If you’re thinking about joining the military but you have a criminal record in the state of Indiana, you’re probably wondering how much your record will affect your chances at getting into the branch you choose. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, you need to know that expunging your criminal record or getting a waiver from the military maybe the only ways you’re allowed to join. This guide explains.
Can You Join the Military With a Criminal Record in Indiana?
Each branch of the military has its own enlistment requirements. Some branches are happy to accept people who have criminal histories, provided that those criminal histories meet certain guidelines. Further, each military branch has the option of changing its requirements. For example, if the Marine Corps turns you down this month but needs more Marines next month, they may loosen their enlistment requirements to accept people who have criminal records.
But often, the only way to join any branch of the military with a criminal history is to get a waiver from that branch.
Military Recruitment Requirements for Criminal Records
Because every branch of the military has its own requirements, your best bet is to talk to a recruiter in the branch you choose to determine whether you qualify for enlistment. Remember, even if you don’t qualify for enlistment in one branch, you may qualify to enlist in another. There’s nothing stopping you from talking to multiple recruiters from different branches to find out about your options.
Military recruitment requirements for people with criminal records can change quickly. For example, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, each branch changed its enlistment standards, with some accepting people who had generally serious crimes on their records. That’s because the military needed to fill its ranks quickly, so it was more willing to accept people who hadn’t expunged or cleared their criminal records.
What is a Waiver?
A waiver is the military’s way of saying, “Yes, we understand that you have this situation, but it’s okay. We’ll let you join anyway.” however, a recruiter can’t simply give you a waiver. They must plead your case to a higher-level official by filling out the appropriate forms and explaining why you deserve to join the military despite your criminal record. If the higher-level official agrees, they’ll sign the waiver and your recruiter can let you join.
Does Expungement Help Your Case for Joining the Military?
Although the military can still see expunged records, the fact that you went through the process and obtained an expungement from the state of Indiana may help you when it’s time to join. You’ll still need to tell your recruiter that you have a criminal record, even if it’s been expunged, but the expungement may work in your favor.
Related: Indiana’s second-chance law
Can You Join the Military Without Expungement?
The only way you can join the military without expunging your criminal record in the state of Indiana is to get a waiver from your recruiter. See the earlier section, “What is a Waiver?” for more information.
Why Should You Hire an Attorney for Indiana Expungement?
Because expungement requires a significant amount of paperwork, and because errors in the paperwork can delay your case (or worse, result in a denial), you may find that it’s in your best interest to hire an attorney to expunge your Indiana criminal record. Many people prefer to work with a lawyer because they don’t have to fill out and file extensive paperwork in the appropriate jurisdictions. Instead, they leave the matter with their attorneys and let their attorneys update them as the case moves through the court system. Essentially, hiring an attorney is a lot less work than filling out and filing expungement documents is.
Do You Need to Talk to an Indiana Expungement and Sealing Attorney?
If you’re ready for a fresh start, we may be able to help. Call us at 317-647-5476 or fill out the form below for a free consultation on expungement. We’re here to answer your questions and get you the fresh start you deserve.