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Criminal History Waivers

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Marine Corps
Marines/Flickr

As with the other services, the United States Marine Corps and United States Navy screen applicants for "moral qualifications" (criminal history). This is done:

    a. To prevent enlistment of persons whose social habits, such as theft, arson, resistance to authority, etc., are a threat to unit moral and cohesiveness.

    b. To screen out persons who would likely become serious disciplinary problems in the Navy and Marine Corps, and who would consequently divert resources from the performance of military missions.

    c. To ensure enlistees and their parents that the enlistee will not be thrown into close association with criminals.

Applicants with no criminal convictions, fines, or periods of restraint are morally eligible for enlistment. However, the voluntary disclosure, or recruiter discovery, of any form of police/criminal involvement by an applicant may require waiver of the moral disqualification.

It's important to note here that federal law requires applicants to divulge ALL criminal history on recruiting applications, including expunged, sealed, or juvenile records. Additionally, in most states, such records are accessible to military investigators, regardless of what you have heard to the contrary.

The process begins with an interview by the Recruiter, asking the applicant about any records of arrest, charges, juvenile court adjudications, traffic violations, probation periods, dismissed or pending charges or convictions, including those which have been expunged or sealed. Providing false information, or withholding required information is a federal offense, and individuals may be tried by Federal, civilian, or Military Court. See I Cannot Tell a Lie .

If the applicant admits to an offense, or the recruiter has reason to believe the applicant is concealing an offense, or a record is indicated during the Entrance National Agency Check (ENAC), then the recruiter will request a complete criminal record from local law enforcement agencies.

Some offenses can be waived, and others cannot. Different offenses require waiver approval at different levels in the recruiting chain-of-command.

It's important to note that applicants who require a waiver ARE NOT qualified for enlistment, unless/until a waiver is approved. The burden is on the applicant to prove to waiver authorities that they have overcome their disqualifications for enlistment, and that their acceptance would be in the best interests of the Military. Waiver authorities will consider the "whole person" concept when considering waiver applications.

In general, waivers are required for:

Individuals with ten or more minor traffic offenses, six or more serious traffic offenses, ten or more Class 2 minor non-traffic offenses, six or more serious non-traffic offenses, or more than one felony are not eligible for a waiver.

Definitions and General Guidelines:

Adverse Juvenile Adjudication.

    a. Determination by a judge or jury in juvenile court proceedings that the juvenile is guilty of, or that the individual committed the acts alleged in the petition or complaint, based either on the merits of the case or on the juvenile's admission of guilt or plea of guilty, and that the determination was recorded in the court's records, and

      (1) Regardless of whether sentence was then imposed, withheld, or suspended, and,

      (2) Regardless of subsequent proceedings in the same case to delete an initial determination of guilt from court records, based on evidence of rehabilitation or a satisfactory period of probation or supervision. Examples of "subsequent proceedings" used in juvenile courts in the United States are: "expungement," "record sealing," reopening the case to change the original finding of "guilty" or "delinquency," or the plea of "guilty" or admission of the truth of the allegations in the petition to "not guilty," dismissal of the original petition, setting aside the adjudication of "delinquency." Such subsequent proceedings merely recognize rehabilitation and do not alter the fact that the juvenile committed the act for which the individual was tried.

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