed, pardoned, and sealed
  • Two or fewer DWI/DUI
  • Two to four civil charges or dispositions

Offenses That Do Not Require Any Waivers

Minor convictions that do not require a waiver are driving without a license or proper seat belts, speeding, and jaywalking.

However, it is important that we do not give you false hope in this article. Receiving a waiver does not magically promise that you will get to join the Air Force with a felony. Again, your prospects depend on the demand for personnel, regardless of the military branch that you are applying for.

What Happens If You Don’t Disclose Your Criminal History

Providing false information or withholding any information about your criminal history with a military recruiter is a federal offense. You could be charged and tried under federal law or by a military court for False Statement or Fraudulent Enlistment. It’s in your best interest, therefore, to be completely truthful during your recruiter interview.

The recruiter will do a background check, and your expunged criminal offense might not appear on it. But there will also likely be a security clearance criminal records check, and expunged records will show up here.

One Example: Army Standards

Heres a good example of how the Army handles its moral conduct waiver issues. According to the Army official site, a moral waiver is necessary when an applicant comes to the recruitment process with a conviction or other adverse adjudication that may include but is not limited to:

  • Applicants who have been ordered to submit bail or collateral for a violation of any law
  • Certain expungements
  • Juvenile offenses.

In recruitment situations where these issues are present, the Army requires a waiver application and approval process. The waiver requires personal statements from the recruit giving full details of all contact with law enforcement as relevant to the waiver.

Supporting evidence, such as letters from friends and family, court documents, and other paperwork, is required to support your case. Waivers are not automatic, and review of the waivers takes time.

Recruits should know that time is of the essence. There is a limited amount of time you can be given to apply for the waiver and have it considered by an Army board. Those with serious crimes under review should know that major misconduct offenses require a General Officer endorsement, and there is an eight-week deadline for submission prior to the board convening.

You may have an easier time obtaining a waiver in the Army, Navy, or Air Force than the Marine Corps, depending on recruiting issues at the time.

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Does The Army Accept Felons

An army career is a common ambition. It is the oldest and most senior service branch of the armed forces. It offers many great benefits that come with building a solid career.

For those with criminal records, there is however something to worry about. Does the army accept felons?

This concern is legitimate. This is because the military has a moral character code. Every service branch has its requirements.

The seven branches of service include:

During recruitment, one must pass the Moral Character Screening of Credit and Criminal Background. This assessment is highly rigorous. Having a criminal record often indicates a lack of moral character.

Here we will look at what this means for felons looking to join up. But let us first consider what motivates people to pursue an army career.

Can I Enlist In The Military If I Have A Criminal Record

No. of felons OK

Having a can affect many areas of a young persons future, such as employment, education, and housing, depending on the nature of the offenses they were charged with. Another area that can be impacted is a young persons plan to join the military. It is not uncommon for a teen to go through their high school career with the intention of joining a branch of the military upon graduation. Many teens even do early enlistment, signing up in their junior year so everything will be in place when they have completed their senior year. But what happens if a person who wants to enlist in the military is arrested or already has a criminal record? Will that impact any military opportunities they were looking forward to?

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Felonies That Can Be Overlooked By The Army

Although recruiting felons into the army is not something that is done regularly, the rate at which they are recruited now has skyrocketed when compared to the past. As a felon, after applying to the military for service consideration, you will have to explain to the recruiters the kind of crime you committed in the past and so on.

However, before applying to the army, it is wise for you to find out the list of offenses that can be overlooked and those that will not allow you to gain entry. The list below gives you an idea of the offenses that can be waived:

More Waivers Now Than Before

The number of felony waivers has gone up and the Army believes its necessary. They believe the larger number of waivers is due to the way the mainstream has changed. This isnt just for felonies, but also for medical issues, such as obesity and asthma.

The amount of time that has passed since the crime also matters. For example, if you have been convicted of two or more DWI/DUI offenses, you will have to wait 12 months from the date of the last conviction.

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Felonies That Are Red

There are a number of offenses that cannot be overlooked, such as drug use, intoxication, or possession at the time of the recruiting exercise.

If you have not cleared yourself from any pending issues as at the period of enlistment, you can neither be processed nor admitted into the force. Furthermore, if you are currently under any civil restraint on probation, in confinement, or on parole, you cannot be enlisted in the army.

Also, civil felony convictions that are three and above non-traffic wrongdoings cannot be accepted for any form of waiver. If you are placed under a court conviction for the distribution, trafficking, or sale of marijuana or a controlled substance, there is no way you will be given the chance to be enlisted.

In a case where you had served in the army before and received an RE code of 4, then you will not be enlisted again. Ex-military personnel with bad conduct or dishonorable discharge also dont get waivers in the military.

3 or more convictions for driving under the influence within a 5-year period will prevent enrolment.

Honestly, the rules guiding the army recruitment process can be confusing sometimes. The best way to go about it is by contacting an army recruiter and explaining your issues. From there, you will know if you are qualified or not.

When you meet a recruiter, try as much as possible to be honest by explaining in detail your criminal history. This will be your best bet to know if you are qualified to join the army or not.

What Military Branch Accepts Felons In 2022

Could I Join The Army With a Felony?

Youve completed your sentence, and now, you wish to apply for military service in the US Armed Forces. It could be because you just want to serve your country, or maybe because you didnt find much success in other fields.

But researching, you may have discovered that felony convictions automatically disqualify you from serving in the US military. And while this indeed is true, you may apply for a waiver in order to get enlisted nonetheless.

How is it done and will it even work for you? Read on to find out.

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Can You Join The Military With A Felony Record

So, you have a felony conviction on your record? Maybe a misdemeanor? You messed up and want to move on with your life. The military looks appealing to you, but you worry that your felony will keep you from being recruited.

Our organization, Help For Felons, has all of the information you must know in order to have the best chance of joining the military with a felony.

What Your Current Legal Status Is

If you are currently on probation or parole for your felony misdemeanor, none of the 5 branches will grant you a waiver.

Additionally, if youre currently serving a sentence in jail or prison, or are currently facing criminal proceedings, the military will not grant you a waiver.

You have to be completely off of parole/probation, and not legally incarcerated at the time of application.

If you are caught lying on your application, it is immediate ground for dismissal.

With that said, it ispossibly for you to have your probation period reduced in order to join the military.

It all depends on the judge presiding over your case, and whether or not he will grant the parole reduction.

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Are You Currently Facing Criminal Proceedings

It is unlikely the Army will consider you for enlistment if you are currently awaiting trial, or even caught in the middle of a civil lawsuit until the litigation is resolved.

Typically, the Army will want you to be free and clear of any legal matter that could potentially follow you into the service. The philosophy behind a detailed criminal background check reflects the fact that your legal problems become the Armys legal problems once you enlist.

This, in turn, could affect your mission-readiness as a soldier after all, you wont be able to deploy in support of various operations if you are due in court stateside.

Your Future With A Waiver

Do Felons Make Good Employees?

Getting a waiver really is your best chance to move forward with your dreams of joining the military, though even then you may not be able to advance quite as far as you like.

Remember, there still may be issues that you face after joining the military if you have a felony conviction.

You may be limited because of issues that surround security clearances, for example, and joining with a felony does often put you at a disadvantage.

Bottom Line: if you can join, though, you can succeed. Any soldier who manages to enlist after obtaining a waiver and who performs adequately can have a successful career.

Your job is to put the felony behind you and focus on having as successful a career as possible.

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Why Join The Army

People join the army for many reasons.

These can include:

1 Desire to serve their country Many people are proud and derive personal satisfaction from serving. They want to save lives and defend their countrys interests.

2 Professional training the military offers financial support for those pursuing higher learning. This can be a big help qualifying for post-military careers.

3 Job and financial stability The army offers a competitive salary with great benefits. As a government job, you are guaranteed relative job security.

4 Benefits Besides academic support and competitive pay, the other benefits are good. There is a lifetime pension, medical cover, and provident fund.

5 Health and fitness Serving in the army practically guarantees you will be fit. One however needs to be meet weight requirements to enlist. A challenge given the high levels of obesity

6 Gain citizenship Many that join the military do so in hopes that they will earn US citizenship.

Most of these reasons make sense for felons. Being a felon makes it difficult to find work once released. Employers are often biased.

Joining the military can help in regaining their social standing and respect. It can also provide a path towards a lucrative career. A boon when you consider their limited options.

So what can a felon expect during recruitment?

Who Can Get A Waiver

There is no guaranteed right to getting a waiver, and in truth, the process is a lot more complicated than most might think.

Since you’re looking at something that’s a lot more complicated than figuring out whether you can own a crossbow, it makes sense that you should be prepared to put in a lot more work.

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Can The Military See Expunged Records

Although some employers and landlords may not be able to see your expunged criminal record, the military can. For this reason, it’s essential not to lie or conceal information during your recruitment interview. Even if you’ve had a criminal offense expunged, the military will still find out about it.

If you have an expunged criminal record, you can still enlist. Most branches of the military will require a criminal record waiver.

Criminal Record Waivers

When undergoing the process for military enlistment, the military waives some previous criminal offenses.

Offenses that require you to get a waiver for enlisting in the military

  • Six or more minor traffic violations
  • Juvenile offenses
  • Arrests, citations, charges, or being allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor
  • Pleading guilty for the criminal possession of stolen property

When you’re trying to obtain a waiver for the enlistment process, it’s essential to gather as much documentation to support your claim as possible. In some cases, a letter of recommendation from a community member with good standing or the judge involved in your case can be beneficial. If you’re planning to enlist and you know you have a criminal record, you may want to collect your evidence before you speak with the recruiter. You know they’ll ask about it, so it doesn’t hurt to come prepared.

Why Sound Moral Character Matters To The Army

Military Recruiters Target Felons in Alexandria City Jail

The Army, like all branches of the military, has strict enlistment standards covering medical and physical fitness, educational attainment and aptitude, and moral character.

The job of the Army is to maintain the security of the United States and every member of the service shoulders an immense responsibility.

For the service to function, the Army needs to be composed of men and women who will follow orders, maintain discipline and contribute positively to morale so that units function as a cohesive whole with no weak links.

Individuals who have broken the law in the past have already shown a disinclination to follow rules, and the Army is understandably wary of admitting recruits who could cause trouble and threaten the success of operations.

When youre in the Army, you have to rely on your fellow soldiers and they have to rely on you. Lives depend on this. So integrity matters a great deal.

This can be summed up as service to self or service to others.

In the military, its all about service to others. At the time you commit a crime, youre all about service to self.

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Factors That Allowed Felons To Join The Us Military Forces

First of all, the U.S. Military accepts felons, but there are critical requirements. Felons must be evaluated with the following factors:

  • Age during the felons conviction or with a juvenile felony
  • What is/are the felony conviction
  • Current status: either on probation or parole
  • Current vacancies in any Military Branch
  • Consideration if felons still have pending jail time or court proceedings at the moment

Felony waivers

To start with your military enlistment, you need to secure a waiver. It is not only for felonies but also for other law violations. Felons can acquire waivers for the offenses or crimes they committed, such as:

Felons Legal Status

Factors supporting Felons joining the army

  • Before a felon is accepted into the army, he/she must present themselves to the court and testify that they have a letter of good moral character recommendation.
  • Some military branches, such as the Air Force, will be very strict and demanding with the felon they accept in their department. They dont accept felons with criminal backgrounds.
  • There are basic requirements that the felon must successfully pass.
  • Felons must acquire a felony waiver for military, stating that they have served their sentences and can walk free as a citizen again.
  • Non-violent felons who were convicted of minor felonies only can be easily admitted to the Marines and Army departments. Also, these departments are the best to choose from because they openly support felons who want to change and protect the country.

Recruitment Of Felons Up In Us Army And Marine Corps

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By Lizette Alvarez

Strained by the demands of a long war, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps recruited significantly more felons into their ranks in 2007 than in 2006, including people convicted of armed robbery, arson and burglary, according to data released by a House committee.

The number of waivers issued to active-duty army recruits with felony convictions jumped to 511 in 2007, from 249 in 2006. Marine recruits with felony convictions rose to 350 from 208.

Over all, the numbers represent fewer than 1 percent of the 115,000 new enlistments last year in the active-duty army and Marine Corps.

Coupled with sharp increases in the number of waivers for misdemeanors, the trend raises questions about the military’s ability to attract quality recruits at a time when it is trying to increase enlistment. The army, which has suffered the most war casualties and the longest deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, faces an especially difficult challenge in attracting qualified men and women.

From Sept. 30, 2006, to Sept. 30, 2007, the army granted so-called conduct waivers for felonies and misdemeanors to 18 percent of its new recruits, an increase of three percentage points from the previous year.

Waivers for possession of narcotics, excluding marijuana, rose to 130 from 71 and for forgery to 56 from 26.

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