Will the US Military Accept Your Application if You’ve Gotten a DUI in the Past?

The official position of every branch of the United States Armed Forces is that you cannot join the military if you have previously been charged with a DUI. Any and all criminal convictions are likely to make it difficult to get an official security clearance of any level, something that is essential for military service. Additionally, DUIs make it harder to keep or obtain a driver’s license at a later date, something that the military also may require of you. And, maybe most importantly, a DUI indicates a certain lack of judgment on your part, something that a military recruiter is likely to frown upon.

However, not all hope is lost. While it may ultimately prove futile to repeatedly challenge and appeal the US military’s denial of your applications, there may be an opportunity for you if you decide to challenge your DUI charges.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you must seek professional legal counsel immediately if you want to have any hope of joining the military. Pleading no contest to your charges or accepting a plea bargain will significantly hinder your chances of a successful application.

If it’s already too late for that and the DUI is on your permanent record, there are still legal options available to you. However, you will need to go through extra steps that applicants without a DUI charge will not be subjected to. Your DUI defense attorney may be able to assist you in pursuing these solutions.

Is it Possible That the Military Will Not Find Out About Your DUI Arrest?

While all branches of the US military – Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, National Guard, Space Force – are always in need of able-bodied new recruits, they must remain choosy when screening applicants who look to enlist in the armed forces. Most applicant hopefuls understand that every branch has its own list of enlistment criteria, such as the age, medical history, citizenship status, education, and physical aptitude of the applicant. However, all applicants must also undergo a background check for Moral Standards of Military Enlistment. Each military branch has a set list of standards for what they will and won’t allow in terms of moral character, such as past criminal offenses and/or substance abuse.

You cannot hope to hide any past criminal offenses, such as a DUI. Do not attempt to try. Any attempts to deceive the US military in your application will come back to bite you in the end. You will be in worse shape than if you were completely honest about any (potentially) disqualifying characteristics about yourself.

Can You Request a Waiver for Your DUI Conviction?

If you only have one DUI or criminal arrest on your record, it may be possible to apply for military service, provided that you seek a waiver for your DUI. In hopes of making sure your waiver is approved, the DUI charge must be at least a year old, no one was hurt as a result of your driving under the influence, it was charged as a misdemeanor and not a felony, and you have served all sentencing and probation requirements.

However, please note that simply getting your waiver approved does not automatically mean that your application will be successful. The military recruiters still may have good reason to deny your enlistment. And those who hope to join an officer’s candidate school are even more likely to be turned away. Still, there may be hope.

If you have more than one DUI charge on your record, or if other unrelated criminal charges accompany your DUI, your request for a DUI waiver is likely to be denied outright.

What Happens if You’re Already a Military Service Member Who Gets a DUI?

If you are a military service member who operates any vehicle or craft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your commanding officer can suspend your driving privileges on the military installation pending an official resolution of your intoxicated driving incident. In serious instances, the commanding officer may revoke your privileges entirely if other corrective actions fail to have the desired effect.

In cases where a military service member is charged with a DUI while on a military installation, they are likely to be suspended from driving duties while military officers examine relevant evidence before making a final decision regarding revocation. The accused has a right to request a hearing and must make this request in writing. If a hearing is asked for, the accused may hire, at their personal expense, legal counsel to defend their case.

In many cases, the US military grants commanding officers great discretionary power to suspend and revoke privileges as they see fit. Just like new applicants, longtime service members are going to be held accountable for their actions, including driving under the influence on a military base.

What is the Most Surefire Way to Submit a Successful Military Application?

Provided you meet the other requirements for age, physical fitness, and so on, the most assured way to get approved for military service and to keep military service privileges is to simply know your limit and not operate a motor vehicle when you are intoxicated. Let someone else drive – hand over the keys. Don’t drive drunk or under the influence of drugs. It could cost you your future.
Should you be charged with DUI, however, contact Confianza Legal right away for assistance.