Step 7: Complete the process
Each applicant must meet rigorous moral character standards. In addition to the initial screening by the recruiter, an interview covering each applicant's background is conducted at the MEPS. For some individuals, a financial credit check and/or a computerized search for a criminal record is conducted. Some types of criminal activity are clearly disqualifying; other cases require a waiver, wherein the Service examines the applicant's circumstances and makes an individual determination of qualification. Moreover, applicants with existing financial problems are not likely to overcome those difficulties on junior enlisted pay. Consequently, credit histories may be considered as part of the enlistment decision.
Basically, the more you do and/or the more severe the crimes, the less likely you will be able to get in. If you are looking for a job with a high-level security clearance, any crimes whatsoever are bad news. As for credit trouble, avoid it: you will not be making tons of money in the military (at first anyway)!
Legal and financial events in your past can be waivered, but you need to mention them to your recruiter! Remember, there is no penalty for talking about your past with a recruiter. Things are always kept confidential. Read on to find out more about how run-ins with the law can affect your joining the military.
Here is what the military officially has to say about moral standards of enlistment:
Persons entering the Armed Forces should be of good moral character. The underlying purpose of moral character enlistment standards is to minimize entrance of persons who are likely to become disciplinary cases or security risks or who disrupt good order, morale, and discipline. Moral standards of acceptability for service are designed to disqualify the following kinds of persons:
Individuals under any form of judicial restraint (bond, probation, imprisonment, or parole).
Those with significant criminal records.
Persons convicted of felonies may request a waiver to permit their enlistment. The waiver procedure is not automatic, and approval is based on each individual case. One of the considerations in determining whether a waiver will be granted is the individual's ability to adjust successfully to civilian life for a period of time following his or her release from judicial control.
In processing waiver requests, the Military Services shall require information about the "who, what, when, where, and why" of the offense in question; and a number of letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's character or suitability for enlistment. Such letters must be from responsible community leaders such as school officials, ministers, and law enforcement officials.
Those who have been previously separated from the Military Services under conditions other than honorable or for the good of the Service.
Those who have exhibited antisocial behavior or other traits of character that would render them unfit to associate with military personnel.
Examples of potentially disqualifying legal situations:
Civil Court Convictions/Dispositions waivers (other than a felony)
Disqualification--A waiver is required for any applicant who has--
1. Received a civil court conviction or other adverse dispositions for six or more minor traffic offenses where the fine was $100 or more per offense.
2. Received three or more civil convictions or other adverse dispositions for minor nontraffic offenses.
3. Received 2, 3, or 4 civil convictions or other adverse dispositions for a misdemeanor offense.
4. Received a total of three civil convictions or other adverse dispositions for a combination of minor non traffic and misdemeanor (1 misdemeanor and 2 minor non traffic).
5. Has received 1 conviction or adverse disposition for a DUI/DWI
6. Any offense with a fine of $100 or more, excluding court cost and including traffic offenses.
7. Any offense where confinement was ordered, regardless of suspended sentence or deferred disposition.
8. Any offense regardless of disposition (other than "not guilty") that involve contributing to the delinquency of a minor, spouse or child abuse and any sex related crime. Also any offense under chapter 4 that is listed as a misdemeanor.
A waiver is required for any applicant who has--
1. Received a conviction or other adverse disposition for a felony offense.
2. Received two convictions or adverse dispositions for driving while intoxicated, under the influence, or while impaired due to substance abuse, alcohol, drugs, or any other condition that affected judgment or driving ability. Consider without regard to technical/legal definition or term used by the State, county, or country in which the applicant committed the offense.
3. Applicants who have entered a plea of "Nolo Contendere" that was accepted by the court despite later processing in the same case to permit dismissal, expungement, amnesty, pardon, or clemency based on any of the following are considered to have a conviction:
Absence of later violations.
Evidence of rehabilitation.
Satisfactory completion of a period probation or parole.
4. Any other legal appeal that does not change the original finding on its own merit.
5. Applicant who, as a condition for any civil conviction or adverse disposition or any other reason through a civil or criminal court, is ordered or subjected to a sentence that implies or imposes enlistment into the Armed Forces of the United States is not eligible for enlistment unless-
The condition is removed by the same or higher authority imposing sentence.
The condition is removed by virtue of expired period of sentence.
The condition is over 12 months from imposition and the court, city, county, or State no longer obligates the applicant to this condition. http://www.military.com/Recruiting/Content/0,13898,rec_step07_DQ_law,,00.html