Who needs a security clearance?
A person must obtain a security clearance from the U.S. government if they are an employee of a government agency or government contractor who requires access to classified or sensitive information. If you work for an intelligence agency, federal law enforcement, a diplomatic agency, the military, or even a private corporation contracted by the government, chances are you may need to obtain some level of security clearance. There are three different levels of security clearance: Confidential, secret and top secret, each of which requires a renewal/reinvestigation process every 15, 10 and 5 years, respectively. The process to obtain any security clearance starts with the completion of an SF-86 questionnaire and a thorough background check.
Will you lose your security clearance if you get a DUI?
It depends. Getting a DUI will not automatically revoke your security clearance, though it depends on the situation's circumstances and mitigating factors. If it is your first DUI, you may not be reprimanded—people understand mistakes happen. However, if you have been convicted of a DUI before, this may suggest a pattern of substance abuse, which raises questions regarding your reliability and impulse control. The government may no longer view you as a trustworthy individual, and you could have your security clearance revoked as a result. In addition, anything that could potentially be used as blackmail could have negative consequences on your clearance.
If you have a security clearance and get a DUI, it is crucial to contact an experienced DUI attorney. A revocation of your security clearance could impact your entire livelihood, as it can affect your employment and your financial stability. Do not risk managing such a delicate situation on your own. At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we have experienced DUI attorneys who have handled thousands of cases and countless trials, and we can help you during this difficult time.
Can you get a security clearance if you get a DUI?
The circumstances for obtaining a security clearance after getting a DUI are similar to the above stated. When you apply for a security clearance, you must fill out an SF-86 questionnaire that requires you to disclose any arrests or convictions. Again, they will take into consideration the factors surrounding your DUI, such as how long ago it occurred and whether you took steps to overcome any possible substance abuse issues.
When filling out your SF-86 questionnaire, there are mistakes you could make in your reporting of the DUI that may hurt your odds. For example, if you have recently completed a diversion program or taken an educational DUI class but you report it as a “treatment program," this may imply recent substance abuse issues that do not actually exist. For this reason, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced DUI attorney. If you are in the process of applying for a security clearance and get a DUI, hiring a skilled DUI attorney could be the difference-maker in getting your application approved.
Call Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh for a free case evaluation and strategy session at (561) 295-5825.