Can You Join the Army With a Criminal Record?

If you’re like many people, you’d like to join the Army – after all, who wouldn’t want benefits and a steady paycheck?

But what if you have a criminal record? Will they even let you in?

This guide explains. 

You may be able to join the U.S. Army with a criminal record – but whether they’ll let you in depends on several factors. First, the severity of the crime matters (a lot). So does when you committed it, the circumstances under which you committed it, and what happened when you were convicted. 

The bottom line is that the Army tries to vet its new recruits. They conduct fingerprint-based background checks, and that means they’ll uncover everything you’ve ever done – and if you have felonies or even a few misdemeanors, there’s a good chance that they’ll deem you “unfit” for military service. (Sometimes juvenile crimes are okay.)

Only a recruiter can tell you whether you’re likely to get in with your personal criminal history. That’s because every now and then, the U.S. Army changes its enlistment standards, and depending on the branch’s needs, they may even offer waivers to people who have criminal records. A waiver is just what it sounds like – it waives the requirement that recruits have a clean criminal record to let people in who have committed some minor crimes in the past.

Related: Does an arrest create a criminal record?

What Should You Do if You Have a Criminal Record and You Want to Join the Army?

If you have a criminal record and you want to join the U.S. Army, you should talk to a Chicago expungement attorney to find out whether you can get your record cleared. If your record qualifies for expungement, the agencies that have your record will either destroy it or return it to you. When that happens, there’s nothing for Army investigators to find; it’s like nothing ever happened.

An expungement attorney will be able to let you know whether some or all of your criminal record can be cleared. If your record is eligible, your attorney will start preparing the right paperwork to file with the court to ask for expungement. 

Expungement can take several months – it’s a process, and your paperwork has to pass over a lot of people’s desks before it makes it to a judge. That means if you’re thinking of joining the Army soon, you should take the necessary steps to clear your record as soon as possible. 

Related: Do I have a criminal record if my charges were dropped?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Expungement or Sealing?

If you’re tired of your criminal record getting in your way. Call us right now at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below so we can talk about your case.

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