The military is very strict on criminal records, including DUI charges. It is very important to disclose any and all run-ins with the law when applying for enlistment. Even if you are acquitted of civilian charges in court, the military may pursue their own punitive actions – which could involve a court martial. Lear more about eligibility for military service with a DUI.
1. You can’t join the military if you’ve been convicted of a DUI
Generally speaking, most experts agree that it is unlikely that a person will be accepted into the military with a DUI conviction on their record. This is because the military values their recruits and they do not want them to be a risk to themselves or others. Criminal records may also have an impact on one’s ability to obtain a security clearance, which is necessary for some military jobs.
Most branches of the military have a zero-tolerance policy regarding DUIs. This means that they will not allow you to join if you’ve been convicted of this crime in the past, even if the conviction was several years ago.
This is because service members spend much of their time operating vehicles, aircrafts and vessels. It would be dangerous and inconsiderate for them to do so if they were under the influence of alcohol. The only way that you can join most branches of the military with a DUI is to obtain a waiver, which is difficult to do.
2. You can join the military if you’ve been convicted of a DUI
In many cases, a DUI does not disqualify someone from joining the military. However, different military branches will look at your individual case and make a decision accordingly. For instance, the Marines have very high standards and selectivity, so it’s highly unlikely that they will accept someone who has been convicted of a DUI. But if you’re interested in serving your country, you can still apply for a waiver and prove that your DUI was an isolated incident and that you have made positive changes to your lifestyle since your conviction.
Another branch that may overlook your DUI is the Navy, but they will require you to get a waiver and ensure that all aspects of your probation and DUI treatment have been completed before allowing you to join. However, if your DUI conviction includes aggravating characteristics, was a felony, or was recent, the Navy will definitely not consider you for service.
3. You can join the military if you’ve been convicted of a DUI
Depending on the circumstances, some military branches may overlook a DUI conviction or arrest. But you must apply for a waiver, which can be difficult to get approved. Waivers are typically granted if the DUI is at least a year old, no one was hurt as a result of the offense, and if all aspects of your probation have been fulfilled. The DUI must also be classified as a misdemeanor, not a felony.
The Army tends to be the most lenient when it comes to DUIs, but they are still not likely to hire someone with an outstanding criminal record. Recruiters will screen applicants thoroughly during the MEPS process and will consider all relevant factors, including physical qualifications, moral standards, and fingerprints. However, due to budget cuts and reduced need for new personnel, it is becoming increasingly difficult for military applicants with a DUI on their record to receive waivers and get through the MEPS process.
4. You can join the military if you’ve been convicted of a DUI
While it is common to think that a DUI criminal conviction will disqualify you from joining the military, this is not necessarily the case. However, the military takes very seriously all run-ins with the law and will conduct a thorough background check on every recruit. It is important to be honest about any prior criminal convictions, including DUIs, and to show that you have made significant positive changes in your life since your DUI.
The military is not looking to enlist anyone that is likely to disrupt the unit and cause problems with discipline and morale. Additionally, DUIs may make it difficult to obtain a security clearance, which is necessary for many positions in the military. This is why it is important to work with an experienced Virginia DUI lawyer to help you fight your DUI charges and avoid a conviction.