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What is a Moral Waiver in the U.S. Military?

Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo

Suppose you have determined that your purpose and your future are in service to your country, and you want to join the military, but you have a criminal history. In that case, you may be wondering how that will impact your eligibility. This is because a criminal history can affect your ability to enroll in the military. The good news is that depending on your circumstances and your story, you may be eligible for what is called a moral waiver.

When a prospective military member has a criminal record, a military waiver may be necessary to help them qualify for military service. 

William Bruzzo is an Orange County military defense attorney who explains more about what a moral waiver is and how it can help you enroll in the United States military.

Who Needs a Moral Waiver?

If you were ever in a situation where you had an adverse adjunction or a court convicted you of a crime, then you would not be qualified to join the military. That is, unless you are able to secure a moral waiver.

Even if the indiscretion that you committed did not result in jail time or if you were pardoned for your mistake, you will still require a moral waiver to enroll in the military. There are even instances where if you have ever put up collateral or paid money for bail as a result of a particular violation, a moral waiver may still be necessary to join the military. In essence, a moral waiver is a means to help individuals overcome a prior history of misconduct or offenses and be able to enroll in the military.

More specifically, anyone who has any of the following will need a moral waiver:

  • One major misconduct violation
  • Two misconduct violations
  • A pattern of misconduct as one misconduct and four non-traffic violations or at five or more non-traffic violations

Official Offense Codes detail the distinction between different types of misconduct. For example, major misconduct is designated for violations that are felonies or that have resulted in imprisonment for at least a year. Misconduct is designated for violations, which result in imprisonment for at least six months to one year.

Not everyone with a criminal past will be approved for service on a waiver. But, if your past misconduct was from minor infractions and if you do not have many violations in your history, you have a greater chance of success.

To apply for a moral waiver, you will have to submit your request and describe in detail what your violation was and why it happened. Including letters of recommendation from respected and trusted community leaders is helpful. After you submit your request for a moral waiver, it will be reviewed, and you will wait to hear the decision.

Speak to an Orange County Military Criminal Defense Attorney Today

A criminal record can make it harder for you to join the military, but it may not necessarily completely preclude you from enrollment. It is essential that you understand your rights and options when you choose the U.S. military as your career path. 

If you have questions about criminal violations and the military or if you are an active military service member who needs legal defense services, please call our Orange County military defense lawyer at the Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo at (714) 547-4636 to schedule a free consultation.

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