Air Force Category Four Criminal Offenses

Applications for Moral Waivers in the Air Force

Young Caucasian Man In Handcuffs Under Arrest
Air Force Category 4 Criminal Offenses. Bob Ingelhart / Getty Images

The Air Force developed a classification of criminal offenses that break down crimes into five categories. Typically, these crimes are minor in comparison to all the classes of misdemeanors and felonies that are possible:

Waiver Types

There are eight categories of moral waivers reported on a Department of Defense wide basis:

- minor traffic offenses

- 1 or 2 minor non-traffic offenses,

- 3 or more minor non-traffic offenses,

- non-minor misdemeanors,

- Juvenile felonies,

- adult felonies,

- pre-service drug abuse, 

- pre-service alcohol abuse.

The Air Force has taken the above list of organized them into five categories.

Category 1 - These are major offenses and can only be waived by the Air Force Recruiting Service Commander or Vice Commander. These are typically serious crimes that include bodily harm to others, with or without dangerous weapons. Receiving the waivers are rare.

Category 2 - These are also considered major offenses by military law / recruitment standards but less serious compared to Category 1 crimes. These can only be waived by recruiting group commanders or sub-commanders.

Category 3 - These are still serious offenses but can be waived by the Air Force Recruiting Squadron Commander.

Category 4 - These are less severe criminal offenses and a series of these in a given time period (3 offenses in a year) that show a pattern of moral issues can still be waived by the Air Force Recruiting Squadron Commander.

Category 5 - These are traffic offenses, but a series of irresponsible driving (6 or more in a year) will require a waiver from the Air Force Recruiting Squadron Commander.

Of all the service branches, the Air Force allows the fewest moral waivers into its ranks, typically less than 5 percent of recruits require moral waivers.

AFRS Instruction 36-2001, Air Force Recruiting, lists the below offenses as Category 4 Moral offenses. This list is just a guide. The Air Force will consider violations of a similar nature or seriousness as a Category 4 offense. When in doubt, the Air Force will consider any offense in which local law allows for confinement for less than 4 months as a Category 4 offense. Two conviction or adverse adjudications during the past 3 years or 3 or more convictions in a lifetime for any of the offenses listed is disqualifying for entry into the Air Force. The waiver approval authority is the recruiting squadron commander.

  • Abusive language under circumstances to provoke breach of peace.
  • Altered identification when intent is to purchase alcoholic beverages.
  • Careless or reckless driving (see note).
  • Check: $50 or less, insufficient funds, or worthless.
  • Curfew violation.
  • Committing or creating nuisance.
  • Damaging road signs.
  • Disorderly conduct, creating disturbance or boisterous conduct, disturbing the peace.
  • Driving with suspended or revoked license or without license (see note).
  • Failure to appear, comply with judgment, or answer or disobey summons.
  • Failure to comply with an officer’s direction.
  • Fare evasion (including failure to pay turnstile fees).
  • Fighting, participating in a brawl.
  • Illegal betting or gambling: operating an illegal handbook, raffle, lottery, or punch board.
  • Juvenile noncriminal misconduct: beyond parental control, incorrigible, runaway, truant, or wayward.
  • Liquor or alcoholic beverages: unlawful possession or consumption in a public place.
  • Littering of dumping refuse near highway or other prohibited place.
  • Loitering.
  • Possession of indecent publications or pictures (other than child pornography).
  • Purchase, possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages by a minor.
  • Racing, drag racing, contest for speed (see note).
  • Shoplifting, larceny, petty larceny, theft, or petty theft (committed under age 14 or stolen goods valued at $50 or less).
  • Tobacco; unlawful possession or purchase
  • Trespass on property.
  • Unlawful assembly.
  • Unlawful use of long distance telephone lines or any electronic transmission method.
  • Use of telephone or any electronic transmission method to abuse, annoy, harass, threaten, or torment another.
  • Wrongful appropriation of motor vehicle, joyriding or driving without owner’s consent (if the intent was to permanently deprive owner of vehicle--treat as grand larceny/grand theft—auto ( Category 2 )).
  • Vagrancy.
  • Vandalism, defacing or injuring property.
  • Violation of fireworks law.
  • Violation of fish and game laws.

The Air Force will have to justify each and every waiver on a case by case basis and the needs of the Air Force, the good of the Air Force will be the overriding determining factor of receiving any such waiver.