If you had dreams of joining the military and serving your country, being convicted of a felony could substantially impact your future goals. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, there could be a way for your dream to come true. If you or a family member is interested in joining the military but are concerned about a felony conviction, contact an experienced Salt Lake City federal defense lawyer today. Overson Law, PLLC understands how a felony conviction can affect the career path of a person, and we are here to help you manage your goals. Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson is here to explain whether a felony conviction can prevent a person from joining the military.
How to Join the Military with a Felony
It is possible for a person with a felony conviction to join the military. However, there are a number of limitations to the ability to join the military with a felony. For example, if you committed an offense that the military considered inexcusable, then you will be unable to enlist.
The following is a list of requirements for a person that wishes to join the military with a felony conviction.
The Nature of the Felony Conviction
As mentioned, there are certain types of felony convictions that will make a person ineligible for service in the U.S. military. If you committed any of the following offenses, you may not be permitted to enlist to a branch of the military:
- A conviction for trafficking a controlled substance even if the conviction was marijuana
- Three or more driving under the influence convictions within a five-year timeframe
- The commission of murder, involuntary manslaughter, or aggravated assault
- A conviction for arson, embezzlement, grand theft, rape, and any related sex crimes
It is important to note that these restrictions can vary depending on the branch of the military that a person wishes to join.
Additionally, if you were convicted of a felony while you were a juvenile, this will also be considered in your application. Many people believe that since juvenile convictions are eventually expunged when a child reaches the age of adulthood, they do not have to disclose the existence of a previous conviction. However, high-ranking law enforcement officials and the military can view a juvenile conviction on a person’s record even after the conviction was expunged. As a result, you should not attempt to hide a conviction from the military as it could affect your application.
Felony Status of Applicant
If a person was paroled or placed on probation for a felony offense, this can affect their ability to enlist. To join the military with a felony on your record, you must obtain a waiver that permits you to enlist. If an applicant is still dealing with a felony conviction either through probation or parole, they will be unable to receive a waiver.
However, it may be possible to gain assistance to decrease the amount of time you are on probation so that you could seek a waiver to enlist.
Obtain a Waiver
If your felony conviction is one that could be overlooked by a branch of the military, you can begin the process of enlistment. Beware that some branches will have stricter requirements than others. For example, the Marines may lower the threshold for entry in situations where the country is at war or when the country lacks sufficient military strength.
Once you receive a waiver from the branch you wish to join, you should speak with any credible parties willing to provide you with a letter of recommendation. This letter should discuss the character traits that make you worthy of a position in the U.S. military.
Next, you will be required to undergo a review for suitability to serve. If this process feels daunting and complex, our firm can help you get started.
You should also be aware that convictions for misdemeanors are unlikely to affect your eligibility substantially. However, if the offense places a question mark on whether you possess the moral character needed to serve, it could be a serious issue.
Contact an Experienced Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you or a family member wants to join the military but has a criminal record, contact an experienced Salt Lake criminal defense attorney. At Overson Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to providing you with the unique legal representation that you deserve to handle your legal issue. Our firm has worked with residents across the State of Utah, and we would be proud to work with you. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287, or contact us online.