In observance of Veteran’s Day today we will discuss issues that college students who may want to enlist in the Military may face after an arrest. With Military enlistment for college students and recent college graduates on the rise, this topic is even more important to consider if you are a college student with an arrest in your background.
Normally, after a college student is arrested the first issue on their mind is their “record” and how the arrest and disposition (outcome) of the criminal case will effect their “record.” The best outcome you could hope for after an arrest would be a complete dismissal of the criminal charges. Many times first time offenders are offered a “pretrial diversion program” which may result in a dismissal. You can read more about pretrial diversion and college students in my post about this topic here. If the charges are dismissed in the eyes of the law you are not guilty and have no “criminal record”. For most purposes a dismissal of the criminal will not prevent a college student from pursuing their career of choice – even if they have to obtain a professional license in the future. There are always exceptions.
Unfortunately, in the world of military recruiting the outcome of the criminal case really doesn’t matter all that much. As soon as the college student is arrested that is counted against the college student by the military when determining if they are eligible to enlist. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if the charges are dismissed and expunged or the college student pleads guilty and has a criminal record. Any and every arrest (even traffic tickets which are not criminal) will factor into a college student’s eligibility to enlist in the military.
Many arrests and criminal charges can be “waived” from barring the potential military enlistee. But, will require an application to a superior officer by you in the enlistment process. Whether such a waiver will be granted depends on the charges, the circumstances and the specific branch of the armed forces because each has different criteria. Some more serious charges will be a complete bar to enlistment.
The bottom line is any criminal arrest for a college student considering enlisting in the service is dangerous and should be checked into immediately as it may seriously effect a future in the military.