Can a DUI Stop Bar Me from Security Clearance?

By Jonathan Blecher on December 13, 2017

Are you planning to get a job that involves access to classified information, one that involves a security clearance? If so, you will have to pass a rigorous background investigation which takes a close look at your personal and professional conduct, your criminal history (if any), your financial behavior, your allegiance to the United States, your ability to respect the laws of the U.S., your integrity and much more.

“Most individuals will be granted a security clearance, although complicating factors or derogatory findings may delay a decision or result in a denial of a security clearance,” according to the U.S. Department of State.

What is the Adjudicative Process?

In order for an applicant to be deemed eligible to access to classified information, he or she must first pass what’s called the “Adjudicative Process,” a process where investigators carefully examine a long period of an applicant’s life to determine if he or she is an “acceptable security risk.”

While many factors are considered during the Adjudicative Process, such as allegiance to the United States, personal conduct, foreign influence, drug involvement, criminal conduct, mental illness, and financial considerations, alcohol involvement is what we’re interested in for the purposes of this post.

Under Guideline GAlcohol Consumption, of the Adjudicative Process, it says, “Excessive alcohol consumption often leads to the exercise of questionable judgment or the failure to control impulses, and can raise questions about an individual’s reliability and trustworthiness.” In light of that statement, what alcohol-related conditions raise security concerns?

  • Alcoholism.
  • Habitual binge drinking.
  • Driving under the influence.
  • Alcohol abuse or dependence diagnoses.
  • Relapse after completing an alcohol abuse program.
  • Alcohol-related incidents while away from work, including disturbing the peace, fighting, and domestic violence.
  • The failure to follow a court order regarding DUI School, alcohol evaluation or treatment, or abstinence.

Can a DUI bar you from obtaining a security clearance? Yes, absolutely, but there are conditions that can help mitigate the security concern, such as the DUI being an old, isolated incident, successfully completing an alcohol treatment program, and completing a DUI diversion program, such as Miami-Dade County’s Back on Track Program.

To learn more about the Back on Track Program and how it may help your security clearance application, contact my Miami DUI defense firm today!

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