As you know, if you’re given security clearance, it’s a big deal. It means you’ve passed a thorough background check that dove deep into your personal and professional history. That security clearance came at a hard-earned price and as a result of positive findings, you received a desirable position or job within an organization.
Now that you have passed the background investigation, you know that you must be a good citizen to maintain your security clearance. A black mark, such as a domestic violence conviction can spell disaster for your career, so what about a DUI conviction? Will a DUI mean that your security clearance will be revoked?
A DUI May Affect Your Security Clearance
Depending on the agency that you work for and the nature and circumstances surrounding the DUI, a criminal conviction for DUI could lead to a revocation of your security clearance. Since there are several types of security clearances, we can’t give you a “one size fits all” answer.
Often, a first-time DUI, especially one without aggravating factors will not lead to a revocation. If your offense was a simple DUI, and nobody else was injured, it’s possible that your security clearance will not be revoked unless you demonstrate a pattern of alcohol abuse.
However, there are exceptions to this rule, especially when it comes to intelligence agencies, such as the NSA or the CIA – both agencies frown heavily upon excessive alcohol use. This makes sense since people tend to have “loose lips” when they drink.
If you happen to work for an intelligence service, something as minor as public drunkenness can mean your security clearance will be revoked, and same goes for a DUI.
New Security Clearance Holders Are More at Risk
Let’s say you’re a new security clearance holder. In that case, you’re on shakier ground than say, someone who’s had security clearance for a dozen years. If you’re a new security clearance holder, your employer may not be okay with a DUI conviction, and they may decide to revoke your clearance.
Depending on the agency you work for and the nature of your DUI charges, your employer may allow you to maintain your clearance if you complete an alcohol education or rehabilitation program, but this is not guaranteed.
Note: regardless of the nature of your arrest, you must report it immediately to your employer. Otherwise, withholding such information will likely result in a revocation of your security clearance.
If a recent DUI arrest is threatening your security clearance, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a hard-hitting defense. Call now for a free consultation!