4 Ways a Military Conviction Can Hurt Your Civilian Life

How can a military conviction affect my civilian life?

A conviction in a military court for a criminal offense can have a severe impact on your civilian life, not just your military career.

  1. A military conviction can make it difficult to obtain civilian employment

A service member who is convicted of a crime will usually be discharged from the military, either as a punishment at the court-martial or as an administrative consequence afterward. Potential employers typically ask veterans about their characterization of service, and many employers run background checks, and a less then honorable discharge will usually hurt your chances of obtaining employment.

  1. A military conviction can hurt your reputation
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While military personnel records are generally considered private information, they are often accessible by the public through the Freedom of Information Act.1 In addition, a defendant’s name can appear on military court-docket websites and, for appeals, in records that anyone can easily access without filing a FOIA request.  Some cases draw media attention, and the military frequently issues press releases about pending or recently concluded courts-martial.

  1. A military conviction may require you to register as a sex offender

Conviction of a sex offense requires a military member to register as a sex offender anywhere he lives once he gets out of the military. These registries are easily accessible by the public and generally provide information such as an offender’s address, age, the date of the offense, as well as the nature of the offense itself. Registered sex offenders have drastic limitations on where they may live and work.

  1. A military conviction could affect your eligibility for VA benefits

Service men and women who receive less than honorable discharges due to a criminal conviction may have issues obtaining United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs2 (VA) benefits as civilians. These benefits can include health care benefits, life insurance, disability compensation, education benefits, home loan guarantees, nursing home benefits, and others.

Call a civilian military criminal defense lawyer today to schedule a free case evaluation

A court-martial conviction can have a significant impact on a military member’s life, long after they have left the service. For this reason, individuals in the military that have been accused of any type of criminal offense should contact experienced military lawyers immediately. The lawyers of Gagne, Scherer & Associates, LLC are former members of the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps who understand how to provide effective criminal defense representation to service men and women accused of crimes. Call our office today at 877-867-5247  to schedule a free consultation.


1 http://www.foia.gov/
2 http://www.va.gov/