For those with security clearance, or those trying to get security clearance, having a DUI on your record can cause problems. How many problems and how big those problems become depends on several factors including the circumstances surrounding your DUI, whether you’ve had previous DUIs, and how long it’s been since you were convicted of a DUI. In most instances, a first offense DUI won’t put your security clearance or your chances of getting security clearance in jeopardy – but this isn’t always the case.
The National Security Adjudicative Guidelines set out the criteria for determining whether someone can gain security clearance and if already granted security clearance, whether that clearance should be renewed. The guidelines are used by all executive branch agencies including the military, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Transportation. The guidelines are primarily concerned with whether a criminal record, including a DUI, could impact your ability to maintain the nation’s secrets and whether a criminal record would expose you to blackmail or coercion from another nation or hostile group.
So, how exactly could a DUI impact your security clearance according to the guidelines? If you have a DUI on your record, the government could look to four specific guidelines to determine whether or not that DUI will have an impact on your ability to keep secrets and follow the law. Those specific guidelines are Guideline E: Personal Conduct, Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption, Guideline H: Drug Involvement and Substance Misuse, and Guideline J: Criminal Conduct.
Guideline E: Personal conduct is primarily concerned with your trustworthiness, your truthfulness and candor, and your reliability. Under this guideline a DUI could be an issue if you attempt to conceal your DUI or are evasive when answering questions about your DUI. It is far more likely that the government will be less concerned about your DUI if you are forthcoming about the events surrounding your DUI and the steps you have taken to correct your actions.
Guideline G: Alcohol Consumption specifically mentions driving under the influence as a factor for not granting a security clearance. The guideline asserts that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to poor judgement and impulse control and could show a lack of reliability. However, the guideline also states that the passage of time since the DUI, the circumstances surrounding the DUI, whether or not alcohol treatment was completed, and the lack of repeat offense are all mitigating factors.
Guideline H: Drug Involvement and Substance Misuse is concerned with whether illegal drug use or abuse of prescription medicine would impair their trustworthiness and show a unwillingness to follow the law. As with Guideline G, mitigating factors include the completion of a drug treatment program, the length of time since the incident, and the applicant’s candor about the circumstances surrounding the drug use.
Guideline J: Criminal Conduct is, as the name suggests, concerned with whether an applicant can follow the law. Some of the specific concerns under this guideline are whether criminal acts are or were repeated on a regular basis and whether a person is on probation for the offense. This guideline could be particularly concerning for someone with multiple DUIs on their record. Unfortunately, Kentucky now allows most misdemeanor offense, including DUIs to be expunged from a criminal record.
Whether or not your DUI could impact your security clearance depends a lot on the circumstances surrounding the DUI and your record. If you’ve been charged with a DUI and are concerned about your security clearance, give us a call or text us at 859-474-0001. If you have a DUI on your background that you’d like to expunge, click here to use our free expungement evaluation app or give us a call at 888-400-5730 to see if you’re eligible to clear your record.