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Can You Go Into The Military With A Criminal Record

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How To Get A Dui Waiver Approved

HOW I JOINED THE MILITARY WITH A CRIMINAL RECORD | Nick Koumalatsos

You are most likely to get your DUI waived if:

  • You have completed all aspects of your sentence and probation.
  • Your DUI wasnt a felony.
  • No one got hurt in your DUI.

There is no hard and fast rule, however. The best thing you can do is talk to your recruiter about your DUI and ask them what they recommend. In some cases, a recruiter will take up your case and help you get your waiver approved.

Remember, what you tell your recruiter about your DUI is confidential, and they cannot share it. They are your best avenue to get your DUI waived.

Eligibility For Expungement In New Jersey

If you have a criminal history in New Jersey, you may get your record expunged. Expungement essentially âerasesâ the record of your crime, so most people won’t be able to see it.

Not everyone who has committed a crime is eligible for expungement in New Jersey, however. You must meet certain criteria and go through the expungement process. If you have a Disorderly Persons or DP offenseâthe equivalent of a misdemeanorâyou must qualify based on the following requirements:

  • No more than two previous Disorderly Persons offenses or misdemeanors
  • No indictable crime or felony records in New Jersey or any other state
  • No charges currently pending against you

It must also have been at least five years since one or more of the following :

  • Your conviction
  • Date you finished paying restitution
  • End date of your parole or probation
  • End date of your completed jail or prison sentence

For felonies, the criteria are similar, but the five-year period increases to 6 years. Also, some felonies in New Jersey do not qualify for expungement at all, including robbery and aggravated sexual assault.

The Role Of Felony Waivers

Here, exceptions come in the form of felony waivers. By definition, a felony waiver is a special permission for felons applying to be in the military.

Statistically speaking, the Air Force grants fewer felony waivers than the Army. They are said to be pickier in who they recruit. This also implies that your chance of joining the Army with a felony is higher.

But felony waivers are important in all military branches. You will need them to clean out your records and qualify as an applicant. However, not all offenses can be waived. The likelihood of them being accepted also relies on the demand for military personnel.

Unacceptable Offenses

  • Involves intoxication, drug use, or possession of illicit substances
  • Is currently pending during enrollment
  • Exceeds five misdemeanors before enlistment applications

You cannot serve in the Air Force.

Other problematic offenses are serious civil convictions committed more than three times, theft, rape, and sexual crimes.

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Top Secret Security Clearance Disqualifiers

A top-secret security clearance is the highest level granted to members of the military.

Consequently, you can expect the most scrutiny and thorough background investigation of any of the three levels.

Top-secret status is described as having access to information that unauthorized disclosure could cause exceptionally grave damage to national security.

You need to provide 10 years worth of history and information for top-secret levels compared to 5 years for confidential and secret status on the Security Clearance Background Investigation Questionnaire.

After the questionnaire is completed its sent through a National Agency Check and Local Agency Check.

The Department of Defense also obtains your criminal history records and credit record.

Additionally, a Single Scope Background Investigation is conducted for top-secret clearance applicants.

An SSBI investigation checks records held by employers, courts, and rental offices.

You are also subject to an interview by an SSBI investigator along with field interviews of your references.

Interview questions range from what you like to do for fun to job history and family.

The interviewee might also ask about alcohol or drug use, personal finances, or encounters with police.

Lastly, even those with top-secret clearance sometimes need to apply for more clearance to access classified information.

If that is the case a Sensitive Compartmented Information or Special Access Programs is required for clearance.

One Example: Army Standards

What can you expect when you arrive at Army Basic Training?

Heres a good example of how one branch of military servicethe United States Armyhandles 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 which may include but is not limited to:

  • Fines
  • 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, 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 essencethere 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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What Is A Felony Waiver And When Is It Applied

Strictly speaking, felons are not eligible to serve in any of the US Armed Forces branches. However, this doesnt mean that felons will not be enlisted in the Armed Forces.

This is done via a felony waiver. A felony waiver is a special permission granted to applicants with a criminal record.

Some offenses can be waived, while others cannot. Recruiting officers themselves do not have the authority for waiving. Some waivers may be approved or disapproved by the Recruiting Battalion Commander. Others need to be reviewed by the Commanding General of the Army Recruiting Command.

However, if your criminal offense can be waived, it doesnt necessarily mean that you will be accepted into the US military.

As an applicant and a felon, it would be your responsibility to prove to the authorities that youve overcome the disqualifications for enlistment and that youve been able to reintegrate with society. In addition, you would need to prove that your acceptance is in the best interests of the Armed Forces.

Again, if your offense can be waived, it doesnt mean that it will be waived. Among the factors that may be considered during the review of your application are:

Moral Character Screening Of Credit And Criminal Background

Moral standards for enlistment deal generally with the acceptability of persons with records of court, convictions or adverse juvenile judgments. Moral character screening is the process by which recruiters review applicants credit and criminal backgrounds. The standards screen out persons who may become serious disciplinary cases and who could bring harm to the military mission. In addition to the initial screening, recruiters conduct interviews of applicants with criminal backgrounds.

The screening procedures are lengthy and extensive. The applicants convictions are assessed based on the severity of the offense. Each applicant is required to disclose incidents that resulted in charges being filed or an arrest. Additionally, to ensure equal treatment of all persons applying got enlistment, under Title 32, Chapter V, Section 571.3 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the applicants are required to disclose all sealed, expunged, or juvenile records. While under State law, the applicant with a pardon, expungement or dismissal has no record of conviction a waiver is nonetheless required to authorize his or her enlistment. Failure to disclosure this information or providing false information is considered a federal offense.

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Dui Charges Make It More Difficult To Join The Military

Joining the military after a DUI can be very difficult, but can be possible. However, all branches of the military frown on DUI convictions. Recruiters may not be interested in recruits with a DUI conviction because:

  • Criminal convictions may it harder to get security clearances necessary for military work
  • DUI convictions lead to difficulties obtaining a drivers license
  • DUIs may indicate issues with substance abuse

You should keep these concerns in mind if you wish to join the military after a DUI conviction in California. Be prepared to face additional difficulty signing up due to the criminal conviction on your record.

For a free legal consultation, call

When Military Convictions Become Spent

How To Join The Army ( The Enlistment Process, Recruiter, ASVAB, MEPS, DEPS )

How long it takes for a conviction to become spent depends on how old you were when you were convicted. If you were:

  • 18 or over it takes 12 months
  • under 18 it takes 6 months

The length of time is calculated from:

  • the date of your conviction for dismissals
  • the day on which the sentence is complete for service detentions
  • the end date for overseas and community service orders – if the order has no end date, it becomes spent after 2 years

If you were given both a dismissal and a service detention then the longer of the two spent dates applies.

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How Are Military Applicants Screened

When applying, military recruits must go through the process of a Moral Character Screening of Credit and Criminal Background this is a multiple-step background check that investigates the way in which an individuals criminal records, credit issues, and juvenile adjudication records are examined.

This process is thorough and is usually accompanied by interviews to find out the reasons, conditions, and appropriate changes that have been made since any crimes or credit concerns arose.

If you have a felony charge on your record but have been lucky enough to have your record sealed or expunged, you will still need to state in the application that you were arrested and / or convicted of these crimes due to Title 32, Chapter V, Section 571.3 of the Code of Federal Regulations remember, if you fail to declare a criminal record at this stage, you could be committing a federal offense and could potentially face further jail time for fraud .

As with all applications by felons, honesty should be your primary concern and you should thoroughly check any applications to ensure that you have not accidentally failed to declare something of importance.

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How To Join The Military With A Criminal Record

We know from the discussion above that lying to enter military service is a very bad idea. But how does the military approve those who have criminal records for a career in uniform?

The first step, as mentioned above, is to prevent any surprises for your recruiter by being as honest as possible in the screening process.

The going advice is to disclose ANY contact with law enforcement even if your records are sealed, expunged, or otherwise promised to you as being unavailable for review during a background check. It is NOT safe to leave out information about expunged or sealed criminal records in your interview or screening.

Documentation is critical in the waiver processyou should expect to gather as much supporting evidence that you deserve a waiver as possible. Some sources go as far as to advise you try to get a letter of recommendation from a prosecutor or judge involved in your casesuch affirmations can lend a great deal of weight to your case.

Before you talk to a recruiter, gather as much of this information as you can or prepare to do sodont forget there may be a limited window of time you can submit the waiver request in and if any of your sources are hard to reach, slow to reply, or need additional guidance, that will eat into valuable time that could be spent further refining your waiver request.

Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News

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Can I Join The Military If I Have A Felony Conviction

Its possible to join the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard with a felony conviction.

With that said, it is an uphill battle.

In general, the 5 branches of the military are looking for candidates with a sound moral character.

Often, a felony is looked at as a failure to meet that standard.

As discussed earlier, whether or not you can join the military with a felony conviction really depends on several factors.

They include:

  • What your felony conviction was for.
  • If you are currently on parole or probation.
  • If youre currently in jail, prison, or facing criminal proceedings.
  • Whether or not your felony conviction was as a minor or legal adult.
  • Your moral history
  • The current needs of the military.

Lets discuss some of these individually to get an idea of what is an enlistment killer and what isnt.

Can You Join The Military With A Felony

Will Martial Law Go into Effect and What Does it Mean?

Convicted criminals can, at times, join the military with a felony. After all, wanting to serve the country highlights how much a criminal offender has learned from their past and became a better person. Enlisting with the army also comes with its own benefits. For example, convicts can learn how to become disciplined and follow a strict lifestyle. In addition, army recruits enjoy a stable income and lucrative benefits. It is not a surprise, therefore, that many former criminals want to join the military with a felony.

While the army does recruit felons, there are certain obstacles that enlistment applicants may face. The military, for instance, might be concerned about safety problems that some criminal offenders may create. Moreover, the army isnt a training camp. Simply put, recruiters dont look for people who can learn to be disciplined. Instead, they want applicants that are already disciplined. Above all else, the military defines felonies and criminal offenses in its own way, regardless of state or local laws.

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Obtaining A Waiver For A Criminal Record

Pursuant to Section 571.3, the military can choose to waive certain offenses and meet the basic qualifications for enlistment. Applicants who require a waiver are not qualified for enlistment until a waiver is approved. The burden is on the applicant to demonstrate that his or her acceptance will benefit the military, regardless of his or her criminal past. If you need one of these waivers, you are not alone. Nearly 12% of all army recruits required waivers for their criminal records in order to join.

Recruiters themselves do not have waiver approval/disapproval authority. Some waivers can be approved/disapproved by the Recruiting Battalion Commander, other waivers must be approved/disapproved by the Commanding General of the Army Recruiting Command. Unless otherwise stated in the waiver document, waivers are valid for six months.

Waiver authorities will consider the “whole person” concept when considering waiver applications. Having a conviction expunged, vacated, set aside or sealed increases the chances of receiving a waiver. While you still need to disclose a cleared conviction, having it cleared shows that the court has forgiven the offense or considers your rehabilitated. Contact an attorney who specializes in record clearing to discuss your options on increasing your chances on obtaining a waiver or removing the requirement to obtain a waiver.

Types Of Military Records

World War I – Present

You can find veterans military service records from World War I to the present from the National Personnel Records Center . The NPRC houses many types of records, including Official Military Personnel Files . These files can include the Report of Separation and show a veterans service history, which may include:

  • Enlistment or appointment and separation dates

  • Duty stations and assignments

  • Awards

  • Disciplinary actions

Veterans health and medical records are located in various places, depending on their branch and date of separation. See this chart of locations of veterans medical and health records.

Before World War I

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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
  • Felony

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.

Enlisting In The Military

Can You Get A Class A Contractor License With A CRIMINAL RECORD?

Criminal record or no, all who want to enter military service are required to submit to a background check which includes questions about past legal issues. You are likely to be asked, in a recruiting office setting or something similar to it, the following question:

Have you ever been charged, cited, arrested, fined, or held in custody by a law enforcement agency or official?

Answering that question truthfully is a step closer to a successful enlistmentlying about your background doesnt help as the background investigation will uncover any official records that are accessible which may or may not include sealed or expunged records. Sealed or expunged status is not a guarantee the record wont come up in the investigationfailing to disclose these can hurt your chances at being accepted into the military.

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