Joining the Military with a juvenile record advice/help

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by aspiringrecruit, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. aspiringrecruit

    aspiringrecruit New Member

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    Hi, I am a junior in high school that made one awful mistake and it is costing me a lot. I recently received informal probation from the local probation office for assisting in a burglary. I drove my "friends" at the time, to a empty house that they proceeded to rob. I accepted money that they took. I was pressured into it and my officer understands I am a good kid and made a horrible mistake which is why it went down to informal probation. I have no past history and live in a very respectable strict household. I am a good student (3.9 GPA and 1260 SAT) I run track and was in contact with West Point running related but realize my dream is now crushed by that. But I still want to serve my nation more than anything. I am in good physical shape and could probably score around 280 or higher on the PT army test. I love our nations military history and want to join as infantry. Is there anyway I could still become a ranger or special forces? please give me as much info as possible. I want to get the point across how much I want to serve and am willing to give up any high level college scholarship to serve. It is my dream to be a ranger or special forces and I will do anything that I possibly can to achieve this. Could the military understand I made an awful mistake I regret everyday and that is not a reflection of my true character and that I could make a great solider that would sacrifice it all? Sorry for long post. Just need help.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
  2. jagger19

    jagger19 Member

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    Officership may be difficult for you to achieve, but I would certainly contact your local recruiting office. Let them know that you understand the gravity of your mistake (I will emphasize that burglary is a rather big deal,) but that you want to make amends and serve your country. If the Army doesn't wind up working out, look into the Marines.

    As far as going Ranger and SF goes... good luck. Becoming a Ranger is tough work (and that is an understatement) and becoming a Green Beret is an order of magnitude harder than becoming a Ranger. Getting a slot to Ranger school is fairly difficult as it is, but I would look in RASP. Discuss this more with your recruiter, though, as they will know more about what your best options are.
     
  3. aspiringrecruit

    aspiringrecruit New Member

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    Thank you sir.
     
  4. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 SUNY 15, D-USAFA '15 TTUHSC '20 5-Year Member

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    Allot depends on the definition of a juvenile offender in the state where you live. If you were a juvenile (example 16yoa or under in Texas) at the time of the offense that record should be sealed once you become an adult. Meaning - it's nobody's business. The only way anyone could find out about it is you tell them.
    Most employment applications only ask about offenses committed as an adult. You made a bad decision but move on.
     
  5. brovol

    brovol Member

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    By your description, I assume that the judge, for one reason or another, took your plea under advisement, and is considering expunging it at some point. This would be a big deal under the circumstances, as that is a very serious crime. If he took the matter under advisement, and ultimately dismisses the charge based on successful completion of a probation term, you would not have a formal record of conviction. This would likely make all the difference in the world for enlistment purposes, as it would not likely disqualify you. As for the Academy, however, you would have to disclose the offense, and I am confident this would be a disqualifying event. At least I hope it would for the academies sake; no offense.

    Juvenile judges have a lot of discretion in these cases, and can if they wish give a juvenile offender a free bite at the Apple. That is a pretty serious felony though, and in my courtroom I probably would not consider something where the offender does not end up with a permanent conviction.

    What bothers me a bit is that you seem to mitigate your culpability in the event. You are an active participant in the crime, and profited from it as well. This is more than just an isolated moment of poor judgement. It was calculated. You need to own what you did internally and outwardly. To do otherwise is a poor reflection on your character.

    I'm not trying to dress you down, but rather encourage you to learn from the event. I'm sure you feel like you have learned a lot from the experience, but for this to be a true character builder you need to 100% accept and own your involvement. You decided to hang with the people you were with at that time of the crime, probably knowing what type of choices they tend to make in their life. You decided to participate in a very serious felony, and one that has victims. You decided to accept the profits from the crime. You were an accessory and an accomplice both before, during, and after the fact.

    One incident in a young person's life should not define that person. Unfortunately though, one like this can have permanent and long-lasting effects on a future. The key to success thereafter is taking responsibility, and moving forward always in a positive direction. If my guess is correct, based on what you have said, the juvenile judge may be giving you a golden opportunity. If the judge is doing that, it is likely because you are deserving of such consideration, and that is a positive reflection. Take advantage. I have had a number of juvenile offenders in my courtroom who have proven to themselves, the court, and others that their poor judgment was fact isolated, and have gone on to great things. The military is a great place to start.

    Good luck.
     
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  6. BSCAR

    BSCAR Member

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    As others have said, there are a lot of variables involved here. Don't count yourself out until you're out. I had to work through something similar with my application and it ended up being fine. What you have to understand is that all teenage boys are idiots. That's not to minimize or negate what you've done, but just realize that everyone is human and that no one is actively looking to keep you out of USMA.

    I have some experience navigating this type of thing; if you want my help, PM me and I'll be happy to give it. Just be aware that I haven't been appointed yet and in all likelihood will not be appointed this year.
     
  7. Jcc123

    Jcc123 5-Year Member

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    Keep in mind the military can see sealed records. You will never be able to answer "no" to the questions regarding arrests and convictions, even if
    your record is expunged - that does not mean it never happened.

    What was the actual crime with which you were charged? Is it a felony? Remember that the charge is what matters to the Army, not what it was plead down to. That is more important in determining your eligibility to enlist than any statement of regret or character references, etc.

    Personally, I'd be shocked if you get within 10' of a commissioning program. If it was not a felony, you've got a decent shot at enlistment. If it was, you may have to wait until the next surge. Either way, best of luck to you. It's a shame that poor judgement as a teenager has such lifelong consequences, but as of right now, there are plenty of people who haven't been convicted of serious crimes to meet the needs of the Army.
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    I just wanted to emphasize, as Jcc123 points out above, that the military can see sealed records, and when doing criminal background/security checks they will see them. Always tell the truth. You cannot hide this stuff.

    Also, someone should know whereof they speak prior to posting.
     
  9. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 SUNY 15, D-USAFA '15 TTUHSC '20 5-Year Member

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    kinnem, hey, thanks for the smack down. Obviously honesty is the best policy for the OP but I will try to explain my earlier post.

    In Texas your juvenile arrest information is maintained by the Texas DPS and entered into the Juvenile Justice Information System. It is true that this arrest information can be accessed by military investigators but only with the written permission of the juvenile offender. (Texas Family Code) Juvenile law is so restrictive in Texas we can't even write a juvenile a citation anymore. Try to enforce state law on a school campus? Good luck. I remember the days of getting calls from attorneys wanting to know that if their client and my suspect joined the military would I ask the DA's office to drop the charges. That was way before downsizing.

    An Austin attorney named Betty Rodriguez has written a very informative piece titled "Joining the military with a juvenile record." Her article and my work experience deals only with Texas. Aspiringrecruit, lots of good info in this article but the law is obviously different from state to state. Do
    your homework. Here's a summary from the article:

    In Texas, information regarding a juvenile’s delinquent conduct is entered into the Juvenile Justice Information System (JJIS). The JJIS is a computerized database maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety and is the point of entry for juvenile justice information into the FBI Interstate Identification Index (III), a database that stores criminal history record information. JJIS maintains only information relating to delinquent conduct that if committed by an adult would constitute a criminal offense of class B misdemeanor or higher. These records include but are not limited to biographical data, fingerprints, referral history (including the level and degree of the alleged offense), specific information regarding the adjudication and disposition, and a description of each appellate proceeding. The information in JJIS is not public but may be accessed by certain agencies identified by statute. Information can be disseminated to military personnel with permission of the juvenile. DPS may also release information to the military that is restricted with written permission of the juvenile who is applying for enlistment. The information in the JJIS is subject to sealing. Once DPS receives a sealing order, all information is completely removed from the criminal history database. DPS will then send an electronic message to the FBI to have the juvenile’s information removed from the Interstate Identification Index system. DPS will also follow up by sending the FBI a copy of the sealing order. Subsequently, if the military requests records that have been sealed, they will receive notice that no records exist.

    Unfortunately for the OP in Texas burglary is higher than a class B misdemeanor. Actually just about everything in higher than a class B. But he can still get his records sealed which means nobody can see them.

    But here's the catch in Texas. You have to petition the court to seal your record and you have to meet certain criteria to have it done. (No other arrests, no cases pending, two years since the arrest, etc.) If you don't get your record sealed anyone doing a criminal history check will see the arrest. It also means if you are arrested as an adult, say ten years from now your juvenile record will also be seen. Cheap advice, even if the military is not going to happen for you try to protect your future and have the juvenile record sealed.

    As I posted earlier, you made a bad decision but move on. And that probably means from the military. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    It wasn't meant as anything personal but the kids on this forum rely on us to post accurate information. On many occasions I don't post an answer because I'm not certain. I am pretty confident, but not certain, that the military has one sign all relevant forms to allow sealed records to be opened when they do their security checks, so it would come up at some point in one's career. I also wanted to make sure kids reading this a year or three from now are not mislead.
     
  11. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 SUNY 15, D-USAFA '15 TTUHSC '20 5-Year Member

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    From kinnem:

    "Also, someone should know whereof they speak prior to posting."

    Exactly.

    "It wasn't meant as anything personal but the kids on this forum rely on us to post accurate information."

    Ditto, but I guess I am getting too sensitive in my old age.

    Under Texas state law - once the record is sealed - it's gone. If a military investigator petitions the state to see a juvenile record that has been sealed the response from the state will be - No records found. We wouldn't want juvenile offenders to turn 17 and have them labeled as criminals.

    And finally for Aspiringrecruit. Always tell the truth. But, you may think that because you never really entered the burglarized residence and you just drove your "friends" there that you never really participated in the crime. You may have heard this news story from last month. In Oklahoma a homeowner shot and killed three suspects who were burglarizing his home. The getaway driver, a female who never entered the residence, was charged with the murder of her three accomplices and three counts of residential burglary. Gotta love Oklahoma law. Cuts down on recidivism.
     
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  12. Longislanderinthesouth

    Longislanderinthesouth Member

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    This thread has bothered me for the last day or so. The OP made a terrible decision to participate in a crime. I don't want to beat anyone up over their past bad decisions as we have all made a few. But this one was VERY bad.

    It reminds me of the story of NFL player Sean Taylor. Some teenagers decided to rob his house because they thought he would be at an away game. He was injured, did not play in the game, and was home. He surprised the thieves and one of them had a gun and shot him. He died.

    The OP is very fortunate that this ended without someone losing their life. But it's still serious. Good grades does not make up for this kind of mistake. I'm not sure if USMA would have access to a sealed juvenile record, but my common sense tells me that the OP should have a plan B, as this is just more than a youthful indiscretion. I always believe that teenagers should get the benefit of the doubt because it's not the smartest time in our lives. However, I believe that more than a year or two may be needed to demonstrate that this was a bad moment in an otherwise good life. Try to get into WP, but if rejected, live an exemplary life going to civilian college so you can recover from this. Just my humble opinion.
     
  13. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 SUNY 15, D-USAFA '15 TTUHSC '20 5-Year Member

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    Well stated Longislanderinthesouth.

    Hey, I can use the same handle having left the south shore of LI in 1975. But what also bothers me about this story is that the OP benefitted monetarily from the burglary. Where did the cash come from? Did they grab money from the house? They may have either pawned stolen property or traded it on the street. And my experience has been that most offenders commit property crimes to get drug money. The OP was probably hanging around with some really bad people. My experience also tells me that this may have not been the OP's first trip to the rodeo with his friends. It's always remorse time after you're caught.
     
  14. brovol

    brovol Member

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    Burglary is both an act of invasion, and a crime of theft, which is dishonesty. While I, as a judge who handles juvenile cases, believe that kids deserve a second chance, or even a third chance sometimes, there are far too many exceptionally qualified kids applying to service academies who have never been even charged with a crime, or done anything illegal, for the academies to accept those who have. It's not hard to stay out of trouble, and the overwhelming majority of academy applicants don't have to explain their conduct, or ask for admissions people to overlook even isolated incidents of poor judgement or character. Actions have consequences. Good actions have good consequences, and bad actions have bad consequences. You live with the choices you make.
     
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  15. Mlt852

    Mlt852 Member

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    Regardless of whether sealed records can be accessed or not, when a background investigator contacts family/friends/relatives and asks if there's ever been criminal activity...if you answered "no" because the records are sealed, and someone answers 'you know there was that one time..." will DQ a security clearance
     
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