If you’re seeking a job that requires a security clearance or already are holding one, you know that it’s important to maintain certain standards. A DUI on your record can certainly impact your ability to get or maintain a security clearance, but you are not automatically disqualified for a single DUI conviction.
If you are facing a DUI charge and you’re concerned that it might disqualify you from getting or maintaining a security clearance, you should speak with a DUI attorney. In Los Angeles, you can schedule a free appointment with an experienced DUI lawyer by calling (310) 896-2724 or by using the form on the side of this page.
Understanding Security Clearances
Security clearances are required for many jobs that deal with sensitive information, usually interacting with federal agencies. Individuals pursuing jobs with the U.S. State Department, within law enforcement, or in the intelligence community may be required to acquire and maintain some form of security clearance. Failure to maintain a security clearance can be grounds for dismissal for these employees.
Individuals interested in applying for a security clearance will need to pass a background check or be disqualified. Similarly, once you receive a security clearance, you will be subject to periodic reviews. These background checks are intended to determine your moral character and your loyalty to the country. This means that your criminal background will be assessed alongside your moral character.
How a DUI Can Disqualify You for a Security Clearance
Everyone makes mistakes, and that is factored into the screening process for a security clearance. You don’t have to be perfect to get a security clearance, but that doesn’t mean a DUI won’t raise red flags during your background check.
On its own, a DUI isn’t an instant disqualification. Instead, it will let the investigator handling your background check know that there’s a possibility that alcohol is a troubling factor in your life. The investigator will use the DUI as a starting point to see if alcohol consumption has led to other issues in your life, such as impacting your personal or professional life in other ways.
Likewise, multiple DUI convictions within a short period of time could be disqualifying. If you are regularly receiving alcohol-related driving convictions, you are not likely to receive or maintain a security clearance.
Be Ready to Address Any DUI Convictions During Your Background Check
The screening process for a security clearance is about determining how good of a fit you are overall, rather than homing in on singular mistakes. If you do have a DUI conviction on your record, be ready to address it during the background check. The more recent the conviction, the more interested the investigator is going to be in how you have handled it.
You’ll want to make sure that you have completed any mandated DUI education classes or probation. Be current on any fines or fees that may have been assessed for your conviction. If you sought treatment for alcohol addiction, make sure that you can speak to your specific recovery steps and how it has improved your life.
Fight the DUI Conviction Before It Hits Your Record
While a DUI conviction may not be disqualifying on its own, it can work against you in the process of obtaining a security clearance. If you are facing a DUI charge, your best bet at getting or keeping a security clearance is by beating the charge. While an arrest may show up on your background check, having the charge dismissed or reduced can positively improve your prospects.
A DUI lawyer can help you build the strongest defense possible for a DUI charge. They can examine your case to see if:
- The officer arresting you had probable cause
- There were anomalies with the chemical test used to capture your blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
- Alternative factors such as diet or medical conditions could have contributed to a higher BAC
These factors, among others, can help reduce the likelihood of you receiving a DUI conviction. No DUI charge is unbeatable, and your DUI lawyer may be able to help you have the charges dismissed or reduced.
If you’re concerned about a DUI disqualifying you from a security clearance, you should call (310) 896-2724 today to speak with one of our representatives. We can arrange a free consultation with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer who will go over the unique facts of your case.