Can A Civilian Misdemeanor Conviction Get You Kicked Out of the Military?

Can A Civilian Misdemeanor Conviction Get You Kicked Out of the Military?

Being in the military comes with rules and requirements to always hold higher moral standards than the average citizen. But what if you had a civilian misdemeanor conviction in the past? Will that get you kicked out of the military?

The short answer is: civilian misdemeanor convictions will not automatically lead to your dismissal from the military. While it’s a serious matter, the outcome isn’t always that straightforward. There are various factors at play that determine the consequences of such a conviction on your military service.

San Diego military defense lawyer Aaron Meyer says while military personnel facing disciplinary action are provided with free military lawyers, it is typically beneficial to hire defense lawyers who are civilian military attorneys. 

In this article, we will be looking at how a misdemeanor conviction can impact your military career.


Potential Impact on Military Service

Having a civilian misdemeanor can affect your military service in various ways. One significant impact is the potential for disciplinary actions within the military itself. If your misdemeanor reflects poorly on your character or violates military conduct standards, you may face consequences such as reprimands, loss of privileges, or even discharge. A misdemeanor can also hinder your chances of receiving security clearances necessary for certain military occupations.

What’s more is a civilian misdemeanor can lead to challenges in obtaining promotions or specialized training opportunities within the military. Commanders may view individuals with misdemeanor records as less reliable or trustworthy, affecting their prospects for career advancement. 

But, what happens if you get a misdemeanor while in the military? Bear in mind that there are misdemeanors that will end your military career almost instantly. This includes domestic violence, DUI, offenses involving children, seniors and those with limited mental capacity as well as forgery.

Evaluation of Misdemeanor Conviction

When assessing a misdemeanor conviction’s impact on your military service, consider how it may influence your career progression and deployment opportunities. A misdemeanor on your record could potentially hinder your chances of promotion or limit the types of assignments you can undertake. 

Certain positions within the military require security clearances or have specific conduct standards, and a misdemeanor conviction may disqualify you from eligibility. If your role involves handling sensitive information or working in high-security areas, a misdemeanor could raise concerns about your reliability and trustworthiness.

Disciplinary Actions and Discharge

Facing disciplinary actions in the military due to a misdemeanor conviction can lead to potential discharge from service. Depending on the severity of the offense and the military branch’s policies, you may face various consequences.

Disciplinary actions could range from reprimands and fines to reduction in rank or pay, extra duties, or confinement. These penalties can impact your military career and future prospects within the armed forces.

If the misdemeanor conviction is serious or part of a pattern of misconduct, you might face administrative separation or a general discharge under honorable conditions. In more severe cases, a special or general court-martial could result in a dishonorable discharge, which carries significant long-term consequences.

It’s crucial to take any disciplinary actions seriously and seek guidance from your chain of command or legal assistance to understand your rights and options. Addressing the situation promptly and professionally may help mitigate the potential impact on your military career. 

Remember, the actions you take following a misdemeanor conviction could significantly influence the outcome and your future in the military.

Legal Assistance and Defense Options

When facing a civilian misdemeanor charge that could affect your military career, seeking legal assistance is crucial. The military provides legal assistance services that can offer guidance on how to handle the situation and may even provide representation depending on the circumstances.

Defense options may vary depending on the nature of the misdemeanor. It’s essential to consult with a military defense attorney who understands the implications of civilian legal matters on military service. They can help you understand the legal system and work towards the best possible outcome.

In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate for a reduced charge or explore alternatives to conviction, such as diversion programs or community service. By proactively addressing the civilian misdemeanor charge with the help of legal professionals, you can potentially mitigate its impact on your military career.


A civilian misdemeanor conviction can potentially lead to disciplinary actions or discharge from the military. It’s important to seek legal assistance and explore defense options if you find yourself in this situation.

Factors such as the nature of the offense and your overall conduct will influence the decision on whether or not you’ll be allowed to continue serving in the military. Take this matter seriously and seek guidance in order to address the consequences of your conviction.

Leave a Reply