Waiver Charts for Criminal and Conduct Offenses

Moral Waivers for Enlistment

A couple of years ago, the Department of Defense (DOD) decided to try and make the waiver report uniform across all the military recruiting organizations. Previously, each service had their own way of reporting; as an example, what may have been called a misdemeanor by the Navy may have been ruled in a different category by the Marine Corps. Making the changes forced the Navy to change some of the terminology and limits of what is waiverable for enlistment to meet the DOD’s requirements. As an example of just the terminology updates, Minor Misdemeanors are now called Non-Traffic offenses, and a Felony is now considered a Major Misconduct. Also changed, was the various combination of charges that could be waived. Because of the consolidation of reporting rules, this guide should be in-line with all the military branches’ reporting requirements (the level at which a waiver may be required may vary slightly from one service to another).

I have been trying to avoid posting about this topic because of the numerous factors that go into a waiver determination, but because of all the email questions I do receive, police involvement and how it may have hurt enlistment opportunities must be the most common, and the most difficult to answer, I decided to give it a go. You see, just because a charge or group of charges is waiverable, it DOES NOT mean that you will get a waiver. This guide shows the waiver authority, but remember, anyone in the chain can decide not to have your waiver reviewed. Yes, even your Recruiter can decide not to process you.

Many factors beyond the type and number of offenses are used to determine eligibility, and they include, but are not limited to, your education status, ASVAB score, references from employers, community involvement (not court mandated community service), and more. This guide addresses basic enlistment only, and does NOT delve into the additional waivers you may require for a specific Navy job you may be seeking; or, if your crimes involved physical violence, alcohol involved driving, multiple drug related offenses, drug use, domestic violence, or sex related crimes.

Remember, a waiver is only required because the circumstance being waived is disqualifying. Many people do not make it through the waiver process – in my experience, most of those disapproved were a result of the person being disrespectful; they almost seem to think the process to be a waste of time. Also, during the waiver process, applicants would blame someone else for the charges. They refused to take ownership of their past indiscretions. My best advice; be humble and man/woman-up.

Why are moral waivers completed? The waiver process is a filter to prevent enlistment of persons whose social habits are a threat to unit morale and cohesiveness while allowing those who may have made a couple of prior indiscretions, but still have a good potential to serve.

Some important definitions:

“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 that your charges will be dropped if you write a “letter of apology”, or if you pay restitution, the condition requirement of having to write the letter or to pay the restitution is considered an adverse adjudication. This includes charges that were dismissed, pardoned or disposed of in any manner that required you to do something, anything!
Probation is the suspension of a sentence of an individual convicted of an offense. The suspension of sentence will usually always require the individual to abstain from further unlawful activity during the period of probation and may or may not include other conditions imposed by the convening civil authority/court. The term unconditional/unsupervised probation is used to define a period of probation where the individual has no restrictions concerning freedom of movement, no future reporting requirements, no outstanding balance of fines, restitution or community service to be fulfilled, or any other tangible condition that would restrict the individual’s ability to join and serve in the armed forces. Supervised/conditional probation is defined as any imposed condition that would restrict the individual from joining the armed forces due to movement restrictions, reporting requirements, unpaid balances of fines or restitution, or remaining community service requirements to be fulfilled. Persons under unconditional/unsupervised probation are enlistment eligible.
Non-Traffic Offense
Generally, if the maximum confinement under local law is four months or less, it is to be treated as a non-traffic offense.
Misconduct Offense
Generally, if the maximum confinement under local law exceeds four months but does not exceed one year, it should be treated as a misconduct offense.
Major Misconduct Offense
Generally, if the maximum confinement under local law is one year or more, it should be treated as a major misconduct offense.

You may not enlist into the service as an alternative to criminal prosecution, indictment, incarceration, parole, probation, or other punitive sentence. If a judge does reduce your sentence or punishment to join, then you are ineligible for enlistment until the original assigned sentence would have been completed.

All charges, citations, and warnings must be listed in your enlistment paperwork, but it is only those charges and citations that have been adversely adjudicated that will have to be considered when determining if a waiver is required or even necessary. So, lets get to it, what can be waived and who can waive it.

The waiver authority based on the number of traffic, misdemeanor offenses, and combinations of those charges that you may have committed.

Moral Waiver Chart
Offense Number of Offenses Waiver Authority
Traffic Violations
(Follow link for examples)
Up to 5
6 to 10
11 or more
No waiver is required.
NRD Commanding Officer
Non-Traffic Offenses
(Follow link for examples)
Up to 4
6 or 7
8 or more
No waiver is required.
NRD Commanding Officer
No waiver authorized.
(Follow link for examples)
3 or 4
5 or more
NRD Commanding Officer
No waiver authorized.

Combination Rules for Non-traffic and misconduct (not including major misconduct) offenses.

Combination Rules for Non-Traffic (NT) and Misconduct (M) Offenses
Combination of Offenses Waiver Authority
1 M and 4 NT
1 M and 5-6 NT
2 M and 3 NT
3 M and 2 NT
3 M and 4 NT
Total of NT+M=8 or more
NRD Commanding Officer
No waiver Authorized
No waiver Authorized

An offense is classified a “felony” without regard to the offender’s age when the offense was committed, or whether the offense was disposed of by juvenile or adult criminal proceedings. A felony charge that is adjudicated as a felony which is amended later to a lesser offense classification shall be considered a felony for enlistment waiver purposes (unless the recruiting command’s legal department determines otherwise).

Note: A criminal/moral waiver that requires consideration by the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command are extremely unlikely to be forwarded for consideration unless you are an otherwise stellar applicant.

Major Misconduct Offenses (Felonies)
Offense Number of Offenses Waiver Authority
Major Misconduct
(Follow link for examples)
1 or 2* CNRC
2 juvenile major misconduct offenses or a combination of 1 adult and 1 juvenile major misconduct.
If you have 2 adult or 3 or more major misconduct offenses. No waiver authorized.
* Cannot have more than 1 Major Misconduct offense adversely adjudicated as an adult.

A combination of 1 major misconduct and 3 or more additional offenses, other than traffic violations, is NOT authorized for a waiver.

The Moral/Criminal Waiver Matrix above is for both active and Reserve, enlisted and officer programs.

To be clear, about sealed juvenile records, several states have provisions for “sealing juvenile records” which serves to limit disclosures on the part of law enforcement officials and judicial authorities. In spite of the legal effect of such action, if you have a record, you must reveal the record, and a conduct waiver must be granted to authorize enlistment in these cases.

Self admitted crimes and offenses shall be processed in the same manner as adverse adjudications when the crimes or offenses are not revealed in police record checks or on file with civil authorities. Self admitted crimes and offenses shall be classified (charted) and waived at the appropriate level per this manual. However, any voluntarily disclosed, self admitted, or recruiter discovered form of police or criminal involvement by an applicant warrants further investigation and may be grounds for disqualification.

You receive an automatic, permanent disqualification if you have been convicted of rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault, incest, carnal knowledge, forcible sodomy, sodomy of a minor, prostitution involving a minor, indecent assault, assault with intent to commit rape, assault with intent to commit sodomy, indecent act with a minor, indecent language with a minor, kidnapping of a minor (by a person not a parent), pornography involving a minor, attempt to commit any of the foregoing, conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing, any other sexual offense, or solicitation to commit any of the foregoing, or if you are required by any state or federal court, statute, or administrative regulation, to register as a sex offender – NO WAIVERS AUTHORIZED.

Well, this should be just enough information to confuse the crap out of you. I just hope that this information doesn’t stop you from visiting the recruiting station and asking specific questions about your individual circumstance, and provides you with enough insight so you can be as prepared for the visit as you can be.

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2,380 Responses to “Moral Waivers for Enlistment”

  1. moonbug says:

    Hello, I have a question. I know here it says if you were convicted of a “sex crime” you will be automatically disqualified, but I wanted to ask anyway..

    A week after my 16th birthday I was charged with CA Penal Code 288. The judges didn’t have me plead guilty or innocent. When I went to court, it seemed almost as if I just went in to hear what I heard the last time I saw the judge. The car was dismissed but I still had 2 yrs probation, individual therapy and 100 hrs of community service (which I finished within a month). After all was said and done, the judge said “Keep up the good work, and I wish you luck” he always told me I was a “good kid”..

    Would I be able to get a waiver for this? I haven’t had any run-ins with the law since that indecent. I’m now 23 and would like to join the Navy. I have a family of my own, and would like to believe that I am an honest individual who is very nature and responsible. I’m not one to deny this incident, yet I shouldn’t have to be judged by my past. This isn’t who I am today. Yet I do understand that the military needs to make sure that they have the best of the best. Although, I do know someone who spent a year in prison for stabbing someone, and he joined the National Guard when he got out. Are you able to tell me whether I would be able to obtain a waiver for Any other branch of the military (for the same case)?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Brandi says:

    Ok im gonna make this quick and simple.
    I’m already in the process of enlisting but my waivers are taking so long to go through I’m freaking out so I’ll ask you to at least get an idea of what to expect.
    March of 2012 I got careless driving for a car wreck that was my fault(age 16). Around December of 2012 I got a littering ticket(long dumb story)(age 17). And March of 2014 I got a misdomenor for petit theft, stolen object rang up to under $25 so it was a low misdemeanor at that(age 18). All I had to do was pay court fees. (i paid them right then and there and the case was closed.)
    So basically what is the likeliness of me getting approved? My recruiter said it was nothing to sweat over but its taking so long I’m panicking.

  3. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I cannot tell you if you will qualify or not; your court records must be submitted and reviewed for a determination to be made.

  4. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Many things can be slowing the process down. What is your ASVAB score? Has all the court’s requirements been completed for the theft (I ask because they normally give a 6 month probationary period for such a charge; surprised they didn’t give you that)? Are the ratings/programs you may qualify for open? If there are only ratings that require a clearance available, then you may be waiting for others to open up. How long have you been waiting?

  5. Brandi says:

    It was a 55. I got no court requirements or anything, no probation, not community service, nothing. All I had to pay was $327 for the court fees. I was surprised as well. But it was also my first offense. I haven’t been to MEPS yet so I’m not sure what’s open. I’m going aviation so I think at least one rate would be open. I also did four years of NJROTC, I’m not sure if that would help the process at all or not. And its been a little over a week. My tattoo waiver was approved almost immediately, that’s why I’m stressing on the rest of the waivers being approved since they’re taking so long.

  6. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Some have been waiting for more than a month — the number of openings that do not require a clearance are limited, and i am sure when you consider the number of recruiting stations within your district, there are more than likely many people in the same boat as you. I agree with the recruiter, I don;t think you’ll have a problem, it will just take time. Start work on your PQS! :)

  7. Brandi says:

    I can not express anymore how relieved I am right now. Thank you!!:)

  8. jc says:

    How long do waivers take on average? I’m waiting on mine and it’s killing me

  9. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I assume you are waiting on a disposition (whether or not you can process), and not a waiver approval. That can take anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks depending on how backed up things are.

  10. jc says:

    O ok. Thanks for answering. I can’t get anyone on the phone. Should I keep calling?

  11. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Keep calling, or if you are nearby, stop in.

  12. Orville says:

    I was wondering if I could still join the army or national guard if I was charge with harassment and got it dismiss and expunge the charges happen 4years ago? Judge granted me to allow me to hold a weapon for job.

  13. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The fact that the charge was later dismissed and expunged is irrelevant. For that charge, your court’s records/police report, etc., will have to be reviewed. A waiver is possible.

  14. Julieann says:

    I wanted to ask your opinion on my situation. I just took the asvab with an afqt 52. I also have to submit two waivers for having misdeameanor in 2006 for petit theft just court cost paid on time, also for 12 traffic citations two dismissed all paid on time. My recruiter said I wouldn’t need a waiver for my reckless reduced from dui in 2007 since it was part of my citations. I am worried that if I don’t retest for a better score my chances will be very low of getting in as well as security clearance. Do I seem to have a chance now with what I have or should I wait 30 days to maybe get a better score? Thank you so much.

  15. NCCM(Ret) says:


    First of all, your reckless driving charge that was alcohol related does require a waiver — it is called a Behind the Wheel Offense. It gets treated just like any DUI would. It is your BTW and Theft charge that may keep you from a clearance.

    For the ASVAB, the QT score is not important when considering what ratings you qualify for. The ASVAB line scores are what is used. The QT (your 52) is used to determine whether a person can join or not. Below a 35QT, and you are not eligible; with a 50QT or higher, you are considered in the “upper mental group” category. More times than not, when a person retakes the test…they don’t do as well. When a person has a qualifying score, I never advise them to retake it, but that is your call.

  16. Julieann says:

    Thank you for the quick response. So I would be going in with three waivers then? I asked my recruiter several times if he was sure it didn’t need a waiver. So you’d recommend going forth with what I have and present my waivers? I want to be an Intelligence Specialist, but if my security clearance is denied… there still may be a chance to enlist just without security clearance? Thank you.

  17. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Obtaining a clearance for the IS rating would be very difficult, if not impossible, with those charges (well, any charges, really). The best advice I can give you is that you go through the process (you don’t present waivers, they figure out what you need), and when you sit down with the job classifier, have an open mind.

    I know you need a waiver for the two Misconduct Offenses (theft and BTW), without knowing each traffic violation (if there is equipment tickets in there, they don’t figure in), I do not know the level of waiver that would require; however, it sounds like the local Commanding Officer will be the waiver authority for your moral issues.

  18. Raju says:

    I had a amended charge to : ASSAULT from Sexual Battery on 2008. I had 6 months of probation. Do you think i will get waiver if i apply for JOB in US army? I am in F-1 Status. And I just finished my Master’s with 3.9 GPA. I am trying to apply for MAVNI army career field. Thank you.

  19. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You cannot join with a student visa, you must be a permanent resident (I-551, Green Card holder) of the United States; additionally, the court records for the sexual battery must be reviewed, but with that charge, regardless if reduced (circumstances must be considered), more than likely, you would be ineligible for consideration even if your citizenship credentials were in order.

  20. NCCM(Ret) says:


    And for the rules concerning the MAVNI program, you need to contact the Army — the Navy only ran a very short test pilot with this program and stopped (no planes to bring it back) — so I am not fully up to speed on what it entails; however, the sexual related charge because of recent legislation, would more than likely stop your processing.

  21. Cindy says:

    I have a friend and his mother had him arrested for domestic violence. These were false accusations because the mother had been drinking and they got into an argument(nothing physical). He was disqualified from Coast Guard because of the pending domestic violence case. All charges have now been dropped by the DA and the process has started to expunge his record. Can he attempt to re enlist?

  22. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Having a charge expunged does not change anything — if the case is being expunged in a hope to help get in the military, please don’t waste the money it takes to do it. All of the court records must be submitted to legal for review. If the case was unconditionally dropped, then a waiver will not be required. If the case was not unconditionally dropped, then the legal department will make a decision based on the case as to whether the processing can move forward.

  23. Noah says:

    I am in the process of enlisting. Long story short I went to therapy in 5th grade for depression due to being constantly bullied and my parents getting divorced. On top of that I went back in 10th grade for mild anxiety when my sister moved back into the house. I have been “cured” for the last couple years, but previously took anti anxiety meds in only 25 mg doses. My recruiter wants to wait until December to submit me to MEPS as I will have been off of it for two years. My neighbor used to be a Master Gunnery Sergeant, and will write me a reccomendation letter. I work 60 hours each week at two jobs and am about to go into my senior year, And got a 93 on my AFQT. Are the Marines or MEPS going to be willing to give me a waiver? I know it is tough to say, but I feel that I have shown how stable of a person I am, and that my previous psychological history should not effect my service. I also do volunteer work at my church on weekends. Thank you for your time!

  24. NCCM(Ret) says:


    For anxiety, a minimum of two years post treatment must pass before a waiver could be possible.

  25. John says:

    Hey I have a question, I’m in dep, have been for 7 months.y rate is nuke, but I was unfortnately involved in a bit of trouble last night. Due to the fact that my friends were ringing doorbells and running away and I was their driver, I was considered along with them, long story short I got a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct and harassment, which are both non-traffic correct?
    They are both class C misdemeanors, which is the lowest I’m pretty sure and it’s been paid. I ship in 2 months, will this be any problems,
    Do I need a waiver(s)?

  26. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Any police involvement while in DEP is a problem; especially, when you’re a Nuke. Whereas you should be okay in the long run, you need to be the first person your recruiter hears from tomorrow morning. Get ahead of it, and don’t let it fester. Additionally, own up to it, you may have been driving, but I am sure you knew what was going on. One thing we didn’t like hearing was it was someone else’s fault, you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time sorta stuff.

  27. CG says:

    Hey, quick question. I have 2 misconducts 1 non-traffic and a couple of traffic tickets. The misconducts are a DUI I got a couple of years ago and a possession of marijuana from 6 years ago. I was interested in CTI or cryptologic tech or any sort really. I’m more than willing to be flexible, but does it seem feasible that I would be able to get clearance? I haven’t seen a recruiter yet. I wanted to do as much research as possible before I enlist. I have the asvab scores and I have a working knowledge of Korean and Chinese(mand).

  28. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The possession of marijuana renders you ineligible for a waiver for the CT rating — no waiver authorized.

  29. CG says:

    Ok. Thank you for the info. Does it disqualify me for any rating that requires a security clearance or just the specific ratings?

  30. NCCM(Ret) says:


    There are specific ratings that do not allow a single drug related offense (MA, CT, AECF, IS, OS, IT, MN, HM, and STG are ones off the top of my head). The security clearance is difficult to get with a single charge, you will run into a hard time gaining traction for one with a DUI and a possession charge.

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