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Will a DUI Bar Me from Joining the Military?

Are you dreaming of a military career? Do you want to join the Armed Forces so you’ll learn a valuable skill, or earn money for college? If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence, you’re probably concerned about how a DUI conviction would affect your ability to join the military – this is a valid concern!

Potential enlistees know that their chances of getting into the Armed Forces are best when they have a nonexistent criminal record. So, what if they are convicted of DUI? Can they still enlist? It depends. Considering the fact that national security is at stake, the military is very careful about screening potential recruits.

That doesn’t mean you’ll never get in if you made mistakes in the past, but your ability to be accepted in the military will depend on the severity of your charges, how recent they are, and what type of corrective action you have taken. You may need a waiver to get in. However, certain convictions will definitely disqualify you from joining the military.

The Military Takes DUIs Seriously

The military is very serious about DUIs, especially if they are recent. If a recruit’s background check is less than satisfactory, a DUI can lead to a rejection. Generally, a recruit should be completely finished with their jail time, community service, DUI classes, probation, and other court-ordered penalties before applying.

If you’re considering joining the military, our advice is to speak with a recruiter from the service you’re interested in and see what they have to say. If you’re hoping to one day attend Officer Candidate School (OCS), many experts say there is little chance of being accepted with a DUI on your record. However, some recruiters recommend serving in the Army for three years, and then if you’re interested trying for OCS.

How You Handle Your DUI Matters

If you’re convicted of DUI, how you conduct yourself from that point forward will be important to the military, as your efforts toward doing what the court tells you to do and rehabilitation will be closely scrutinized.

If you show that you accepted responsibility and took care of your court-ordered penalties quickly, your chances of being accepted are higher. Be aware that if you’re accepted in the military after a DUI conviction, you must be on the best behavior because they will not want to keep you if you are not holding yourself to the highest standards of conduct.

Also, any comments by the judge, whether written or verbal could weigh heavily on your recruitment decision, so you want the judge to see that you’re doing everything within your power to comply with his or her orders.

Related: Will a DUI Get Me Kicked Out of the Military?

If you were recently arrested for DUI and desire to join the military, the best thing to do is fight your charges and try and avoid a conviction in the first place. Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to get started! All of our first consultations are free.