Navy Cyberspace Surface Ship Website Header

Waiver Charts for Criminal and Conduct Offenses

Moral Waivers for Enlistment

Updated: September 24, 2017

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. a couple of examples are, minor misdemeanors are now called Non-Traffic offenses, and any felony and some serious misdemeanors are 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 conduct 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 conduct waiver process, many 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!
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.
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, let’s 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)
5 or more NRD Commanding Officer
Non-Traffic Offenses
(Follow link for examples)
Up to 4
5 – 7
8 or more
No waiver is required.
NRD Commanding Officer
No waiver authorized.
(Follow link for examples)
2 or 4
5 or more
NRD Commanding Officer Eligibility Determination
NRD Commanding Officer Waiver
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 to 6 NT
2 M and up to 4 NT
3 M and up to 3 NT
3 M and 4 or more NT
Total of NT+M=8 or more
1 Major Misconduct and three or more additional M or NT
NRD Commanding Officer
NRD Commanding Officer
NRD Commanding Officer
No waiver Authorized
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.

Applicants with pre-service conduct waivers (drug, alcohol, or criminal) are disqualified for overseas assignment for their first duty station.

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.

*** Once in the Navy if you are arrested, you have an obligation to self-report the arrest immediately per instruction. Withholding that information would be a violation of a direct order and could be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)

4,787 Responses to “Moral Waivers for Enlistment”

  1. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If the felony was dropped to a lesser classification as a result of the plea agreement process, for military waiver purposes, it will always be a Major Misconduct Offense. Your possession of a dangerous drug is also a Major Misconduct Offense — it doesn’t matter how the state may classify it. With two Major Misconduct Offenses, you are not eligible for waiver consideration even if Major Misconduct waivers were possible right now.

    An aside, currently, the Navy is not entertaining any Major Misconduct Offense waivers.

  2. Logan says:

    NCCM (ret) I’ve researched more this morning and read more through these posts.

    Even though by completing the Adult Diversion Program the charges were dismissed my recruiter will still need paperwork… I see that I need to get the Court Document and the Police Report (I didn’t go to jail), do I need to get the paperwork from the Adult Diversion Program as well? Any other documents that you would recommend? I want to be well prepared for my meeting with the recruiter and show him/her that I’m serious about joining and took the time to get my paperwork together beforehand.
    Thank you!

  3. NCCM(Ret) says:


    For shoplifting, just make sure it is part of your application. Your recruiter will run the police check for the city, county and state — it is required that he/she run those checks even if you did happen to bring them in. There is nothing you need to bring in for that.

  4. Logan says:

    Awesome, thank you so much sir!

  5. Steve says:

    When I had just turned 14, I woke up one morning and woke my 5 year old cousin up to get her ready for school. Around this time I was curious about the opposite sex and their bodies, and with my cousin only being in underwear, for some reason I had the great idea to examine her privates. No force, no penetration, and definitely not for pleasure. A day or two later, she told my parents and aunt at the dinner table. We decided to go see a psychologist to see if there was any other underlying reason I did this other than curiosity, and after revealing the details the psychologists forced us to report to the police. After an interview with an officer, then a trip to the station a couple days later for another interview with an investigator, I was booked over night at the juvenile detention center for processing and initial court date. It was initially 1 count lewd and lascivious molestation and 2 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct, but after the interview with the investigator (which was a plea of not guilty on the molestation charge), and the fact my aunt did not want to press charges, the 1 count molestation was dropped with nolle prosequi and I was left with the 2 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct that I pled guilty to in court. I was put on house arrest for 30 days, and had to attend a weekly “KIDS” program with a group psychologist which was to teach us about the human reproductive system, go through steps of redemption with the victim, and finding the reason of why I did the act. After a polygraph and 2 years in the program, it was determined by the psychologist that the act was done through curiosity, which through completing the program the prosecutor dismissed the two counts of lewd conduct with nolle prosequi and the case was dropped. For all of this as well, I did not become a registered sex offender. Fast forward almost 10 years, I’m 23 and trying to join the Navy. Currently I’m with a recruiter and they have my court docs, and I signed a couple of PRC’s so they can get my police records in full which I’m still waiting on. I have nothing else on my record, not even a minor traffic stop or warning, I have 70+ college credits, the only medical problem I have is 18 degrees of scoliosis which isn’t disqualifying, and the last time I took an ASVAB about 3 years ago I got an 82.

    What are my chances of getting a moral waiver for this very shameful stain on my history that irritates me every time I think about it?

  6. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Adversely adjudicated sex related crimes cannot receive waiver consideration.

  7. Dream. says:

    10 years ago, I was charged with misdemeanor false report which was dismissed and expunged. Two years ago. I was charged with another false report because i refused to testify against my husband in a domestic violence case at the time my husband was active military. I didn’t want him to be convicted and separated from the military. So, last year i decided to join the army. I told my recruiter about my expunged record, and while i was at meps i was going through my papers, i noticed that he didn’t mention my expunged record. At that point i decided to call him and let him know. He told me not to worry about it because when he ran my criminal record it didn’t show up. Nd not to say anything at meos that he will fix it. A month later while i was in the dep program waiting to be shipped out to bootcamp..i received a call from another sergeant letting me know that i wasn’t able to be shipped because something came up during the FBI screening…and i was discharged from the army for not disclosing. 5 months ago, i tried to enlist in the navy, got all my waivers approved but when i went back to meps to recheck, and found out that i was medically disqualified due to behavior character something and undisclosed criminal record. I just paid $2000 to have an psychology eval which was recommended by my new recruiter just to have the N3M. Denied my waiver…. Any advice?

  8. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You signed your application indicating that everything was listed as required. As you found out, you are responsible for the accuracy of the information.

    If MEPS medical found you disqualified, and the local command forwarded the waiver to N3M for consideration. Once N3M disapproves the waiver, there is no appeal. The most you can do is try another branch of service.

    To everyone else who may read this, I cannot stress enough the importance of putting everything in your history on your application. Your charges will show up even if they have been expunged, sealed, whatever. Do not leave anything off!

  9. Xiandra says:

    Interested in joining the Navy. I’ve been arrested several times but I have no felony convictions. 2006, Public Affray(adjudication withheld)
    2012, Resisting Arrest W/O Violence(no contest)
    2017, Possession of Unregistered Firearm. I entered a not-guilty plea. Was given 6 months PTI. Successfully completed the charge was dismissed. Am I eligible for enlistment or waiver?

  10. NCCM(Ret) says:


    As long as none of your charges were originally charged as a felony at arrest, and then later plead down to a lesser offense, a waiver may be possible.

  11. Parker says:

    Recently, I am being charged with but have not been to court yet. Just wondering if the charges stick, will I eligible for enlistment in the Marines?
    1 Battery (minor)
    1 Resisting arrest
    2 Disorderly conduct

    Would I be eligible for the waiver?


  12. NCCM(Ret) says:


    As long as the charges were not initially a felony at arrest, and nor were they domestic violence related, a waiver might be possible once all of your court requirements have been completed. I recommend that you seek out a Marine recruiter to verify.

  13. Dexter says:


    Can you please explain the difference between NRDCO eligibility determination and NRDCO waiver? I’m asking because I committed a DWI back in 2016. (I’ve completed all required probation, fines, education, etc…) and I’m interested in enlistment

  14. NCCM(Ret) says:

    The processes are the same — you wouldn’t notice a difference between the process of either. The difference is only administrative.

  15. Steve says:

    I have a bad conduct discharge with a re4b code it was for 112a wrongful use of marijuana. Are there any waivers I could apply for? This is the only trouble I have been in in my entire life.

  16. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Waivers are not authorized for anyone with a misconduct related RE-4 reenlistment code.

  17. Maria says:


    I received two possession of marijuana violations (summonses) within 30 days 5 years ago due to failing to separate from a bad group of friends. Because we were all in the car, both times, we were all issued summonses even though I had recently tried marijuana for the first time, didn’t like it and didn’t plan to participate. After going to court, both cases were dismissed immediately. This is the only trouble I’ve ever gotten in, and I don’t have a criminal record/wasn’t convicted etc. I was 19, now have a Master’s degree, full time job and want to commission as an officer. What would the process look like for me? Would I be eligible?

    Thanks in advance.

  18. Gregory says:

    Can you reenlist in the navy having hiv?

  19. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It is a disqualifying condition that I have never seen a waiver considered for.

  20. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you have two adversely adjudicated possession of marijuana charges (had to pay a fine, take a class, say you were sorry, anything), a waiver would be very difficult for an officer program because they are very competitive. I recommend that you contact an officer recruiter so that he/she can fully evaluate your qualifications and history.

  21. Gregory says:

    I have a friend that has hiv but he’s a third class and just got to pick orders.

  22. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I misread your original as enlist, and not reenlist. HIV used to be a condition that would require a discharge when found, but now, a person can complete an entire career with it as long as the person remains deployable (cannot join with it, so he must have contracted it while serving).

  23. Q-man says:


    My recruiter is about to send up for a moral waiver for a DUI. If the waiver authority is the recruiting Battalion commander, how long in your experience does that usually take?

  24. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Not sure what branch you are processing for, you said Battalion, and the Navy doesn’t use that term, but for the Navy, if you have yet to take the physical, then you are seeking permission to process, and that can take anywhere from one day to up to a few days depending on how bad they need you. The actual waiver would not be considered and adjudicated until after you have completed the ASVAB and physical. How long things take for the other services, you’d have to ask them.

  25. Mom2b says:


    My son was arrested at age 17 with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. The juvenile courts declined to prosecute and kicked it back to the police department who held onto it until he turned 18, and then filed charges on both the possession and the paraphernalia. He successfully completed a diversion program. He did apply for a receive a medical marijuana card at age 19, but is now nearly 21 and drug free for over a year. He is wanting to join the military, but is unsure if waivers are being approved for people in his position.

    Thank you for your advice.

  26. Kody says:

    I am curious of my options. In 2006 I was 14 years old.. I was charged with attempted murder, assault, illegal use of a firearm, and illegal possession of a firearm. All charges were juvinelle charges. I was in lock up then on parole. I have been off parole for 2 years. It’s been almost 12 years since I committed my crime and I have never once been in any kind of trouble since.

  27. NCCM(Ret) says:


    He would require a conduct waiver for the possession charges; a waiver is likely provided they were not initially charged as a felony and have no indication of trafficking involved (and he is otherwise a stellar candidate).

    To the medical marijuana card, the underlying medical documents must be submitted for review — many times the reason for the card is disqualifying (sleep disorders, back pain, etc., etc.), and it is likely that he will require a drug abuse waiver, too.

  28. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The Navy is not currently entertaining any Major Misconduct Offenses; however, due to the fact that you have one Major Misconduct and at least three other offenses, you would not be eligible for consideration if they were. I wish I had better news.

  29. Kody says:

    Bummer deal, but thank you for your time.

  30. Zarek says:

    Hello. I’ve been wanting to join the military ever since I was a very little boy. I am currently 18. My mother and father thought it would be a good idea for me to go to counseling. I started when I was 3 and was on and off of it going through many different counselers till I was 15. At first they thought it was add/adhd then they thought it was assbergers then they thought it was bipolar. Basically they never really diagnosed me until I was like 12-13 and it was anxiety and situational depression. I think it had a lot to do with my mother and father getting a divorce. My father was very abusive and was a heavy drinker which ultimately led to my parents seperation. I was kind of s troubled child. I found it hard to cope with all the things me and my family had been through. I have been admitted to a couple detention centers is what I would call them. All very short term stays never more than 7 days and was never convicted or charged of anything except one time I got into it with my mother and stepfather. Long story short my temper got the best of me and I threw my phone and it bounced off of the table and hit my mom so my stepfather called the cops and said I assaulted my mom. I was arrested and taken in at 15 and was charged with battery and not following parental authority. I spent 34 days in a detention center and was put on probation. I completed my probation with no violations and have not had any trouble since. The fees are not paid off yet so the case has not been closed but I was told by my probation officer that when the fees are paid off that the case would be closed and the charges expunged. I spoke with an army recruiter a few days ago and he informed me that the military would more than likely consider the charge domestic battery even tho I was not charged with that and that he would look into it and get back with me. Never did. My question is with my past record as a juvenile even tho I completed probation without anymore trouble and the ability to have that expunged when the court fees are paid and being in a couple detention centers make me ineligible to join the us army national guard.

  31. Zarek says:

    Also would my prior diagnosis of anxiety and situational depression keep me out. I was given medication but have been of the medication for a little over 4 months now and have done fine. No problems at all. I think a lot of it is because I’ve matured a lot in the last 2 and 1/2 years. I understand I have to be off all medications for a year. But would this also be somthing that would keep me out or could I seek a waiver.

  32. NCCM(Ret) says:


    All of your juvenile records must be reviewed; “admitted to a couple detention centers” either for psychiatric evaluation or as a result of an adverse adjudication for an arrest must be considered.

    Yes, the Army recrutier is correct, the event you describe is domestic violence no matter how the actual charge may be indicated in the record.

    Off medication for one year for depression is incorrect. The minimum is three years; however, due to the comorbidity of the depression and anxiety combined with the periods of detention, a waiver is most likely a non-starter. I wish I had better news for you.

  33. Nick says:

    Hello, I have been wanting to join, and have a question. Will I need a waiver for these minor traffic violations

    8/8/2012 – SPEED (10 over)
    1/15/2014 – Speed (10over)
    11/03/2014 – no proof of insurance in vehicle
    4/20/2015 – SpEed (5over)
    3/22/2016 – speed (25over)
    10/17/2016 – Violation of basic speed law (accident) 0 injured, 0 killed

    If so, how difficult is it to obtain a waiver for these?

    Thank you

  34. Austin says:

    Hello I have a underage drinking charge cannibais. And parrif misdemeaner Although the cannibais charge was dropped due to low amount. At age 18 all on the same date. Went through a court ordered rehab course. And paid off all fines. Now 21 and haven’t had any problems since. What are my chanses of getting into the army with a waiver

  35. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, and if all the court requirements have been met and you are otherwise fully qualified, waiver approval is likely for enlistment.

  36. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I have no idea of your chances of entering the Army; however, it should not be overly difficult. The court and rehab paperwork would have to be reviewed.

  37. Sneakerjunky. says:


    I am a prior service member of the navy and got a jka for a discharge. After getting out I committed a felony retail theft. because of my military service the charges were lessened to a misdemeanor. Then I received a misdemeanor for obstruction of justice is there any way I get waivers approved to get in the army ?

  38. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I assume you also received a RE-4 discharge with the JKA, “Pattern of Misconduct”. Waivers for an RE-4 discharge code are not authorized, but if it was, a waiver would not be considered for one that received the JKA and was involved in further misconduct after discharge.

  39. Johnny says:

    So I am looking at enlisting and I have what the state of Utah says is a felony 3 reduced to a misdemeanor A. retail theft. Would I even bother trying to enlist or should I look for other ways to serve my country?

  40. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Felonies reduced to a lesser classification as a result of a plea agreement are still considered to be felonies for waiver purposes. The Navy is not currently considering such waivers. I do not know if the other branches may — I recommend asking the Army as they are having the most difficult time finding enough otherwise qualified applicants.

  41. Levion {Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Ok i had an domestic almost 3 years ago and my gf who is now my wife called the poilce on me when we got into an argument about who’s cheating i left it alone I’m minding my buisness then police end up at my door talking about fighting and she called the police she comes out the bathroom after sneaking and called the police long story short they explained it was law if the police was called i had to be tooken away even though nobody ever swung at each other. So i sat at the station for 2 days and then they let me go i went to court the following two weeks and they threw the case out then i had a stricken off docket with leave to reinstate basically stating if i got in trouble within 90 days I’ll be ok and the case was dismissed i did no probation or community service i tried going to the army 3 years later they said no so I’m trying the navy out never been in trouble with the law and the woman who called the police on me is still in my life were married now but i just wanted to know if it’s worth a try even though i got an misdemeanor in an domestic battery case.

  42. Joey says:

    I have been arrested several times in my life but from what I have read, I think I am still technically eligible. The full story behind my arrests are too long to list in detail but I will summarize them to the best of my ability.

    11 Years Old – Arson – Completely Dropped – We were at recess and a kid found a lighter on the ground. He lit a piece of paper on fire and I got in trouble because I was with him when he did it. At my first court date, the judge was shocked at the arson charge. Laughed and threw the whole case out. Never even got around to pleading anything. Never received any form of punishment at all. Not on my record.

    17 Years Old – Possession of High school party. A neighbor complained about noise. Cops came. A few of us got arrested for underage possession of alcohol. I was a minor and did a class and all charges against me were nolled. Never plead down to anything. Never entered a plea. Not on my record.

    18 Years Old – Over several months I’ve noticed thousands of dollars worth of belongings slowly disappear. One day catch sibling listing my belongings for sale on eBay. Verbal argument ensues. Neighbor hears yelling and calls cops. I get arrested for threatening and disorderly conduct. Went to counseling. Stayed out of trouble. Charges were all nolled. Never entered a plea. Never went on my record.

    19 Years Old – Was in the wrong part of town. Was approached by a group of thugs and almost got robbed. Outnumbered 7 to 1 and desperate, I remember the BB gun in the backpack in my trunk. I took it out, put it in my waistband, turned around and showed them. They scattered. Minutes later I’m surrounded by cops because a bystander “saw me with a gun”. Cops didn’t care to hear my side of the story and the other kids were nowhere to be found. I get charged with brandishing a firearm (pretty serious) but I decide to fight it in court claiming self-defense. Prosecutors list no witness or victims, and the judge nolles the case due to lack of evidence.

    20 Years Old – Cops get word of a college party and position themselves to catch people leaving drunk. Cop pulls me over for taking a right on red. I did not remember taking a right on red. Cop gives a breathalyzer and it comes back .01 over the limit. The next day I go back and realize that there is literally no right on red where he says there was. Decide I’m going to fight it in court.

    21 Years Old – While in the court proceedings for the previous incident I get pulled over leaving a college party. The reason provided was for traveling 37 in a 30. Scared of another DUI, I refuse to give a breathalyzer sample. Cop writes me up for a DUI anyway. I likely could have beaten the first DUI case but after picking up this second one, now I really don’t look good. The court offers me a deal. Plead guilty to both DUI’s and they will only punish me for one. Which will bypass the otherwise required mandatory minimum sentence. I take the deal.

    22 Years Old – Resulting from the DUI I should have a breathalyzer in my car. I did, and I was complying with it until my car broke. Not worth fixing I buy a new car. Breathalyzer administrator can’t perform the install for another 3 weeks. Not having a ride to work I drove the new car without a breathalyzer. I can’t get pulled over between now and the time it is installed right? Wrong. Get pulled over for stopping in a store parking lot for a phone call while the store was closed. Cop pulls in behind me and runs my plates.

    Through all of this, most of these charges were never plead guilty to, and are not on my record. I was never convicted of them. Etc…

    The only thing officially on my record is:
    DUI #1
    DUI #2
    Driving without a breathalyzer.

    Army recruiter friend says he can probably get me a waiver, but I want to join the Navy.
    P.S. I was already interested in joining the Navy. The BB gun incident happened a week before I was supposed to go to MEPS.

    Aside from this, I have impeccable ASVAB and PST scores along with a few solid letters of recommendation, one being from a Senior Cheif.

    What are my chances of getting a moral waiver from the Navy? Thanks.

  43. NCCM(Ret) says:


    A waiver should be possible based on what you described. The police and court records would have to be reviewed.

  44. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You are mistaken in how you describe your official record. All of your arrests since birth are a part of your official record, and they must be listed in your application. It is the court disposition that may not be against you; the police and court records will bear out whether a charge was adversely adjudicated or not. You would be required to provide handwritten statements for each of them, especially the arson and the brandishing a firearm charges. Your recrutier will run a cursory court and police records check for every place you have lived and worked, but they will not be complete nor will they be thorough — they are mainly run to ensure no warrants exist; it is at first the applicant’s word that the recruiting processes begins with. Many, wrongly, think that if the local checks produce nothing, then there is nothing — do not fall into that trap.

    Keep in mind that having to do a class, write a letter of apology, pay a fine, etc. means a charge was adversely adjudicated. For military waiver purposes, that is the same as if a charge received a guilty finding by a jury.

    You do not want to be in the Navy when your background investigation has been completed (they can take from two months to over a year to be fully adjudicated) to have them calling you in for an unlisted charge, felony or not — that would be very problematic for you.

    Based on what you wrote, and if the assertions can be supported by the court record, then a waiver may be possible (unless the legal department determines that the driving without a breathalyzer charge is also an alcohol related driving offense — in that case, you would not be eligible for waiver consideration).

  45. Joey says:

    I appreciate the fast response. I would also like to give my thanks as this is single-handedly the most useful thread I have come across in regards to my situation.

    You are right. I was thinking about my charges wrong. All of these charges are a part of my record, conviction or not. I was originally under the impression that some of these charges couldn’t be held against me because they were dropped. I now know that is not the case. In regards to not wanting to be in the Navy when or if something pops up that wasn’t originally disclosed, I plan on being fully transparent and upfront about all of the things in my past. I am hoping that even with everything disclosed I might still be given a chance. Although the description of my charges are very summarized, the full story still ultimately forms the same conclusion. I am confident that my statements will align with the police reports and court records so I am not too worried about that part. I don’t think the breathalyzer charge will be counted as an alcohol-related offense because I was not under the influence, there was nothing in my car, and the cop actually stated in his report that he didn’t get the impression that I was under the influence of anything. I think I should start getting all my files together and give it my best shot.

    I have another question though. Let’s say the Navy decides to give me a chance. What sort of impact will my background have on my career? Since I was upfront about everything, and after reviewing everything they still agreed to sign off on it and take me on board, will I be given a clean slate and the chance to prove myself? Or is my background something I will find constantly being brought up throughout my career? Will I find myself being denied for security clearances because of it, or frequently called down to someone’s office and asked to explain myself in regards to my past? When I originally planned on joining the Navy I was shooting for a BUDS contract. Although I think I should be happy if they agreed to give me anything at this point, I assume if that was something I still wanted to pursue that my background would play a major role in their decision. However, if a waiver is granted, am I eligible for all of the ratings I otherwise would have been? Or will some ratings such as SO be off limits to me?

    Thank you for all of your help.

  46. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Just to be clear, all tickets (except parking), charges, arrests, etc., must be listed in your application; however, if a charge was dropped without condition (basically, you didn’t do the crime), then it is not held against you during the waiver process. Based on what you wrote, you have three adversely adjudicated alcohol related offenses two DUI, the possession of alcohol by a minor (required to do a class), and one breathalyser charge (I am not sure how that will be classified).

    With three alcohol related offenses, you are not eligible for the Air Traffic Controller, Aircrewman, EOD, Gunner’s Mate, Hospital Corpsman, Diver, Special Warfare Operator, or the Special Warfare Boat Operator, Mineman, Master-at-Arms, Sonar Technician (Surface) ratings.

    With four total charges, the Intel rating’s security manager would need to review your record before you could be considered for them; they can be pretty strict as you can imagine.

    Once you are in the Navy, the waivers you may have required don’t keep following you unless you become a discipline problem while serving as your preservice history may be considered during NJP when/if consideration of administrative discharge is warranted.

    Also, all enlistment waivers (medical, conduct, dependency, etc.) and untimely discharges (reasons for) are compiled and evaluated (this is statistical — no name attached) over time to determine whether patterns arise. Those patterns are ultimately used to determine what can receive waiver consideration. I discussed this a few years ago when a high profile person was discharged for cause.

  47. Mike says:

    I want to know if I would be able to re-enlist with a completed first offender charge after it’s has cleared on my record?

  48. NCCM(Ret) says:


    For military enlistment purposes, any adversely adjudicated charge is just like a guilty finding by a jury. It doesn’t matter if the charge is later expunged, sealed, or whatever after the fact. Having to complete a first offender program is an adverse adjudication — your charge must be listed and considered. What were you charged with at arrest (not what it may have been later plead to)?

  49. Michael says:


    I REALLY want to join the navy. I got into a lot of trouble while I was in college. I have 1 theft by unauthorized Taking, 1 theft unauthorized use, 3x criminal Tresspassing, & 2 Criminal Mischief. What are my chances of getting in? I have always wanted to join the military since I was a youngster. But I was convinced that college was the best way. That was a joke. Lol.

  50. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I count at least five Misconduct Offenses; a waiver is not authorized for more than four.

  51. Michael says:


    So does that mean I can not Join the Navy?

  52. NCCM(Ret) says:


    With three criminal trespass, one theft by taking, and anther theft via unauthorized use, that is five Misconduct Offenses — a waiver to join the military with five misconduct Offenses is not authorized by the Department of Defense.

    Secondly, if either of your theft charges are for a property value above $500, that would make that charge a Major Misconduct Offense. If you have a Major Misconduct Offense, you can only have a maximum of two other adversely adjudicated offenses; beyond that number you would not be eligible for waiver consideration.

    If my assumptions based on what you wrote are correct, you cannot join; however, I always recommend that you bring your court records into a recruiter for review.

  53. Michael says:


    My thefts were under $500. I’m on probation right now so I cannot do anything right now but my recruiter says “he thinks it will not be a problem since there not drug/alcohol or aggression related charges. It will be up to the commander to approve of me.” Why would he say that them?

  54. Michael says:


    All of my charges are listed under misconduct list. None of them are major misconduct.

  55. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You would need to ask your recruiter. If you have five adversely adjudicated Misconduct Offenses, a waiver is not authorized per COMNAVCRUITCOMINST 1130.8K (change 1), Exhibit 020801 on page 206 (the chart in the article is a direct reflection of the chart in the instruction). I recommend that he breakdown and evaluate each offense and compare it to that chart (Exhibit) — something I cannot do without the police records and details; however, your recruiter can. Again, I can only go by what you have stated here, and based on that, I provided my input.

  56. Michael says:


    Ok, thank you for your input.

  57. Kagen says:

    Hello when I was 14 I skipped school with older kids and they started a fire I could have stopped it when it started but I didn’t. They started another fire as I was putting out the first one. The police showed up as I was putting the second fire out. Everyone ran and I got scared and ran as well but got caught. It ended up getting expunged. I am now trying to enlist into the Army but I have to get a waiver. I took the ASVAB and scored a 76. Am I still qualified to join?

  58. NCCM(Ret) says:


    What were you charged with? Assuming two counts of arson, that would be two Major Misconduct Offenses (whether something is expunged or not is totally irrelevant). I have no idea whether or not the Army would consider a waiver for even a single Major Misconduct Offense at this time.

  59. Edward says:

    I was arrested for domestic violence I went to court they reduced it to that any felony battery then after I did that PTI they dropped the charge so I’m not convicted I’m not adjudicated Nora adjudicated withheld what are my chances that’s still joining the Army

  60. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You would have to ask the Army, but since the charge was initially a felony, assuming I am reading your comment correctly, and later reduced, it will more than likely be considered a Major Misconduct Offense — I know the Navy will not consider an Major Misconducts right now, but I am not sure about the Army. They will need to read all of your police and court records to make a determination.

  61. Joseph says:

    How far back does the background check go pertaining to the crime and arrest section of OPNAVINST 1420.1B? Do I have to list things that happened a decade ago?

  62. NCCM(Ret) says:


    All accessions and accession (commissioning, affiliation, and enlistment) programs require that your history since birth be reflected in the application (SF-86). For future security investigations post enlistment or commissioning, other time frames less than that may be required depending on the level of clearance required. So, yes, things that happened even as far back as a decade ago must be included. “From birth to present”

Leave a Reply

Before asking a question, please read the article and comments -- your question may already be answered! Here is a site search to assist you:

A Navy recruiting blog that delves into the military enlistment process and benefits of service. This is NOT an official United States Navy or government web site. The opinions expressed are my own, and may not be in-line with any branches of the government or military.

©Navy Cyberspace. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, content written by Thomas Goering, NCCM USN(RET).

Terms of Service and Privacy Policy