If you’re like many people, you’d like to join the Illinois National Guard – but can you do that if you have a criminal record?
The answer isn’t black-and-white. Here’s what you need to know.
Can You Join the Illinois National Guard With a Criminal Record?
In most cases, the Illinois National Guard can’t take people with a criminal history. However, if you want to join the Guard and you have a criminal record, you have a few options – including criminal record expungement and asking the National Guard to let you in despite your record.
Related: Can you join the military with an Illinois criminal record?
Criminal Record Expungement and the Illinois National Guard
Some people are eligible for criminal record expungement. Expungement basically erases your criminal record. When a judge orders your records to be expunged, the agencies that have them must either destroy them or return them to you – so that means your record doesn’t exist.
Not everyone is eligible for criminal record expungement, though. It’s not about them personally – it’s because the crimes aren’t eligible or the person who has the record hasn’t waited enough time to petition the court for criminal record clearing.
What About Sealing and the National Guard?
If you don’t qualify for expungement, you may still qualify for sealing – but when your records are sealed, that simply means the general public can’t access them. Some employers, including the government (which is what the National Guard is part of) still can.
What if You Can’t Expunge or Seal Your Record?
Sometimes the National Guard allows people to enlist when they have a criminal record, but you may need a special waiver to do so. The Illinois National Guard is only allowed a certain number of waivers for recruits, and that number can change – but you have a better chance of getting a waiver if you perform well on the military entrance exam (the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB) and you’re in good shape for service.
Your best bet is to talk to a recruiter if you have a criminal record that you can’t expunge. If you can expunge your record, it’s a good idea to do that before you even talk to a recruiter.
Do You Need to Talk to a Chicago Expungement Lawyer About Your Record?
If you have a criminal record you’d like to clear up so you can join the National Guard, we may be able to help you. Call us right now at 847-920-4540 to learn more today.