Reckless driving convictions are considered criminal charges, unlike a simple traffic violation such as speeding. This means that a conviction can create problems if you're currently serving in the military or are hoping to enlist.
How a Reckless Driving Conviction Affects Your Ability to Enlist
Each branch of the military has slightly different rules for how a reckless driving conviction affects men and women hoping to enlist.
- Air Force. If you're hoping to serve in the Air Force, keep in mind that reckless driving is a Category 4 moral offense on the same level as disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of alcohol or tobacco. You can be disqualified for having two or more Category 4 offenses within the last three years. However, a recruiting squadron commander can sometimes have the disqualification waived if your other qualifications are strong.
- Army. To serve in the Army, you need to consider your total number of misdemeanor convictions. Two or more misdemeanors require a waiver for enlistment, while four or more will disqualify you from service.
- Marines or Navy. For those who want to enlist in the Marines or Navy, misdemeanor reckless driving convictions can be waived at the district level.
Maintaining an Active Security Clearance
Those who are currently serving in the military must report a reckless driving arrest to their commanding officer. The associated penalties for this infraction vary according to branch of service, but maintaining your security clearance may be an issue of concern.
The military assigns three levels to security clearances: confidential, secret, and top secret. As your level advances, the requirements to get or maintain a clearance increase. Reckless driving is not automatically disqualifying, but it factors into your rating for honestly, reliability, trustworthiness, and loyalty.
How a Reckless Driving Attorney Can Help
If you're hoping to enlist or are currently serving in the military, don't simply pay your ticket and accept the consequences. An experienced reckless driving attorney can help you build a strong defense, using strategies such as a speedometer calibration or agreeing to complete a driver improvement clinic. You may be able to have the charge reduced to a lesser infraction such as improper driving or dropped all together. To learn more, call to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with Virginia attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh.