Misdemeanor Guide

Can I get in the army with a misdemeanor assault?

Waiver Requirements
When enlisting for the Unites States Army and having two, three, or four past civil convictions or any other adverse dispositions for a misdemeanor offense, a person must receive a waiver before enlistment. This waiver will be given from an approved authority, either an acting officer, a recruiting battalion member, or an executive officer.

Typical Misdemeanor Offenses
Misdemeanor offenses can be largely various and can include many different crimes. These can include assault, battery, desecration of an American flag or grave, false bomb threat, driving while intoxicated, illegal burning, harassment, stalking, malicious mischief, chemical inhaling, mailbox destruction, joy riding, indecent exposure, reckless endangerment, selling weapons, criminal trespassing, larceny, resisting arrest, vandalism, unlawful entry, and many others.

Waiver Process
An army recruiter will give an interview and ask an applicant about past arrest records, charges, traffic violations, juvenile court adjudications, probation periods, pending charges, dismissed convictions, and whether or not any charges have been expunged by the court. In this case withholding any necessary information or providing false information is a federal offense. There after an individual will be tried either by civilian, federal, or military court. A waiver will then not be granted due to falsifying information.

After admitting to an offense, the recruiter will request a full criminal history from the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Recruiters do not have the authority to approve or disapprove a waiver. This is done by the recruiting battalion commander or the commanding General of the Army Recruiting Command.

Even if an applicant had gained a waiver, he or she is not yet qualified for enlistment until the waiver has been fully approved. Waiver authorities take into consideration the applicant as a whole when deciding to approve or reject an application. If a waiver is disapproved, there is no appellate process. A person may be rejected due to moral character or the discrepancies in past offenses. A personal interview with an applicant may be required. These are done over the phone rather than in person. A suitability review team will then determine if a waiver is required despite a criminal offense disposition of the court.

Multiple Misdemeanors
Some minor misdemeanors require waivers if charged with multiple offenses. These include civil court convictions or other adverse dispositions received for six or more minor traffic offenses with fines more than two hundred fifty dollars; four or more civil court convictions or other adverse dispositions for minor non-traffic offenses; two, three, or four civil convictions or other adverse dispositions of what the Army defines as misdemeanor offenses; receiving four civil convictions for a combination of traffic offenses, non-traffic offenses, and misdemeanors; and serious offenses of any conviction or other adverse dispositions of what the Army considers to be a felony.

In the case of misdemeanor offenses, waivers are not given to those with more than four civil convictions or any other adverse dispositions towards misdemeanor offenses. The Army has several lists of what it considers offenses. These can be more minor than state charges, but if combined and in multiples, waivers will not be granted.

See also:
Joining the Army External link (opens in new window)