Can You Join The Navy With a DUI?

Alcohol – Behind The Wheel

Adjudicated definition – “The completion of a legal process by which an arbiter or judge reviews evidence and argumentation including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants to come to a decision which determines rights and obligations between the parties involved.” For the purposes of enlistment, if your charges are disposed with ANY condition, it will be considered a guilty finding and will be subject to, if otherwise qualified/required, a waiver by the proper approval authority. Example – a prosecutor tells you your charges will be dropped if you write a “letter of apology,” the condition requirement of having to write the letter is considered an adverse adjudication.

Behind the Wheel (BTW) definition – Alcohol and/or drug incidents while you were BTW of a motorized vehicle such as driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving under the influence (DUI), operating under influence of alcohol (OUIL), driving while alcohol impaired (DWAI), etc. There are even circumstances where being adjudicated for “open container” could be considered a BTW offense. Example – you are under the legal drinking age, you are pulled over and found to have a trace of alcohol, not even close to enough to be guilty of DWI, you will be considered to have a BTW for enlistment purposes.

With the definitions out of the way, here is the meat: If you have a BTW conviction, you must wait a mandatory period of one year from date of original offense (the day you were given a ticket or arrested) before you can be gained as an accession onto active duty or affiliated into the Navy Reserve. The waiting period of one year is NOT waiverable.

Any more than two BTW adjudications (a single BTW is a CO NRD waiver; two BTWs require a waiver from the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command) and you are not eligible for enlistment into the United States Navy, there are no waivers authorized. I suggest to you; if you have more than two that you seek help if you haven’t already. There is no excuse for getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after you have been drinking; you’re putting your life and the lives of others at risk.

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233 Responses to “Alcohol – Behind The Wheel”

  1. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Whether or not a charge is listed in your personnel record is irrelevant. All charges that you have had since birth must be listed in your application. The DUI (I assume it is the only charge you have had in your life) must receive waiver consideration — there is no way around that. Take your discharge paperwork from the Guard and all other DD-214 paperwork you have to the recruiter; he/she can review it and they can have you fill out the police record check forms so they can review your court records, etc. and he/she can then tell you what your chances are. Your status as either prior service or non-prior service will matter, too (that is why you need to bring all the paperwork you have showing how much active duty time you have).

    Whether or not the reserve will sign the conditional release form is strictly up to them, but you must have it in order to start processing for the Navy (or any service).

  2. Michael says:

    My name is Mike, I recieved a DUI in a June, I am 20 years old and am currently in my Junior year of college. Since then I have really straighten my act up and have gotten involved at my school though community service projects and becoming close with my faith. Ive always wanted to join the military and plan on joining after graduation in may of 2015, are my chances good moving forward getting into the military?

  3. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Once the one year mandatory period passes from your date of arrest, and as long as all of the court’s requirements are completed/paid, and as long as you are otherwise fully qualified, then a waiver is possible.

  4. Timothy says:

    Hi Sir,

    My story is similar to that of Chad’s on the previous page. I was arrested for a DWI charge in the state of Texas three years ago. The case was unconditionally dismissed-no probation, loss of license, hand-written letter, absolutely nothing at all. I later had the arrest expunged from my record. I saw you write back to Chad that an expungement is in fact adverse adjudication but in the state of Texas you can have an arrest expunged if:

    You may be entitled to an expunction if your case was dismissed, if it was no-billed by a grand jury, if you were acquitted at trial (i.e., found “not guilty”), if someone else was arrested using your name without your permission, or if you were convicted but later pardoned.


    Expunction is an option for deferred adjudication only in Class C misdemeanor cases. If you were sentenced to deferred adjudication probation for a Class A or B misdemeanor or any level of felony, you are not eligible for an expunction. However, you may still qualify for an Order of Non-Disclosure, which seals your arrest record from access by the general public.

    “Texas expungement law allows expungement of arrests which did not lead to a finding of guilt, and class C misdemeanors if the defendant received deferred adjudication, and completed community supervision”

    It seems as if there are two different classes of expungement in Texas. (I’m not sure how it is in other states)

    One is if your case is unconditionally dismissed (which mine was) and the other is if there is deferred adjudication involved. I looked at the Navy Eligibility requirements where it states:

    “Some states have established procedures for the subsequent “expunging of the record,” “dismissal of charges,” or “pardon” upon evidence of rehabilitation of the offender. Such action has the legal effect of extinguishing the initial “conviction” or “adverse juvenile adjudication” so that, under state law, the applicant has no record of conviction or adverse juvenile adjudication. In spite of this action, the record must be revealed and a waiver of the applicant’s disqualification(s) is required at the proper enlistment decision level”

    The “conviction” they define as:
    “As a general rule of thumb, any requirements imposed by judicial authorities will be viewed as a
    conviction for enlistment purposes. Pretrial intervention or diversionary programs will be considered a “conviction”. Similarly, requirements imposed by law
    enforcement officials, (i.e., police, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, or state troopers), will be
    viewed as a non-judicial administrative action”

    There were no requirements imposed onto me at all nor did I enter into any pretrial intervention or diversionary programs

    It also states:
    “The key question is, “Was there involvement by judicial authorities?”

    My answer to that is no

    It seems there is a discrepancy from state-to-state about what qualifies for an expunction and how they are defined and carried out. My question to you is: will I still need a moral waiver even though my case was unconditionally dismissed and I received no adverse adjudication. I recall you telling Chad that

    “based on how you describe it, you were in fact adversely adjudicated — you cannot have an unconditionally dropped charge expunged because it just doesn’t work that way.”

    It seems as though in my state that it is possible to have a charge unconditionally dropped and later have an expungement

    Please advise, thank you very much!

  5. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I roger up to everything you wrote, but the fact is COMNAVCRUITCOMINST 1130.8J – VOLUME II, Chapter 2, Section 8, PG. 2, paragraph d. states:

    Expungement. Some states have established procedures for the subsequent “expunging of the record”, “dismissal of charges”, or “pardon” upon evidence of rehabilitation of the offender. Such action has the legal effect of extinguishing the initial “conviction” or “adverse juvenile adjudication” so that, under state law, the applicant has no record of conviction or adverse juvenile adjudication. In spite of this action, the record must be revealed and a waiver of the applicant’s disqualification(s) is required at the proper enlistment decision level.

    When enlisting, you will provide your court records, and if required, the accompanying police arrest records, along with your handwritten statement for the event in question. If the court and police records indicate you have zero involvement, then a waiver may not be required.

  6. Timothy says:

    Thank you very much for the prompt response, sir. My only question is what do you mean by zero involvement? Just show proof that there was no adverse adjudication involved and the case was unconditionally dismissed? Thank you for your time

  7. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If the records show you were not drinking and driving, then you shouldn’t have a problem. The recruiter will have to go get the documents — if they are sealed, then you may have to go with him to ensure he gets them. Remember, per the enlistment manual, with an expungement, you would require a waiver for the charge — to ensure you are not considered adversely adjudicated, the full record would need to be reviewed to ensure the record was not dismissed/dropped/whatever due to a requirement of the court being met — they were dropped because you were not drinking and driving (above the legal limit or underage with any alcohol); a letter from the court stating the charge was expunged won’t accomplish that.

  8. Timothy says:

    I believe the case disposition states: Dismissed-could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt

    On the same page it says something to the effect of “Action taken: None”

    If the case was dropped unconditionally like I believe it was and there was no adverse adjudication handed down to me would I still need the waiver because of the expunction or would the recruiter in my area, who knows the state laws concerning expunctions following unconditional dismissals, make the determination if a waiver is required or not?

  9. NCCM(Ret) says:


    No recruiter determines whether a waiver is required or not; ultimately, the interpretation of the recruiting manual determines whether or not a charge must be waived. The recruiter would forward the documentation to the processor at MEPS, and if they don’t know how to proceed, they would forward it to the Navy Recruiting Command’s legal department. This article may not directly pertain to you, but it might be good information nonetheless –> Myths.

    Adding, to be more clear; the recruiter can determine whether someone is eligible for a waiver, but is not the ultimate authority who determines whether something needs to be waived.

  10. Son dui accident says:

    My son has a dui accident, is it possible for him to apply for a wavier if it is a felony charge?

  11. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Son dui accident,

    As long as all of the requirements of time passage stated above has been met and all of the requirements of the court are completed, then a waiver is possible; however, in today’s recruiting environment, obtaining permission to process with a Major Misconduct Offense is not very likely. If otherwise qualified, I recommend he seek out a recruiter because the recruiter will be able to tell him when/if he can move forward.

  12. 4 dui charges says:

    If you have 4 dui`s can you still join the military?

  13. NCCM(Ret) says:

    4 DUI Charges,

    As it states in the post, any more than two renders the applicant ineligible — no waivers authorized.

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