Every day over these past many years, I received questions via comments posted to the blog or via email that ask NavyDoc or myself to render an opinion to one’s eligibility to enlist. I leave all the medical related questions to NavyDoc — he is an expert, after all, he is a Chief Medical Officer of a MEPS. The questions I field have more to do with things like what to bring to boot-camp, using the GI-Bill, and mostly, moral and drug waiver requirements.
When I answer the questions, I use the current instructional guidance coupled with my years of experience. When it comes to moral waivers, I tend to have to frequently deal first with one of three misconceptions; one, the final charge adjudicated by the court is the charge that must receive waiver consideration; two, that when a charged is dismissed, expunged or sealed, then it no longer requires a waiver; and three, that you would have to have been arrested, charged, or cited for a crime for it to matter.
I’ll discuss all three issues.
When it comes to reduced charges; in most cases the reduced charge is what will require consideration, but it does not necessarily apply to cases originally charged as a felony or ones that involved domestic violence. In both cases, the court records must be submitted to Navy Recruiting Command’s legal department for review, and even if the local court reduced the felony (an automatic Major Misconduct Offense — see the waiver matrix) to what may normally be considered a Misconduct Offense (each have a different waiver authority), legal can, and often times do, advise that the charge receive the waiver consideration required for the original Major Misconduct Offense. The reason? Remember this, it is not the charge that is being waived, per se, it is the action(s) that lead to the charge that is being considered. If your records show that your involvement rose to the level of the original charge, even though the courts ultimately reduced it (normally as part of a plea deal), then expect the charge to remain a Major Misconduct Offense.
For domestic violence related offenses, the same holds true, and as a matter of fact, even if the original charge was just simple assault, but the assault with with someone you live with (yes, even a roommate), then the court records must be sent to legal for review and consideration. the Navy, rightly so, is strict when it comes to domestic violence related events — we often times live in close quarters, and we do not need someone who tends to handle tough situations with a violent act.
For charges that are dismissed, expunged, or sealed; unless a charge is unconditionally dismissed by the court, it counts. Most cases that result in a plea deal ultimately receive a dismissal as part of the final disposition; however, that does not mean that the action that lead to the charge did not happen! Remember, as I already discussed, it is not the charge, but the action that receives consideration. And although the charge is ultimately dismissed, it was dismissed as a result of a condition(s) being met. A court’s condition can be anything, even just having to write a letter of apology!
I guess, putting this into another context may be helpful, and it answers the third misconception — if an applicant confesses to his or her recruiter that they committed a crime, but they were never caught doing it, then, by instruction, the event must be listed in the application and considered. I know I am repeating myself, but it is the illegal action that is being waived, not necessarily the charge itself.
To sum it up, adversely adjudicated charges that are expunged, sealed, or, yes, even dismissed, must be listed in the applicant’s application, and if a waiver is required, then the waiver must be considered before the applicant can join the Navy.
Read Comments (21)