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Criminal Defense

Will a Georgia criminal record keep me from serving in the military?

By December 6, 2021No Comments

If you have a criminal record in Georgia, you may be wondering if that will affect your ability to serve in the military. 

The answer is not so clear. Every branch of the military has its own set of moral standards they expect recruits to uphold. As such, each recruit and their background are reviewed on a case by case basis.

So while a criminal record does not necessarily ban you from the military, or a certain branch of the military, there are many factors that can come into play.  Most military recruiters will not consider you if you are on probation or parole.  Early termination could help your chances.

At The Frye Law Group, we help Georgia clients get their criminal records expunged or restricted, which can lead to more and better opportunities for jobs, housing, and more. While an expungement will not guarantee your acceptance into the military, we can help you do everything to prepare for your application if you have a criminal record.

The details of the crime can affect the military’s opinion

Did the crime occur in Georgia? Was it a long time ago? If the crime happened recently versus as a juvenile, that might weigh heavily on your ability to be accepted. That does not, however, mean that you will automatically be disqualified. The type of crime and circumstances surrounding the crime are crucial to the military’s decision.

The military categorizes crimes in three different ways:

  1. Non-traffic: Offenses that result in confinement that is four months or less. These are typically lower-level crimes.
  2. Misconduct: These offenses result in confinement that lasts more than four months, but less than one year, and are more mid-level, such as drug possession, theft, or DUI.
  3. Major Misconduct: Confinement for these offenses lasts one year or more for crimes such as aggravated assault, drug possession with intent to deliver, offenses with a firearm, etc. Violent crimes, kidnapping, sex offenses, and fraud are less likely to receive a waiver, though obtaining a waiver is not impossible.

Non-traffic and misconduct are typically viewed more favorably than major misconduct – though that, again, does not disqualify you completely. 

However, if current events – such as a war or active threat of war – require the military to increase the number of recruits they have, a waiver may be more accessible than it would be during other, more peaceful times.

Always be honest with your recruiter

No matter your criminal history, you must be honest and forthcoming with your recruiter. A lie will automatically disqualify you – while a thorough analysis of the crime, when it occurred, and the circumstances surrounding it can be beneficial to your case. 

Even if your criminal record is expunged or sealed, it has to be disclosed.

Take some extra steps to strengthen your case for a waiver

If you are concerned about disclosing your criminal history to your recruiter, there are additional steps you can take to strengthen your case.

Maybe you stole as a means to provide for your family. Or perhaps you had a rebellious youth as a result of a challenging home situation. 

Take the time to explain, in writing, the circumstances surrounding your crime. You can then show what you have done (or continue to do) to make it right, such as volunteering with a local non-profit focused on at-risk youth.

You can also provide recommendation letters from teachers, community leaders, ministers, and managers at work (if applicable) to demonstrate your high moral character and dedication to your community. Feel free to even ask the judge or prosecutor that charged your case for a letter of recommendation, or in some circumstances, the arresting officer. 

If you hire our team at the Frye Law Group, we will take the time to look at all of your options for improving your chances of acceptance and do our best to help you.

Contact a Georgia defense attorney for help

Here at Frye Law Group, we are proud to represent those who have served or want to serve our country. If you are worried about how your criminal background may affect your chances of joining the military,  we have the skills, resources, and expertise needed to help you determine and fight for your eligibility. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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