Can you Join the Military if you have a Criminal Record?


If you’re like many people who are considering joining the military, you’re wondering whether you can join the military with a criminal record.  There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this question, but here’s what you need to know.


If you want to enlist in the United States Military, your criminal and moral history will be examined. Military investigators are permitted to access these records in most states, so it is important to be forthcoming about all past criminal offenses.  This includes juvenile wrongdoings and any crimes that were sealed or expunged.


If a recruiter finds your criminal background to be questionable, you will have to participate in a suitability review to determine if a waiver is required.  Each branch of the military differs on how they handle a recruit with a criminal background.  A team will evaluate whether or not you are fit to serve in the Military.  They will consider:


  • How many offenses you have;
  • What types of offenses you have;
  • Your age at the time you committed the offense;
  • How long its been since you committed the offense and your behavior since the offense was committed

If a waiver is required, you will not be permitted to enlist until that waiver is granted.

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