Security clearances, DUI


Does anyone know if you can get a clearance while you’re still on a restricted license from a DUI? Everything else is satisfied, I’m just waiting out the rest of the year’s restriction (three months to go) on a first-time DUI. I have nothing else on my record.

I assume I’d be denied an interim clearance, but if you know otherwise, let me know.

Does it help your chances ( for the interim or for the clearance, itself) if you have had a clearance before? (It expired a few years ago, wasn’t revoked or anything).

Just in case: If you’re denied a secret level clearance, does anyone know how long you generally have to wait to reapply?


Were you convicted of the DUI? Or was it reduced to something else? A DUI/DWI may disqualify you outright. This is not always an automatic disqualifier but it could be since it may indicate that you have “**een, or [are], a user of alcohol habitually to excess…”. CFR Title 10 Sec 710.8 So really, the issue is not the status of your license. The issue is the DUI conviction itself.

The single fact that you have had a DUI in your past does not automatically mean that you will not get a clearance. I know people that have clearances that had a DUI years before. Now, if you had a DUI stacked on other things such as declared bankruptcy, and/or something else, then flags might start to go up. It also may depend on what level of clearance you are applying for.

If we are talking about getting a Secret clearance and it was a recent (less than a year) DUI, then it may cause you problems. The clearance people don’t spell out the rules that clearly. I don’t think they like to reduce it to a formula for people to know.

the bane of (part of) my existence.
Anything on the record may effect your interim and greatly reduce the likelyhood of obtaining an interim. Past that though, the security clearance folks are not morals police. They don’t really care about what you did, they only care about how it might predict your future reliability. So if you fully disclose the DUI and everythig else that is ever written down, it is my experience that a clearance will eventually come through. But it will take a while.

I have almost never seen an actual denial. But the clearance process can sometimes take a very long time to complete.

I’ve had a DOE clearance, and worked with several people who had DWI convictions in their past. In my experience, having a conviction isn’t nearly as big a deal as if you tried to hide it. As long as they can tell that that’s behind you, it’s nothing to worry about.

From what I could tell, there were two questions that were of paramount importance in getting the clearance: first, do you regularly correspond with anyone in a foreign country? And second, is there anything in your past that someone could potentially use to blackmail you? Answer completely and honestly, and all should be fine.

I will point out though, just to be complete, that the different agencies (DoD, DoE, Homeland Security, etc) have somewhat different procedures and standards (though I believe all based on the same set of laws) so what works for one may not work as well for another. But in every case, fully reveal everything that might be significant. They are judging you on how good a risk you are. If you forget an event and they turn it up, their judgement goes down.