DUI and Security Clearance

Security clearance is required for certain DeKalb County employees. Police officers, for example, the people who staff the police departments, intelligence services, and some court personnel who are not given security clearances are still given background checks. One of the most important things for a person who is seeking to have a security clearance granted to them for a job is to be honest.

The biggest red flag for a security clearance investigation is a person who lies about their background. Your chance of getting a security clearance is much higher if you tell the truth about a DUI and the steps you have made to address any problems you have versus if you try to hide the fact that you have had a DUI and it is found out. If you lie on certain job applications for the federal government or the state government about your criminal history, you can actually be charged with a felony and be fined up to $10,000.00.

DUI Jeopardizing Security Clearance

Getting one DUI in itself, while it may impact your chances of getting a job, will not normally impact your chances of getting a security clearance if you have divulged that DUI. There are even many army officers who had DUI charges when they were in college and still got security clearances. It is lying about it that is the bigger problem.

DUI Impacting Existing Security Clearance

If an individual has a security clearance already, they are probably not going to lose it for getting a DUI unless whoever the decision makers are about their job and their clearance believe that it is an indication of a true substance abuse problem. Substance abuse problems, such as alcoholism or drug dependency, can cause someone to lose a clearance because then, the entity that gives the clearance thinks that the person may be a risk to divulge that which they should not.

However, one DUI typically will not ensure the loss of a clearance especially if it is dealt with in a healthy way. Get counseling, participate in counseling, get proof of the counseling, and be honest with the people who investigate about what happened and the positive steps taken since.

In certain jobs, if a person loses their security clearance and is not able to do the job, then they would lose their job along with losing the clearance.

Defense Strategies to Address DUI Issues with Security Clearance

If you are in a situation where you think you might lose your job because you will lose your security clearance for getting a DUI, then I encourage you and your attorney to quickly come up with a comprehensive plan of counseling to do the state-mandated risk reduction program, to meet with counsel, and get set up with an individualized program; move aggressively with that.

Also, take a series of drug screenings and alcohol screenings on a frequent basis, have proof of those, and, frankly, come clean with the entity that gives you the clearance to answer their questions and be honest about what steps you have taken to address any problem.

Remember that a security clearance is an opinion of whether or not you can be trusted with secrets from usually, a government agency. A DUI arrest is so common now by itself, it will no longer serve to be a real indication of an alcohol problem or a significant risk of untrustworthy behavior. Many people are arrested with below the legal limit now.

What the security agencies are generally concerned about is, “Do you have an alcohol or drug problem that going to compromise your ability to keep secrets and to make good decisions?” If you have a DUI situation come up like that, you want to make sure that you are taking steps to address it and you want to have paper trails to show your boss or your investigating agency so that they can rest assured that it is an anomaly and not a real problem that you have.

If you are dealing with a DUI charge and are worried about the status of your security clearance, contact our DeKalb County DUI lawyers today!