Officially, you are not allowed to join the military if you have any kind of DUI conviction on your record. This is true for all branches of the United States Armed Forces. However, there are circumstances where you may be able to join anyway.
Instead of going through several appeals and other legal loopholes, you should try and fight against your DUI charges, so they don’t affect you from the start. The best way to do this is to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Why Doesn’t the Military Accept Recruits with a DUI Conviction?
There are several reasons why the military won’t take most recruits with DUIs:
- The U.S. military has a history of excluding individuals with substance abuse problems. While DUIs don’t necessarily imply addiction, military officials commonly associate the two and get seen similarly.
- Individuals with DUIs on their records may have a suspended license or have difficulty obtaining a license, affecting suitability for military service.
- Individuals with criminal records may have difficulty obtaining security clearances.
Despite popular belief, the military isn’t looking to accept anyone and everyone just to boost their numbers. They care greatly about the quality of the recruits that apply. A DUI is often a serious enough offense that can bar you from entry into the armed forces.
What Counts as a DUI for Military Service?
The military is more strict than other employers. If you were arrested and convicted for breaking the laws outlined in the California Vehicle Code (CVC) §23152, your DUI charge will count against you. Essentially, if you:
- Were found guilty
- Pleaded No Contest to receive a reduced sentence
- Received a wet reckless conviction instead of DUI
- Were convicted, but you’ve had the DUI expunged
Your DUI will be on your permanent record, which will then get viewed by the military branch you apply to. On the other hand, a DUI will not count against you if you were found not guilty or if your conviction was later completely reversed by another court decision.
Remember, even if your case was dismissed, it could still get held against you. For specific aspects of your DUI case, it’s best to consult with your recruiter about your options.
What If My DUI Conviction Was Only for a First Offense?
Most experts agree that even if your DUI was a first offense or misdemeanor, the military still has very good reason to reject your application. If you wanted to apply to an officer candidate school, the chances of acceptance are even lower. This is true for virtually every branch of the military.
Just because your DUI conviction was your first time doesn’t mean anything. Whether it’s your first time or your second, you shouldn’t expect that any branch will simply take you. If you do decide to work things out with a recruiter, you’ll have to go through a waiver process.
How to Get a DUI Waiver Approved
You are most likely to get your DUI waived if:
- You have completed all aspects of your sentence and probation.
- Your DUI wasn’t a felony.
- No one got hurt in your DUI.
There is no hard and fast rule, however. The best thing you can do is talk to your recruiter about your DUI and ask them what they recommend. In some cases, a recruiter will take up your case and help you get your waiver approved.
Remember, what you tell your recruiter about your DUI is confidential, and they cannot share it. They are your best avenue to get your DUI waived.
Is It Hard to Get a DUI Waiver Approved?
In the past, it was prevalent for recruits with DUIs to get approved for waivers. In the recent past, this was especially true during the Gulf War of the 1990s and after 9/11. While the need for troops does not guarantee that a DUI will get waived, it does make the military much more flexible in who they accept.
Today, unfortunately, that situation has reversed. “Reduction in Force” programs (RIF) have gone into effect to help the military meet budget targets now that we have largely exited from Afghanistan and Iraq. In other words, the military has less need for troops and has rejected many waivers.
In essence, unless there is a crisis or the country is in a state of total war, there’s not a high chance that your DUI waiver will get accepted. So even if you put in a lot of effort to get your waiver accepted, ultimately, you shouldn’t expect a positive outcome.
Don’t Be Convicted of a DUI in the First Place
Even if there are waivers and appeals, the best way to apply to the military without any hindrance is not to be convicted with a DUI in the first place. Our Los Angeles DUI attorneys believe that all people deserve a second chance. One mistake shouldn’t throw your entire life off the rails.
When you retain our legal services, we will fight to the best of our ability against your charges. Our lawyers have years of experience and can handle even the toughest of cases. Don’t let a DUI ruin your chances of serving your country. Instead of simply pleading guilty, you should fight back against your charges.
Talk to Our DUI Lawyers Today
Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers are available 24/7 to assist you. Please get in touch with us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for a free consultation. Let us help you move forward with your life. Don’t hesitate to speak to us. There is no risk and no obligation whatsoever.