Do Felons Get Drafted?

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You might think that it isn’t possible for anyone to be drafted nowadays. Well, that’s not true during times when the draft is active.

The question is whether or not felons get drafted. We’ll look at that issue here.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:

  • About the Military Draft
  • Requirements to Be Drafted
  • Background Check?
  • Felony Waiver
  • Steps to Take

About the Military Draft

The military draft is a form of conscription, which is a mandatory enlistment, typically in the military.

The term draft has a long history. It had its origins during the French Revolution in the 1790s.

In the U.S., provisions for a military draft were established during the Civil War with the first conscription service being started then. It continued until 1918 after the end of World War I.

The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 re-instituted the draft prior to World War II. This was the first peacetime draft. This draft was active until 1973.

There is still a military draft, it just isn’t active any longer. Enacting the military draft can be accomplished by a Congressional vote and presidential approval.

Requirements to Be Drafted

The way the draft procedure works is that all males upon reaching their 18th birthday must sign up for Selective Service, as the draft is commonly known. You will remain on the draft rolls after that, though the age range that is typically used is 18-25.

Whenever the draft is active, you can be called to military service typically after your 20th birthday and before you turn 26. Only in times of an active draft and an extreme wartime emergency would you be called after you turn 26. The law requires you to report after receiving your notice. It is a violation of the law not to report. 

Just because you might have a felony conviction on your record would not prevent you from receiving a draft notice in times of war and when the draft is active.

Now we know that felons get drafted, so we could stop here. However, let’s follow this out to see what happens to felons who get drafted.

Background Check?

Just because you may be called as a result of a military draft does not mean that you will automatically be accepted. Once selected, you must still pass a background check before your military service could begin.

This may be one occasion when you are pleased that there is a background check and hope you don’t pass. Of course, this depends on your views of military service.

You may hope that you pass if you are in agreement with military duty and this method of selection.

This background check will look at a variety of factors related to your criminal record. This will be completed before you are formally inducted into the military.

This check will look for misdemeanor crimes as a juvenile along with whether or not you have multiple traffic offenses. The military will look for any felony convictions you have on your record as an adult. The background check will be rather strict. A typical military background check involves taking fingerprints and investigating as far back as 10 years looking for convictions.

If the background check does not reveal any offenses that would eliminate you from consideration, you will be judged as morally fit to serve in the military.

You must be honest in reporting any crimes, felony or misdemeanor. This includes any that are expunged, sealed, or that occurred when you were a juvenile.

To not report these types of crimes will result in denial of your acceptance into the military and could result in felony charges against you. Of course, if you already have a felony record, you could go back to prison. It’s best to be honest from the start.

Wow! Who would have thought that all this could come from being drafted?

Felony Waiver

It is still possible to be approved for military service with a felony conviction. The type of felony does make a difference here.

You might be dismissed due to your conviction, but there is a provision in the military regulations that you might be able to obtain a waiver that could permit you to be accepted. It will depend on the crime that is involved. This will of course depend on how serious the offense is, the circumstances, and the current needs of the military.

Typically, waivers are needed in different circumstances. These include such areas as having:

  • Five to nine minor traffic offenses
  • Two to five serious traffic offenses that were serious
  • Class 1 minor non-traffic offenses (two or more)
  • Class 2 minor non-traffic offenses (two to nine)
  • Serious offenses (two to five)
  • One felony

Two felonies will eliminate you.

If there is a single felony, it will make a difference what the felony is. Not all felonies will be eligible to be dismissed through waivers.

An extremely serious offense like murder will end any opportunity to be accepted. Another felony that is serious enough to eliminate you is a drug trafficking charge. Other felonies that could prove to be challenging for you are if you have a sexual offense or a violent felony. 

These represent crimes against persons that are often roadblocks to many types of jobs in addition to military enlistment. If you get past all of that, your draft notice could get you into the military.

Steps to Take

If you have your record expunged, this could make a huge difference. Of course, it will depend on whether or not you are eligible to have your record expunged.

For questions about this, you could contact an attorney.

While you might have mixed feelings about being drafted for the military in the event of the draft being restarted, knowing how the process works and what would make you eligible for being accepted would be helpful.

So take the steps you need to in order to be prepared. It is another sign of your progress following your conviction and completing your sentence.

It is still important to remember that you aren’t defined by your mistakes but in how you recover from them. Keep this in mind in your efforts to lead an honest life.

Maybe being drafted in the event of conflict isn’t the worst thing.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of being drafted with a felony? What was like, and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.

About the author

After earning his MBA from Benedictine University, Ron was looking for a new challenge and stumbled on the idea of helping the formerly incarcerated.

Using what he learned, Ron developed this website as a free resource and has worked with his team​ to continue answering questions for those in need.

8 thoughts on “Do Felons Get Drafted?”

  1. No! Many guy got felony that had consequences for life . Low level felony take away job opportunity , vote, … lif long penalty. Prob wont get in military during peace . But now since its a war an felon can be killed they can wave

  2. Yes! I do at a certain severity of criteria of a felony charge, at a certain point in a person’s life they do find that they were in the wrong and that they learned their lessons. I agree but also disagree at the certain severity of the criminal activity told at oath. I would disagree with the fact a felon was a repeated offender on the occasion of time, I would also look at the stat of judgments taking in affect when that felon absconded. We can not afford for our troops to “AWOL” when they feel it’s convenient for them, but in all judgments will be passed depending on the severity of the war to come.

  3. Felon’s should not be drafted! You stripped there gun rights away. Know you want to give them back because of a draft, b fn s! Just remember, the government didn’t give us right to bear arms, there for they have no rights to take it from you. 2 amendment is so full of crap! Our polititions are so corrupt!

  4. I could really care less. I mean there are certain offenses that I would most certainly say no to. Being a rapist and sex offender. But I have noticed that quite a few of our service members have been brought up on felony charges, served time and have been dishonorably discharged. So really what does that say about our military? J/S

  5. I’m a convicted felon with a P.O.M. and am trying again to join so bad I love my country and made a huge mistake at my late teens…

  6. Yes they should be givin a chance. If the have a single felony nobody is the same and people do change and shouldnt be defined but there mistake. Because we all deserve a chance! I have a felony and i live a very responcible life now. Im just as anyone else deserving of a chance to serve are country. Iv made a mistake in my past but should it affect my life like that even though i paid the price already 15 years ago

  7. I am a second degree felon out of portage county Ohio, I got charged with something I didn’t even do. I was charged as a felon because I was with the wrong crowd at the wrong time. I served my time. I served my 5 year probation term. Since 2013 I’ve been a completely different person and Take my life very serious. I have two daughters I love with my whole heart and would do absolutely anything to protect them.

    I’m sure there’s an upcoming war with Iran, possibly others as well. I feel that anyone willing to stay clean after all they have done should deserve a second chance. I really regret my past but there’s not much I can do about my past it’s more about how I use my time and spend it in the near future to better myself and become more of a independent and productive man. (Anyone with a non-violent felony possibly small misdemeanors should get a second chance and should have the opportunity to get drafted.)


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