Security Clearance StampYou face harsh punishments if you are convicted of DUI in Virginia. In addition, you would have a permanent criminal record that could have long-term consequences in your life. If you have a security clearance or will need to apply for one in the future, you need to understand how a DUI can affect your ability to obtain one.

What Is a Security Clearance?

A security clearance allows individuals to access classified information as part of their job. Military personnel, government employees, and contractors with a contract with the government may need a security clearance to perform their job duties.

There are three levels of security clearances. A confidential clearance is the lowest level of security clearance. The next level would be a secret clearance. The highest level of security clearance would be a top-secret clearance, which would allow the individual to access the most sensitive classified information.

Applying for and Renewing a Security Clearance

An individual must fill out an application for a security clearance. The next step in the process would be to complete a background check. Once this is done, the application would be reviewed and approved or rejected. This process can take up to six months. Security clearances must also be renewed. There is a different time period for each level of security:

  • Top secret: every five years
  • Secret clearance: every 10 years
  • Confidential clearance: every 15 years

How a DUI Affects an Application for a Security Clearance

A DUI arrest or conviction will not automatically result in a person being denied a security clearance, but it will be considered in the application review process. Requirements for getting security clearance approval include the individual not being addicted to drugs or having a felony conviction. If the conviction was for a felony DUI or the individual had an alcohol abuse problem, this could impact their ability to get their application approved.

How a DUI Affects Renewal of a Security Clearance

As with an application for a security clearance, a DUI arrest or conviction would not automatically result in a security clearance not being renewed. As part of the review process, the governmental agency would consider a number of factors, such as the person’s background, other criminal arrests and convictions, time period since the last DUI conviction, and other mitigating factors.

The individual would have an opportunity to defend themselves ad present their position during the review process. In addition, they could file an appeal if their security clearance was not renewed.

Have you been charged with DUI? Are you worried about how it could affect your security clearance? You need the assistance of an experienced DUI lawyer to mount a strong defense for you so that you achieve the best outcome in your criminal case. To find out how we can assist you, contact our Manassas office to schedule your free consultation today.