Can You Join the Army With a Criminal Record?

Updated April 17, 2017

Having a criminal record will usually disqualify you for military service. However, it is possible to appeal that finding and obtain a waiver. Once granted, waivers are valid for six months, unless you commit another offence.

Tell your story

You must tell your recruiter about all aspects of your background, including any criminal history. This includes any expunged records, juvenile records and traffic violations.


If you have five or more minor charges, one serious criminal charge, two or more misdemeanour charges, a combination of four or more minor and misdemeanour charges, or six or more traffic violations where the fine was at least £162, you'll have to undergo a review before being admitted.

Other factors

If you have paid a fine, been put on probation or entered into a first-time offender's program, among other conditions, you'll also have to undergo a review.


There are a number of conditions which cannot be waived, such as if you have any open cases against you, if you have three or more convictions for DWI, or if you have been convicted of a serious offence with three or more other offences.

Waiting time

If you're applying to enlist in the Army and you've just come off parole, probation or a suspended sentence, you must wait 30 days before seeking a waiver. If you were jailed for less than 15 days, you must wait three months, and if you were jailed for more than 15 days, the waiting period is six months.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article


About the Author