Can I join the Military despite having a criminal record? We get this question asked many times. A gutsy man or woman wants to serve the country through military service, but he/she has a criminal record to their name. How will this affect their acceptance into the United States Armed Forces? In total U.S. Military comprises the Army, Army National Guard, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and U.S. Coast Guard. Every branch has a separate set of moral character requirements and everyone, should adhere to the federal law as it relates to recruits with criminal records.

So, to answer the question directly that - What Military Branch Accepts Felons? - one can say that the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines have moral character standards that should be met. But the good news is that having a criminal record does not automatically bar you from military service. All that’s required is that those who are applying with a criminal record should procure a “Criminal Record Waiver”.

Principally, criminal record waivers can be used for certain types of offences, subject to certain limited restrictions, such as:

#Minor Traffic Violations

# Minor Non-Traffic Felonies

#Juvenile Offenses

#Misdemeanour Offenses

A waiver isn't needed in the event that you were simply detained and not charged. A waiver is additionally not needed if the charges were eventually dismissed without finding guilt.

Felony Offenses Pose the Greatest Difficulty In Obtaining Waivers

Felony offences are the biggest hurdle in obtaining a waiver. The military defines a “felony” offence in their own way. The federal definition of a felony may differ from the definition in your state of conviction. Oftentimes, there may be a way to lower your felony offence to a misdemeanour, which may make a simpler way to recruitment.

The military has its own criteria it follows when a decision is made, to whether approve or deny a criminal record waiver. It has a fixed procedure it generally goes through when, working out whether or not to recruit a person who is applying with a record waiver. Certain factors are taken into account and in the event that you are denied, there is no chance to appeal. It is critical to know precisely what you are doing if you are applying to the U.S. Military with a criminal record.


To say it, in a nutshell, anyone who wants to enter the Armed Forces should possess a good moral character. However, those sentenced for crimes may ask for a waiver to allow their selection.

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