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View Full Version : Will you be denied a security clearance if you have a DUI?


Khadaji
12-05-2006, 07:33 AM
I just joined a company that requires a Security Clearance. I brought one of the guys from my old job with me. He just confessed to me, with tears in his eyes, that he got a DUI earlier this year and is terrified that he will be denied his clearance.

I told him that I didn't know what happens, but that he should of course not lie about it and we would see together what happened.

I also told him he can't be the only one in the world who has been charged with DUI and needed clearance...

Anyone know if if this is a deal breaker for him?

Monty
12-05-2006, 07:51 AM
If he lies about it, he's in trouble. I know of people who've received their security clearance (even Top Secret clearances) after having a DUI. The key point is to be honest on the application and in the interviews.

Bear_Nenno
12-05-2006, 08:20 AM
Earlier this year? Is he still on probation? What was the outcome of the case? Was he actually convicted of DUI?
If he's on probation or still on bail pending trial, then he will not get his clearance. I dont even think he can get an interim while on probation.

A year is very recent. I dont see an issue after some time passes. But he is going to have problems with it being so recent.

As Monty said, there are pleanty of people who hold Top Secrets who have had DUIs in the past. It's only a misdemeanor afterall.

For the record, I have a Security Clearance and a DUI so its not unheard of.

Khadaji
12-05-2006, 08:42 AM
Earlier this year? Is he still on probation? What was the outcome of the case? Was he actually convicted of DUI?
If he's on probation or still on bail pending trial, then he will not get his clearance. I dont even think he can get an interim while on probation.

A year is very recent. I dont see an issue after some time passes. But he is going to have problems with it being so recent.

As Monty said, there are pleanty of people who hold Top Secrets who have had DUIs in the past. It's only a misdemeanor afterall.

For the record, I have a Security Clearance and a DUI so its not unheard of.
I'm not sure about the probation. I don't think he was convicted of DUI because he tells me he is involved in a program that will allow him to have his record expunged once he completes it. But I don't know the details of this program; he wa pretty upset this morning, apparently this has been weighing on his mind and he finally confessed to me.

Bear_Nenno
12-05-2006, 08:58 AM
The outcome of the trial is very important. If he's doing some kind of pretrial intervention or taking classes mandated by the court, then the case is not 'Closed'. Its not closed until he has sucessfully completed everything and is no longer under any court directed supervision or education. I'm not an expert on granting clearances, but I can't imagine that he would get one if he has an open case.

Bear_Nenno
12-05-2006, 09:16 AM
BTW, when you say you just brought the guy with you from your old job... did he leave the old job yet? Have they already hired him pending a Clearance? What's his status with both jobs? Is the new job a small company? Small in the sense that they would be willing to work with him and keep him around in another position until he can get a clearance? Or is it the type that will just turn him away at the first hint of Clearance denial?

If its the latter, then if its not too late, I would suggest that he stay at the old job at least until everything is satisfactorily completed with his DUI. Does he even have his license back? He should wait it out. Complete everything he needs, go to all the stupid classes and meetings, get his license back, get his life back on track and then apply at the new job.

Once he applies and gets denied, they probably wont take him or let him try again. If they do, it probably wouldn't be for like 5 years or something.
But if he just waits like another year he has a good chance of getting his clearance and getting his job. Once you get denied a clearance the first time, its a BITCH to get it at all or get a job that requires one. Because there's that question on there "Have you ever been denied a Security Clearance?"
Better to be able to say NO to that.

Yes, I was arrested for DUI almost 2 years ago. The charges were reduced to reckless driving, and I satisfactorily completed all my courses and currently have a driver's license and insurance. I have never applied for a clearance.
Is not as bad as:
Yes, I was arrested for DUI almost 2 years ago and I have previously been denied a Security Clearance.

This is coming from personal experience. I've bit myself in the ass on two occassions. If he thinks there is a chance that he will be denied the clearance or the job, he should WAIT.
Better to choose to wait for like a year now then to be FORCED to wait 5-7 years or lose the chance entirely...

Gfactor
12-05-2006, 09:51 AM
Here are a couple of cases I found on DUI and security clearances. None is directly on point, but they do demonstrate that it is a concern, especially if there is an unresolved case:

http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/doha/industrial/02-22350.h1.html

http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/doha/industrial/01-26137.h1.html

http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/doha/industrial/02-05251.h1.html

Stranger On A Train
12-05-2006, 02:15 PM
If he lies about it, he's in trouble. I know of people who've received their security clearance (even Top Secret clearances) after having a DUI. The key point is to be honest on the application and in the interviews.Ditto. I work for a company in which most people have at least a Secret clearance. There are also a fair number of people with DUIs on record. (We get to hear stories about the good old salad days of the Cold War and Peacekeeper or Midgetman, where the guys used to go out to lunch on Friday, come back after two pitchers each and pass out in the parking lot. Good times.) If you don't disclose, that's going to be a big red flag. If you do...meh. Depending on other factors, it may or may not be an issue, but by itself it's not a showstopper.

Stranger

comtnboy
12-05-2006, 03:18 PM
Like the rest said, just be honest.
My wife does this for a living. They end up approving most everyone sadly. I have heard of people with sexual and violent offenses on their record still getting approved in the end. I would not sweat it at all...

Pleonast
12-05-2006, 03:58 PM
When checking for security clearances, they're looking for trustworthiness or lack thereof. They're also looking for "hooks" that an enemy agent could use to blackmail you. Whether or not a particular crime is problem depends on the crime.

DUI probably isn't a problem, unless it points to chronic alcoholism. See Gfactor's links. I expect crimes like embezzlement or counterfeiting would be cause for quick and permanent denial.

It's important to note that you must maintain the clearance by behaving appropriately once you have it. That means fulls disclosure of anything that might make the security people take a second glance at you. A scrupulously open and honest person with a bad habit is preferably to someone with a minor foible and keeps it hidden.

Napier
12-05-2006, 05:12 PM
Didn't stop Bush or Cheney, did it?

The Flying Dutchman
12-05-2006, 05:46 PM
I would like the Canadian perspective. A DUI is a criminal offence in Canada.

groman
12-05-2006, 07:49 PM
I would like the Canadian perspective. A DUI is a criminal offence in Canada.

As it is in California... if you get charged with DUI more than three times in your life your fourth time automatically becomes a felony even if no injuries are involved.

samclem
12-05-2006, 08:09 PM
Didn't stop Bush or Cheney, did it? Napier This is General Questions. Keep politics out of it. OK?

samclem

Napier
12-06-2006, 06:28 AM
Oops.
"Or any of the Kennedys?"
Sorry....

Bear_Nenno
12-06-2006, 07:59 AM
I would like the Canadian perspective. A DUI is a criminal offence in Canada.
It's also a crime in America. We go to jail for it and everything.

Cluricaun
12-06-2006, 09:36 AM
It's also a crime in America. We go to jail for it and everything.

Isn't a Canadian DUI a felony charge? I've heard stories of guys going up north for fishing trips and the like who were turned away at the border because they had a DWI/DUI charge on their records.

ethelbert
12-06-2006, 10:06 AM
The OP mentioned that the offender was involved in a program that allows the record to be expunged once he completes it. From a recent article in the NY Times;

But real expungement is becoming significantly harder to accomplish in the electronic age. Records once held only in paper form by law enforcement agencies, courts and corrections departments are now routinely digitized and sold in bulk to the private sector. Some commercial databases now contain more than 100 million criminal records. They are updated only fitfully, and expunged records now often turn up in criminal background checks ordered by employers and landlords.

This article is restricted, but if you are a subscriber you can find it by searching for "court records expunged".

In short, it is probably wise to always fess up to things like this before they do the search. It probably won't help you afterwards to say "But that was expunged!".

DrDeth
12-06-2006, 10:16 AM
The important thing is full disclosure.

Fear Itself
12-06-2006, 10:33 AM
I've heard stories of guys going up north for fishing trips and the like who were turned away at the border because they had a DWI/DUI charge on their records.This is true. If you have been convicted of DUI/DWI, you are inadmissible to Canada (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/faq-inadmissibility.html) unless you apply to the Canadian government for rehabilitation and pay the fees (from $200 to $1000, depending on the circumstances of your offense). If it is less than five years from your offense, you cannot receive rehabilitation, and you cannot travel to Canada.

Ragiel
12-06-2006, 06:13 PM
As it is in California... if you get charged with DUI more than three times in your life your fourth time automatically becomes a felony even if no injuries are involved.

And in Michigan, it's the third conviction that can send you to the state pen. No accidents or injuries required here either.

Jake4
12-06-2006, 06:58 PM
Didn't stop Bush or Cheney, did it?
Sorry for responding to a mod-slapped post, but the general, not personal, aspect to it is interesting. Do elected officials need security clearances?

If I'm a Senator with a checkered past, I can imagine not hearing about current military intelligence or whatnot. What if I'm a SWACP w/seniority and I wrangle myself the Secret-Military-whatever chairmanship? What happens if the SWACP gets elected President? What if some alcoholic with a gambling problem gets elected President?

Surely if the majority of voting Americans elect you president, you get Ultimate USA Security Clearance XP, right? Or is this what all those techno-scifi organizations a la 24, Mission: Impossible, Area 51 from Independence Day, etc are all about? Something so secret they don't even tell the President...

Max Torque
12-07-2006, 12:51 AM
Texas, also, treats the third DWI (we say "driving while intoxicated" here, not "driving under the influence") as a felony. Third degree, that is. Two to ten years in the pen, up to $10,000 fine, or both. And we recently (thank GOD) did away with the stupid and confusing "priors must be within ten years" requirement for enhancement, so now ALL past DWI convictions are fair game.

But to actually address the OP: back when I had a security clearance (DOE, if it matters), I knew a couple of people with clearances who had DWI convictions. I don't think they care much, as long as they're assured that all that nonsense is well behind you. What they do care about is, as Pleonast said, whether there is something in your past that could be used to blackmail you, and whether you correspond regularly with people outside the country or have any significant foreign connections.

Khadaji
12-07-2006, 07:06 AM
<SNIP>and whether you correspond regularly with people outside the country or have any significant foreign connections.That last one could keep me from getting security clearance. When I was consulting in Japan I made a friend there with whom I still exchange emails and the occasionaly birthday card. And I have at least one friend in the UK that I keep in touch with.

Monty
12-07-2006, 07:54 AM
I'm not sure about the probation. I don't think he was convicted of DUI because he tells me he is involved in a program that will allow him to have his record expunged once he completes it. But I don't know the details of this program; he wa pretty upset this morning, apparently this has been weighing on his mind and he finally confessed to me.
If there's a possibility of his record being expunged, that means he has a conviction. A conviction is expunged. If the charges were dismissed, that means no conviction and thus no record, and he's clear (sorry about the pun). I can't recall if he still has to mention the charges and resultant dismissal on the security clearance application.

Khadaji
12-07-2006, 07:58 AM
If there's a possibility of his record being expunged, that means he has a conviction. A conviction is expunged. If the charges were dismissed, that means no conviction and thus no record, and he's clear (sorry about the pun). I can't recall if he still has to mention the charges and resultant dismissal on the security clearance application.
I haven't the full story, I guess. I know he has a hearing in Feb. But I suspect that the case is cut and dried. He was in a motorcycle accident and they took a blood sample.

TheTyrant
12-07-2006, 08:15 AM
Thought I'd chime in with my experiences here.

My job in the Navy requires a Secret clearance, and I was initially issued a letter of intent from the Department of the Navy Central Adjudication Facility (DON CAF) stating that they did not intend to grant my clearance.

Although I had a DUI on my record from five years before, the LOI specifically stated that it was not a factor in the decision due to something like "the passage of time and no further incidents of this nature" or something like that. Of course, as other posters have mentioned, the fact that the DUI is more recent in the OPs colleague's case could probably make a big difference, as there's no way to be certain there's no pattern of recidivism.

(Slightly off-topic: My denial was due to erroneous information in my credit report. Although my clearance was eventually granted, I learned a harsh lesson about maintaining accurate financial records and reviewing my credit report periodically.)

DrDeth
12-07-2006, 10:49 AM
.

(Slightly off-topic: My denial was due to erroneous information in my credit report. Although my clearance was eventually granted, I learned a harsh lesson about maintaining accurate financial records and reviewing my credit report periodically.)

Really, I am shocked that the Navy would consider a Credit Report to be reliable enough to deny a clearance as Credit reports are notorious for being unreliable. I use something like a Credit report in my investigations, and although this company is better, if our only source of a peice of information is said company, we notate that in our reports.

Dudes- you NEED to check your Credit reports every year or so, and also a couple months before you are thinking of a major loan. If you don't there is a high chance that a significantly wrong- and derogatory- item will have crept on there. Besides the higher interest rates- this could cost you a job, higher insurance rates, be denied housing and so forth.

It's easy for bad shit to creep into your Credit Report: very old debt gets re-reported, someone uses your SSN, a relative with a very similar name gets his stuff on your report, the credit company just screws up. Or it could even be semi-legit: after you move out, you owed a few bucks to the Utility company. You never get a bill, it goes "to collections" and BAM, a big fat Derog. I had this happen with a small Medical bill- I had insurance, they knew I had insurance, but somehow that bill never got billed to my insurance co. Next thing you know, I got a call from a Collection Agency! True, I ignored the bill the Medical co sent me, but it was common for them to send me a bill if their "cycle" had my bill due to be sent out before they were due to bill the insurance co.

Really, this reliance on Credit Reports is getting to be a HUGE fucking problem. What we need is a law where the Credit reporting agency must inform you whenever any Derogs are input on your Credit History.

Monty
12-07-2006, 06:57 PM
I haven't the full story, I guess. I know he has a hearing in Feb. But I suspect that the case is cut and dried. He was in a motorcycle accident and they took a blood sample.

Then he doesn't have a conviction yet. It's an open case. When he has the hearing, then he's either exonerated or convicted (either found guilty or pleads guilty). The judge will then sentence him.

Did your friend already tell the investigators or state on his application that he's never had trouble with the law? If so, he can call them now what the real deal is and possibly not get denied.

MC$E
12-07-2006, 07:09 PM
That last one could keep me from getting security clearance. When I was consulting in Japan I made a friend there with whom I still exchange emails and the occasionaly birthday card. And I have at least one friend in the UK that I keep in touch with.

I don't know if that meets the criteria for "close and continuing contact" or not. But Japan and the UK are allies so you may be OK either way. If your friends were North Korean and Ukrainian, you would have a bigger problem.

Khadaji
12-07-2006, 07:51 PM
Then he doesn't have a conviction yet. It's an open case. When he has the hearing, then he's either exonerated or convicted (either found guilty or pleads guilty). The judge will then sentence him.

Did your friend already tell the investigators or state on his application that he's never had trouble with the law? If so, he can call them now what the real deal is and possibly not get denied.
He has not completed the application and I have chosen to allow it to expire rather than risk getting denied.

Monty
12-07-2006, 07:51 PM
The key is if you're keeping stuff secret from the investigators. They'll no doubt find out and then you're shafted. Be open and honest and you won't have a problem. You might not get the clearance but that's better than getting it and then having it taken away and facing prosecution (which probably won't ensue after loss of clearance) and losing your job.