By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Joining the military can be a great way to serve your country and find a new meaning or direction in life. I know because I’m a former Army Field Artillery Officer.
It can be frustrating when you’re trying to join the army and you’re facing criminal charges.
My first suggestion for anyone trying to join when facing criminal charges is to visit with your recruiter about what will or will not be acceptable to the military on your criminal record or as far as completing civilian probation. As a lawyer licensed in the State of Texas, I am simply not in a position to advise people of current U.S. Armed forces policy on recruitment. I know from my own military experience that policies can and do change frequently with regards to eligibility. Your recruiter should be up to date on military side of the equation or at the very least knows how to quickly get the answer.
My experience is that there are generally two main hurdles to overcome. First is whether the charges you are facing disqualify you altogether from military service and the second is whether, if the military is okay with your record, whether they can accept you if you are placed on probation.
Your lawyer should communicate directly with your recruiter so that your lawyer knows exactly what is needed on the criminal side of the equation to assist you in joining. The answer may be that a deal needs to be structured in a certain way with the prosecutor or the answer may be that you need to fight the charges aggressively.
I would not put your recruiter directly in contact with the prosecutor without your lawyer being in the loop. Prosecutors and recruiters, well meaning as they may be, have the potential to over-look important long-term consequences to quick and easy deals that solve short-term problems.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction directly.