Navy Cyberspace Submarine Website Header

Felonies and Very Serious Misdemeanors

Major Misconduct

Published: May 23rd, 2010
Updated: April 8, 2015

Not an all inclusive list, but should help you figure out how you charges may effect your enlistment, and who the waiver authority may be when you use the conduct waiver guide.

An offense is classified a Major Misconduct, “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.

Major Misconduct Examples

Aggravated assault, assault with a dangerous weapon, maiming.
Arson.
Attempt to commit a felony.
Breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony.
Bribery.
Burglary.
Car jacking.
Carnal knowledge of a child.
Carrying of weapon on school grounds. (firearm)
Check, worthless, making or uttering, with intent to defraud or deceive (over $500).
Child abuse.
Child pornography.
Conspiring to commit a felony.
Criminal libel.
Domestic battery/violence, as defined under the Lautenberg Amendment.
Embezzlement.
Extortion.
Forgery; knowingly uttering or passing forged instrument. (except for altered identification cards)
Grand larceny/larceny (value over $500).
Grand theft auto.
Hate crimes.
Illegal/fraudulent use of a credit card, bank card, or automated card (value of $500 or more).
Indecent acts or liberties with a child, molestation.
Indecent assault.
Kidnapping; abduction.
Mail matters: abstracting, destroying, obstructing; opening, secreting, stealing or taking.
Manslaughter.
Murder.
Narcotics, or habit forming drugs; wrongful possession or use. (marijuana not included)
Negligent/vehicle homicide.
Perjury; subornation of perjury.
Possession or intent to use materials in a manner to make a bomb or explosive device to cause bodily harm or destruction of property.
Public record: altering, concealing, destroying, mutilating, obliterating, or removing.
Rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse, incest, or other sex crimes.
Riot.
Robbery, to include armed.
Sale, distribution, or trafficking (including “intent to”) of marijuana or any controlled substance. (Mandatory rejection)
Sodomy.
Stolen property, knowingly receiving (value over $500).
Terrorist threats including bomb threats.
Violation of civil rights.


A major misconduct offense, generally, when the maximum confinement under local law for the offense is one year or more.



449 Responses to “Major Misconduct”


  1. Johnny:

    I’m 24 years old, and when I was 17 years old I got in trouble with the law. I went to court all charges were dismissed except two of them, they were conspiracy and false information. i received one year of probation and i had to finish high school which i did. I pass the ASVAB and took my physical at MEPS but my question is do i have to tell my recruiter that i have my juvenile record expunged and all charges were a misdemeanor? would they accept me in the military?

  2. NCCM(ret):

    Johnny,

    Yes, you need to tell your Recruiter about your past charges. Expunged records still exist, and the record will be found during a background check. Whether the military excepts you will be based on many factors including your past criminal history.

  3. C:

    I was convicted of a felony 10 years ago when i was 18, i was young a stupid! i had 6 months of probation and Since then i have not been in trouble. what are my odds of being able to enlist ?

  4. NCCM(ret):

    C,

    Your chances hinge on many factors including the charge – follow the moral waiver guide link in the post for more information.

  5. Sean M.:

    I passed the ASVAB with a 39 AFQT score and my question is that am I eligible for a waiver? When I was 18 was charged but never convicted of Unlawfully Sexaul intercourse. I was 18 and she was 15 at the time. I was placed on a 18 month diversionary period which I completed. Unpon completion of that the case was dismissed by the judge.

  6. NCCM(ret):

    Sean,

    As long as you are otherwise qualified, your court documents will have to be submitted to Navy Recruiting’s legal department, via your recruiter, for a determination if further processing is possible. Keep in mind, as far as the military is concerned, because you completed the diversionary period, you are considered guilty of the charge, regardless of the courts actions after completion.

  7. joshua:

    ok i read the link…i was arrested for selling pot 10 years ago…the judge reduced it to pos.of marijuana…i did probation and imoved on with my life…i was stupid but i did it and i cant change it….but what i can change is the future and i want theopportunity to serve my country now and make up for the stupid childish things i did. i believe i am a fine citizen and desearve this. can i join?

  8. NCCM(ret):

    Joshua,

    Any possession of marijuana charge that has selling or distribution associated with it is permanently disqualifying, no waivers are authorized – no matter how long ago the incident may have occurred.

  9. Joe:

    Convicted of Burglary felony at 18. Now 42 and received full pardon in 1994. I have been on several fire departments and an officer with the US navy’s youth program. However, I am now considering joining the USCGAUX. With documentation on the pardon, should I be able to join?

  10. NCCM(ret):

    Joe,

    I have no knowledge of the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s entry requirements. Their web site doesn’t discuss qualifications – I wish I could be more help. When you do find the answer, I’d be interested to know.

    Thank you for your service as a First Responder!

  11. joe:

    I was charged with larceny by employee when I was 18 I’m 24 now it was a dumb thing but it was considered a felony in that particular state it was 238 dollars I wasn’t convicted but did serve community service and was put on probation until I completed the community. Service. I finished this years ago , that’s the only thing on my rap sheet ever

  12. NCCM(ret):

    Joe,

    If it is determined to be a Major Misconduct offense, then you are currently ineligible until the Navy lifts its moratorium on such waivers.

  13. joanne:

    when i was 20,i got arrest for burglary, but release the next day, didn’t know i had court date, so 3 year later there a warrant for my arrest, i surrender myself in court. got a public defender and plead not quilty, and case was dismissed. can i get a wavier for this matter?

  14. NCCM(ret):

    Joanne,

    Interesting. If the courts dismissed it unconditionally, then you should be OK, but as in all felony cases, your court documents will have to be sent to Navy Recruiting legal (via the recruiter) for a determination.

  15. Jay:

    Hi im currently being wanted for burglary but im in a different country at this time is there anyway i would be eligible to join the navy without being arrested at the airport when i arrive to U.S.A?

  16. NCCM(ret):

    Jay,

    No. You must clear up your charge first – I suggest going to the US Embassy there in Dubai and turn yourself in.

  17. Alan:

    HI,

    When I was 17 I was charged as a juvenile of sexual misconduct is there any way I can join any branch of the military?

  18. Alan:

    Its a misdemeanor in the state of Alabama.

  19. NCCM(ret):

    Alan,

    What was the specific charge, and was it considered a felony?

  20. NCCM(ret):

    Alan,

    If the charge is “Sexual Misconduct” and is not considered a felony, then your court records must be reviewed by Navy Recruiting Command legal for a determination.

  21. Alan:

    Thanks for your quick reply and help but I have one more question

    Does that mean they will have to prove that it really is a misdemeanor, and can the military classify it as a felony even if it is a misdemeanor?

  22. NCCM(ret):

    Alan,

    No. If the state has it as a misdemeanor, because the charge is not listed in the waiver charts, then it will be handled as a misdemeanor, BUT because the charge is sexual in nature, it has to be reviewed by legal for specifics before the waiver process can/will go forward.

  23. Alan:

    I spoke with a recruiter and was denied because they said its a felony and it can’t be waved is he blowing smoke?…and how to I contact the navy recruiting legal?

  24. NCCM(ret):

    Alan,

    If the charge was reviewed by the recruiter, he must have seen something that made him consider it a felony – that brings up a couple of questions – how do you know the charge is a misdemeanor and can the offense that you were charged with carry a sentence longer than one year? I guess there is also a third question, but doesn’t explain why the recruiter would call the charge a felony, does the local recruiting district have a moratorium on any determinations that must go to Navy Recruiting Command – there is a nationwide moratorium on waivers that must go there – this would be the first time I am hearing of one for determinations if that is the case.

  25. Alan:

    I went and spoke with a national guard recruiter without any court papers he asked if I had any criminal history I told him yes a sexual misconduct misdemeanor he showed me there enlistment standards and. “He”said it was classified as felony but sexual misconduct was not on the list just sexual abuse and sexual assualt but sexual misconduct wasn’t on there and said because the military is a federal business that state classification doesnt matter

  26. NCCM(ret):

    Alan,

    When the moratorium on Major Misconduct waivers is lifted (I assume when the economy gets a lot better than it is now), go back and reapply.

  27. Alan:

    What if the charge is not listed in the waiver charts how would the recruiter handled that. And the charge sentence does not exceed a year it is a misdemeanor and is under one year

  28. NCCM(ret):

    Alan,

    If the state statute states the MAX penalty for the crime is less than one year (not what you may have been given by the court), then it is considered a misdemeanor; that said, certain crimes, like those that may be drug or sex related, may have a local restriction – even if they are misdemeanors.

  29. Alan:

    so it will be handled as a misdemeanor?

  30. NCCM(ret):

    Alan,

    I don’t know. Sexual Misconduct can be anything – I have no idea what you did – don’t want to know. If it is like solicitation of prostitution or maybe even a result of a non-aggression sexual harassment complaint, then it would be handled as a misdemeanor, otherwise, more than likely it will be handled as a felony – because it isn’t a charge listed in the charts and it is sexual in nature it must be reviewed by Navy legal for a determination – but the recruiter does not have to forward it for review if the circumstances of the crime are obviously disqualifying or against current policy.

  31. Sean S:

    I have been back and forth with my recruiter a few times these last few months trying to get a waiver processed. I have been denied three or four times.

    Basically, I was drunk walking home from a bar and passed out in someone’s backyard. I was originally charged with burglary but the charge was dismissed and was instead convicted of a misdemeanor for trespassing which was reduced to an infraction upon completion of community service and probation.

    I have provided letters from myself, my attorney, and a few from the District Attorney explaining the process. The DA’s office went through the trouble of amending court minutes that were causing confusion. I am having the charges expunged hopefully by years’s end. I am also a college graduate and scored well on the ASVAB.

    My question is this: is there anything else I can provide the Navy that might help me receive a waiver? Would a letter from a congressman help?

  32. NCCM(ret):

    Sean S.,

    Contrary to popular belief, a letter from a congressmen or senator does absolutely nothing. The only thing they can do is make sure the process you have endured is consistent with current policy.

    Because you were initially charged with a felony, your court records have to be sent to legal for a determination. If they have determined that you are to receive waiver consideration as if it was a felony, then you are not currently eligible for waiver consideration because the Navy has a national policy in place right now that no waivers can go forward that require Commander, Navy Recruiting Command’s approval (all felonies require that level of waiver approval).

  33. Kehan T:

    Hi. I was charged with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery at 17 years old, but i summoned to court, never been arrested. now 23. recieved a continuance without a finding. are there any branches of the military still open to me if not the navy?

  34. NCCM(ret):

    Kehan,

    Your court records would have to be reviewed, and based on the details, a determination would have to be made. If you had to complete any condition placed by the court, you would not be eligible for waiver consideration until the moratorium on felony waivers is lifted..

  35. Owen:

    1. Arrested for “Breaking and Entering 3rd” and “Possesion of forged Instrument” (both felonies) as a juvenille, and the charges were lessened to misdemeanors of criminal tresspassing and theft of property.

    2. Does the Department of Navy consider original arrest report (felony) or the ruling (misdemeanor)?

    3. If by “Felony”, when do you think the moratorium for felony waivers will be changed?

    And, if so, are there any ways to utilize means to obtian such waivers?

    – Such as: 95 (or higher) on ASVAB

    – Competitive PHYSICAL FITNESS

    – An Associate Degree of Engineering Science

    Thank you for you time,

  36. NCCM(ret):

    Owen,

    Any time a felony is reduced in court to a lessor charge, Navy Recruiting Command’s legal department must review the court records. It is possible that your charges can be viewed as the lessor charges and your processing could start.

    I think the moratorium will easily stay in place for at least the remainder of this fiscal year.

  37. Owen:

    Thank you for responding to the previous question.

    Could you offer information concerning this subject?

    How would the change of the Defense Budget effect the Department of Navy’s recruiting process, pertaining to such waivers (or moral waivers in general)?

    And, would you happen to have an idea about when the best time to enlist for people who need moral waivers?

  38. NCCM(ret):

    Owen,

    The defense bill currently in being debated in the Senate will have no affect on what moral waivers can/will be considered by the military. Personally, I don’t think we will see a lifting of the moratorium for at least the next year.

  39. Mike:

    Tomorrow I will be charged for a misdemeanor robbery it was a beer run will I be able to enlist

  40. NCCM(ret):

    Mike,

    If you are guilty of robbery, no matter how the state may classify it, you would require a waiver from the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, and currently, those waivers are not being considered.

  41. D:

    Hi, I’m trying to enter the Navy ODS program. I’m going to graduate with my BSN in 6 months and I always wanted to work for the Navy. I have a record for minor in possession of alcohol and a failure to id (I told the constable I was 21). I don’t have any prior charges, this was my first arrest. One of them was dismissed right away (failure to id) and the other one (MIP) I finished the adjudification for. Is it going to be possible for me to get into the ODS program?

  42. NCCM(ret):

    D,

    I heard an unconfirmed rumor yesterday that all the nursing program seats have been filled for FY-2012 – I know the minor in possession charge will be a consideration, but if you haven’t already sought out an officer recruiter, you need to at the soonest to get the ball rolling for the FY-2013 seats that may become available.

  43. pedro:

    Quick question, when i was 13 i got 2 felonies for graffitti all i had gotten was probabtion for 3 or 4 months i tried getting a waiver for the army but the lady told the recruiter they coulnt take me at this time is there another way i can get a waiver if i get like the judge to lower it or expunge it or any other branch would probably accept me

  44. NCCM(ret):

    Pedro,

    The Navy is not allowing anyone with a previous charge that requires a waiver by the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command – those charges would include all felonies.

  45. pedro:

    ok an would u happen to know what the other branches requirements are

  46. NCCM(ret):

    Pedro,

    I do not know what the policies are for the other services, but with them all cutting back on personnel and with the economy being what it is, I would not be surprised if they had a similar policy of the Navy.

  47. brian:

    Going to be completely honest here I was in the airforce made it less than three weeks spoke with an army recruter he ran my red report and spoke with a commander they said I would be able to re enlist then he asked me about my recent background I told him I got a owi in 1999 when I got back and then got another in 05 so he walked me over to the navy recruiter they said I should be able to get a waver for both the only problem is the one in 05 my lawyer fought for the past 5 yrs back and forth I finally had to plea to it I did everything but still owe money unsupervised probation is up but now I got to go back in Feb for the in paid bills I’m just trying to fix what I screwed 12 yrs ago and bring some pride to my self what are my chances for a waver now

  48. NCCM(ret):

    Brian,

    Two OWIs require a waiver by the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command (CNRC) – currently, waivers at that level are not being entertained; however, considering you were also discharged from the Air Force (I am assuming you were discharged from boot-camp), and combined with the OWIs, I do not see you ever being able to gain positive endorsement for the required waivers to be able to join the Navy, even when the moratorium on CNRC waivers are lifted.

  49. jonas:

    Hi, my name is Jonas.. I’m 26 I’ve been wanting to enlist in the Navy for some years now.. I was unable to do so, because of my probation restrictions. In 2005 I was charged with a conspiracy to committee robbery 3rd or 4th degree.. low class felony, still none the less felony… In 2009 I was arrested for DWI, charges dropped following court orders… I have been done with probation sense January 2010, with no more arrest.. I did get a ticket for running a stop sign.. Totally my fault.. and sense the DWI I have consumed little to no Alcohol… I am now ready to enlist and need to know specifically what steps to take.. as well as what jobs would be offered for me.. and when they will be excepting waivers if and when I need one… Thank you…

  50. NCCM(ret):

    Jonas,

    Currently, the Navy is not considering waivers for felonies, but if they were, you would still have a difficult time because of the DUI charge that came after.

  51. jonas:

    Understood thank you.. do you know when they will be considering again, and what jobs would I be eligible for

  52. NCCM(ret):

    Jonas,

    I don’t think it will be until the economy picks back up – the problem is (a good problem for the Navy) that retention is very high – most are staying in. If they were getting out, seats would open up. As far as jobs, it depends on many factors like, what’s available when you join, your ASVAB score and other standards, the requirements of the rating you’re eligible for.

  53. jonas:

    Thank you for you’re time.. just one more question hopefully the last.. hypothetically speaking if or when the economy gets better. You said I’d have a difficult time getting in.. I’m assuming it is possible correct? And again please if you don’t mind my steps of action at this point

  54. NCCM(ret):

    Jonas,

    Technically, it would be possible – the other parts of your life would have to be stellar – enough really good stuff the local commanding officer could use to justify a positive waiver recommendation to the Admiral.

    Beyond introducing yourself to the local recruiter, their is not much you can do right now except stay out of trouble.

  55. Sean S:

    What would have a mitigating effect on a major misconduct violation? I posted a few months back and my plan is to reapply next year for the SEALs. Part of that plan includes volunteer service, gathering more letters of recommendation, and expunging my record and correcting some mistakes in the court minutes. Would this help?

  56. Jose:

    Sir, when I was 17 I was charged with 3 Vandalism Charges all in the same day. I have not gotten any tickets since then when I was a juvenile.Will this effect my entrance into the USMC?

  57. Jose:

    Sir, the three Tickets were all considered misdemeanors by the WC police department.

  58. NCCM(ret):

    Jose,

    If each charge required more than $500 in restitution or fine, then if you were processing for the Navy, you would need a waiver by the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command – currently, waivers that require that level of consideration are not being processed.

    I do not know if the Marine Corps have the same policy for the waiver levels which they will consider at this time.

  59. David:

    Thank you for all of this very useful information. I have been planning on applying to a Reserve Officer program, but wonder if I am qualified because of some trouble I got into when I was much younger.

    1. In 1997, when I was 20 years old, I was charged with a class D felony (attempted forgery 2nd degree) but the charge was disposed of as a non-criminal violation and a fee (disorderly conduct).

    2. In 1995, when I was 18, I was charged with larceny over $250; in that state it was considered a felony. I served community service and the charge was dismissed.

    From reading your posts, it seems that these charges may require a waiver by the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, thus making me unqualified (at least for the time being). Is this correct?

    Would the community service (not compelled by any court), education (a Masters degree in international relations, and I am currently a PhD candidate), a top-tier ASVAB, and languages (I speak 3, including Arabic) make a difference?

    Thanks again.

  60. tarrance:

    25 now. I was arrested for burglary 3rd degree when i was 17. Since then, I have gotten an expungement 3 certifications and I am 20 credit hours from receiving my my degree. Is there any hope of joining the Navy?

  61. NCCM(ret):

    Tarrance,

    As long as there is a moratorium on waivers that require approval from the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, you will not be able to process. I highly recommend that you visit your local recruiter so that if anything changes, he has your contact information.

  62. Erik:

    I wanted to know if I was wrongly arrested for a strong arm robbery , I was never convicted , they put me on this ARD program that would get my record expunged …but I never did the crime I was charged of do you think I can still enlist

  63. NCCM(ret):

    Erik,

    Because your charge will be dropped after completion of a program, for waiver purposes, you are guilty of the crime, and you would require a waiver if otherwise eligible and if allowed to process (currently, such waivers are not being entertained).

  64. Matt:

    Hi, I did not see minor consumption on the list anywhere, would that be considered misconduct or a non traffic violation

  65. NCCM(ret):

    Matt,

    Purchase, possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages or tobacco products by minor.”

  66. Gabe Moon:

    Hi,

    I am currently enlisted and have been in the National Guard for the past four years. I am finishing college this quarter and am wondering if I will be able to commission with a juvenile record. My record consists of a theft in the 3rd degree which is a misdemeanor and taking a vehicle w/o permission which is a class 3 felony. Both convictions were vacated upon successful completion of a diversion program and I do have the option of having the records destroyed. Will I need to re-submit waivers to attempt to commission into the officer corps? I also already have a secret clearance, as my MOS requires it.

  67. NCCM(ret):

    Gabe Moon,

    The Navy will be reducing the total active officer numbers by over a 1000 next year, I highly doubt they will be considering Major Misconduct waivers, but you need to talk to an officer recruiter. Secondly, having the records destroyed does not change the fact that you received an adverse adjudication for the charges; they will have to be considered regardless.

  68. Rene:

    I have a felony for burglary went i was 16 i did Probation and I havent done anything else ever since i have my GED and no college credits and im studing for the asvab im working out and im clearing a small tatoo in my lower neck do I have a chanse or Im just wasting my time?

  69. NCCM(Ret):

    Rene,

    Currently, Major Misconduct waivers are not being considered. But even in the best of times for recruiting, a Major Misconduct waiver would not be considered for a person with a Tier II (GED) education, no matter what their ASVAB score.

  70. Jim:

    Would I be able to join the Navy if I had a DUI conviction and a resisting arrest charge on my record? The resisting arrest was dropped after a period of time so I am under the assumption that the Navy would consider it a guilty and would require a waiver?

    Also if a waiver could be granted would it be wise to give my recruiter a reference letter to gie to waiver authorities?

  71. NCCM(Ret):

    Jim,

    With the two charges you mention, a waiver is possible as long as you are an otherwise fully qualified applicant (good ASVAB score, education, etc.) unless one of your charges are considered a Major Misconduct Offense or needs consideration by Navy Recruiting Command.

  72. Sean:

    Does the Navy ever take the final disposition of a case into consideration during the waiver process?

    I was charged with a felony but the case was resolved as a non-criminal trespassing violation. The district attorney has written a letter stating that the original charges should have never been filed but the Navy is still classifying it as a Major Misconduct.

    I understand the Navy needs to cut the size of the fleet but it hurts to be rejected for something you did not do.

  73. NCCM(Ret):

    Sean,

    All charges that are initially charged as a felony and were then later reduced must be reviewed and classified by the Navy Recruiting Command legal department. They review the circumstances of the case, not just the final disposition – I am assuming that happened and they decided your case to be Major Misconduct (Major Misconducts are not just felony charges) for waiver purposes.

  74. Sean:

    “Major Misconducts are not just felony charges” Do I understand this statement correctly? Can someone be charged with a misdemeanor and still be classified as a major misconduct?

  75. NCCM(Ret):

    Sean,

    That is why the classification was changed from “Felony Offenses” to “Major Misconduct Offenses”, there are some states that may classify a certain offense as a misdemeanor whereas others may classify it as a felony.

    Keep in mind, in a nut shell, the military is not just waiving the offense, but the action that lead to the offense. If you are arrested for a felony, but the district attorney reduces the offense (which often happens in plea deals), that is all well in good, but can the action itself still be considered a Major Misconduct Offense – that is what Navy Recruiting’s legal will determine.

Leave a Reply

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.

©2004-2015 Navy CyberSpace Blog

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

Terms of Service and Privacy Policy