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Can I join the military if I have a juvenile record, although now an adult?

Evansville, IN |

When 16, my son ran away from home and I filed a runaway with the police. He was found 2 days later and brought home. The following day, he didn't come home from school, and I filed again. He voluntarily came home late that night, and I called to let them know he was home. They showed up to "arrest him" (depending on his reaction, they would decide to arrest him or not - "scared straight" tactic). He was not arrested, and was told if he didn't get in anymore trouble, nothing would happen. It did show up as him having a "juvenile record" so the Air Force said he could not join (he was still 17 when signing up). He is now 18 - can he sign up and join the military without this affecting him?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. This is not quite a legal question as it is a question for a recruiter for Air Force, or any military service. However, from your description of events, it does not seem that your son was ever convicted of anything, but merely quasi arrested. I will also tell you that I served along with others in the Marine Corps who had criminal records, as well as represented military members who had been convicted prior to enlistment. This is all to say that prior convictions are not an absolute bar to joining the service. Good luck. Gerry


  2. He should talk to a recruiter again.
    The military is in a drawdown so waivers are less likely to be granted and they are being more rigid on background checks.
    Perhaps now, if he's shown more maturity they might be willing to let him enlist.

    www.court-martial.com; www.court-martial.us.com; mljucmj@gmail.com 703-298-9562, 800-401-1583. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  3. Its all up the the recruiters--not the lawyers.

    Recommend your son talk to an AF recruiter in an AF station not in the same AF recruiting organizational chain of command (that will require a bit of research on your/his part) as the last station that declined to enlist him; go in on the second to last working day of the month--that will be his best possible timing—when recruiters MAY consider candidates they’d pass on otherwise.
    That said, it’s a tough time to be enlisting if the candidate has any issues (and running away MAY suggest issues not associated with the police activity). Best of luck to your son.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I am providing educational instruction only--not legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.

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