A criminal record will follow you for the rest of your life. It will also adversely impact your ability to take full advantage of opportunities other people have, such as career options, renting property, and the ability to receive personal loans. A common question people have is how a criminal record will affect their ability to enlist in the military. According to our Maryland expungement attorney, the answer is – it depends. Whether you can join the military with an expunged record depends on the nature of the offense and when it occurred. At the Law Office of Randolph Rice, we are committed to helping patriotic citizens forge a career with our nation’s Armed Forces.
The United States Armed Forces offers careers in six branches of service – the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Army National Guard, and the United States Coast Guard. Each branch has specific requirements regarding its recruiting criteria. However, to enlist in any branch, a potential service member must undergo a moral character screening.
A moral character screening is used to determine the eligibility of applications that have criminal records. A recruiter will thoroughly examine a person’s criminal record and credit history. The screenings have a reputation of being both lengthy and extensive, including reviewing your criminal record in detail. During the screening, an applicant is expected to disclose their arrests, charges, and convictions. This disclosure also includes any offenses that were expunged.
In Maryland, you are able to expunge or eliminate certain events from your record. If eligible, a person could expunge arrests, charges, and specific convictions listed under Maryland law. Many people who have had their record expunged believe the moral screening will not present any problems. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Legally, when a conviction or arrest is expunged, it no longer exists. This means it is not available to be publicly viewed in police records, court documents, and most background checks. However, the United States military views expungements differently. Under the Code of Federal Regulations, an applicant enlisting in the military must disclose all expunged, sealed, and juvenile records.
If your expunged record somehow does not come up during the screening, it will undoubtedly come up during your security clearance criminal background check. Failing to provide information concerning your record or providing false or misleading information could result in a federal charge under Article 83 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Despite having to disclose an expungement during the moral screening, you could still be eligible to enlist. If you still have an expugnable offense on your record, you should have it cleared before attempting to join the military. Therefore, if you are seeking a career with the Armed Forces and have a criminal record, you should contact our experienced Maryland expungement attorney to determine if your offenses could be expunged.
Having a criminal record does not automatically bar you from enlisting in the military. In some situations, you might be eligible to receive a Criminal Record Waiver. A Criminal Record Waiver is a request to enlist despite your criminal record.
Generally, a waiver will be required for a number of reasons. Applicants with six or more traffic offenses with fines of $100 or more will need a waiver. Additionally, if you were a juvenile at the time of the crime, were arrested, charged, plead guilty to a misdemeanor, or were guilty of criminal possession of stolen property, you would need to have a waiver to be permitted to enlist. In some situations, though rare, it is possible to obtain a waiver if you have a felony conviction.
Every case where a criminal record is involved will be reviewed on its own merits. A recruiter will examine various factors to determine if your record will disqualify you from service. For example, a recruiter will look to determine if you have adjusted to civilian life following your sentence, how long ago the offense occurred, your age at the time you were charged and whether the crime was violent in nature. One of the factors that will be considered is whether or not your offense was expunged or not. Our Maryland expungement lawyer can assist you with having your record cleared.
It is essential to understand that an expungement does not mean you will be granted a Criminal Record Waiver. However, having our Maryland expungement attorney work to clear your record will increase your chances of receiving one. If you allow expugnable offenses to remain on your record, the odds of being able to enlist will dramatically decrease.
The expungement process is usually viewed as evidence that you have worked towards rehabilitation. Our Maryland attorney highly recommends having your record expunged to the extent possible if you wish to pursue a career in the military.
Enlisting in the military is a way many individuals choose to serve their country. Your ability to join the United States Armed Forces could be in jeopardy if you have a criminal record. Fortunately, having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from service. Our experienced Maryland expungement attorney is dedicated to helping patriotic citizens realize their dream of servicing in the United States military. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free, confidential consultation to review your options to have your record expunged.