The Law Dictionary

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Joining the Army with a 1st DUI misdemeanor and a wavier

Many legal experts stated that the military takes DUI convictions very seriously, regardless of what and how the military is often portrayed in the media.  Coupled with other background information on the recruit, a DUI conviction can often be a reason for rejection.  Most non-experts said “yes”.  All of those who were in this situation when they joined said, “Yes.”  The stated cautions and qualifications, though, were many.  Everyone with the bad experience stated that the applicant had to be fully done with the court – fines, jail time, hearings, classes, and community service, whatever the obligations were that the court penalized the accused.  Otherwise, none of the services would even consider the applicant.  Following completion all of the court stuff, some said that only the Army would consider the applicant because of the recentness of the court actions.  Each one did say to at least talk with one or more recruiters for the service the applicant favored.  If the applicant was hoping for a shot at Officer Candidate School (OCS), even the experts, some service recruiters themselves, said that there was very little chance of getting into OCS.  No one implied or stated that there would be any needed “wait time” before the Army or other service would consider the candidate for regular ranks other than OCS.  Some recruiters recommended joining the regular Army, serving for three years, then, if wanted, seeking OCS.  Some recruiters implied that the circumstances around the applicant’s DUI and how that person conducted his or her self during the proceedings and throughout the working off of the penalties would be strongly considered in the applicant’s evaluation.  A person who was willing to accept the responsibility and took care of things quickly and efficiently is the type of person the military was willing to take in.  That person had integrity, a highly desired trait.  However, the recruiters also stated that an applicant that the Army accepted under that person’s recent situation would have to be on best behavior because the military did not want to harbor undesirable personnel that would only be a long history of trouble.  This likely meant that the Army would discharge the unwanted recruit if it deemed it best for the service.

Some legal experts with military experienced said the same thing about how a potential military candidate conducted his or her self through this bad time would speak loudly during military recruitment.  These experts also stated that comments by the judge, verbally or written, if possible, would also have heavy weight for or against the recruit.

But, here is something that was subtle, only pointed out by a few experts and people who experienced it.  If there is probation, the recruit will not be accepted until that probation is completed.  Also, if this probation is reduced so that the person can be recruited by the service sooner, it automatically disqualifies that person from being recruited.  Apparently, in some instances, an arrangement can be worked out between the military and the person’s parole officer, but there was no clear information on this, just that some people had experienced this.