The branches of the United States military often view a drug conviction as a disqualification for enlistment. As a practical matter, whether the military will allow a person convicted of a drug crime to enlist depends upon the branch of the military, the nature and age of the conviction, the applicant’s rehabilitation, and (perhaps most importantly) whether that branch of the service is failing to meet its enlistment quotas. With these factors in mind, it is important to consult with an attorney who can mitigate the potential penalties associated with a conviction including those
Impact of a Conviction
As a general rule, a conviction for distributing or trafficking in illicit drugs will render a prospective enlistee ineligible for military service. A conviction (or even a charge) of simple possession will probably result in the potential enlistee’s referral for drug screening. Even an admission to the recruiter of past drug use will probably result in a screening.
If the screening reveals experimentation with marijuana but no current use, enlistment will likely be allowed. If the screening reveals current drug use, frequent past use of marijuana, or past use of “hard” drugs, enlistment will likely be denied.
Drug Use History
An individual with a drug use history, including a record of drug convictions, who wants to enlist can apply for a moral waiver. Each branch of the service has the ability to issue moral waivers, even for individuals with felony drug convictions. Their willingness to issue moral waivers generally depends upon their staffing needs at the time a prospective enlistee applies for a waiver. If you have a drug conviction and want to enlist in the military, talk to a recruiter for the branch that interests you about that branch’s current policy regarding moral waivers.
Steps to Take If Accused
If you plan to enlist in the military, but you have a pending drug charge, you need a criminal defense attorney who can help you deal with that charge. Do not hesitate to contact a Lubbock drug lawyer from Hamilton, Hull & Byrd to discuss your case.