Can Felons Be Drafted? Understanding the Draft Process

Can Felons Be Drafted
Can Felons Be Drafted

Imagine you’re a felon thinking about joining the military during peacetime. It’s tough, but what happens when there’s a conflict? Do felons get drafted? In the United States, the military can have a draft during wars. The last time this happened was during the Vietnam War, which ended in 1973. Right now, there’s no draft, but if it ever comes back, Congress would have to agree. With tensions rising worldwide, many are wondering about the draft, especially with recent events like the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In this article, we’ll explain how the draft works and what it means for felons.

Do Felons Get Drafted in 2024?

Felons can be drafted in theory if they meet certain criteria. If you’re a guy in the U.S. between 18 and 25, you must sign up with the Selective Service. Women don’t have to do this, even though there was talk about it in the past. Men who were born male but identify as female need to sign up, but those born female who identify as male don’t have to. The Selective Service keeps a list of all eligible guys. If a draft is ever approved, those on the list would have to follow orders about when to report for duty. Ignoring these orders is a big problem and could lead to felony charges. Once you’re 26, you don’t have to stay on the list, but your information stays, just in case.

Also Read: What States Allow Felons to Get a Real Estate License?

How Does the Draft Process Work?

The draft works through a lottery based on birthdates. The first ones drafted are those turning 20 that year, followed by 21-year-olds, then 22, 23, 24, and 25-year-olds. Young men aged 18 and 19 wait until the older groups are done. This lottery is done openly with lots of media coverage and oversight from groups that look out for fairness. It uses two machines. One has balls with dates, and the other has balls with numbers from 1 to 365. Balls are picked in pairs, one from each machine, until they’re all gone. For example, if the first pair shows October 2nd from the date machine and the number 44 from the number machine, then men turning 20 on October 2nd that year would be the 44th group to be called. The first group drafted would be the one connected to the number 1 ball from the number machine. Once the lottery is done, the list of dates goes to the Selective Service Data Management Center, which starts sending out draft notices. If you get one, you have 10 days to go for a checkup. If you pass and meet moral standards, you’ll be part of the military. At that point, military rules apply, not civilian ones. If you don’t want to serve, you should say no before they make you. Otherwise, you could face civilian law penalties. Remember, it’s your choice.

Also Read: Which States allow and ban SNAP Food Stamps for People with Felony Drug Convictions

Physical Eligibility Criteria for Getting Drafted into the Military:

In terms of health, some conditions might stop you from serving. These include obesity, diabetes, depression, eyesight problems, anxiety, epilepsy, allergies, dental issues, Crohn’s disease, heart trouble, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and hearing loss. Even if you can’t serve in combat, there are other roles you could be drafted for, like support roles.


So, do felons get drafted? Yes, they can be, in theory. If you’re a guy between 18 and 25, you might be in the group that could get drafted. But being eligible doesn’t mean you’ll definitely serve. It just means you might need to go for a checkup and screening. If you’re a felon, you might not pass the background check needed for regular military service. However, remember that military rules can change, so don’t count yourself out entirely.

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