Drug Convictions and the Armed Forces

The general rule of thumb is that if you want to join the Armed Forces, you should have a criminal record free from drug convictions. Of course, we are all prone to mistakes, and the Armed Forces realize that. Even if you have prior drug-related convictions, you may be able to join the military.

Ultimately, your eligibility for the military will depend on what crimes you committed, the severity of the crimes, and your number of convictions. Even if you do not initially qualify based on these criteria, you may become eligible to serve in the military if you apply for certain criminal waivers.

What Drug Crimes Must Be Disclosed to Recruiters

When you begin the recruitment process, your recruiter will ask you for your personal information. Among this information will be your criminal record, including your drug charges. Unlike in other professions, the Armed Forces require applicants to disclose:

  • Expunged crimes
  • Juvenile convictions
  • Pending charges

Failure to truthfully disclose any and all information about your criminal record is considered a federal crime, and you may face prison if convicted of lying to a military recruiter about your criminal history.

Drug Crimes and Waivers

An individual will be required to request a waiver for his or her drug crimes when he or she has:

  • Two or more misdemeanor offenses
  • A felony conviction

It is important to note that requesting a waiver will not guarantee that a waiver will be granted. Military personnel will grant waivers based on the severity of the drug crime in question. They may also take into account whether you may be at risk for committing another drug crime.

Increasing the Chances of Being Granted Waivers

The more that an individual can work to clear his or her name, the more likely that he or she will receive a waiver for his or her drug crimes. An individual may clear his or her name by having drug convictions:

  • Sealed
  • Expunged
  • Vacated

Though individuals are required to disclose cleared crimes to Armed Forces recruiters, having the court forgive them for their crimes is usually considered a positive sign.

Contact Us

If you have been convicted of a drug crime and wish to join the Armed Forces, you may not have as difficult of a time joining as you may think. Contact the Dallas criminal defense attorneys of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter today at (214) 845-7007 to find out what you can do to join the military.


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