These days, the dire ramifications of a DUI are fairly obvious to most people. However, if you are a service member, a federal employee or work for a government contractor, a DUI conviction can have added consequences that may have more of an impact than you realize. And in the Northern Virginia and D.C. area, this issue can cause problems for many government employees when facing DUI charges.
Rather than try to resolve these issues on your own, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the potential consequences and build a strong defense to protect personally as well as professionally.
Security Clearance Basics
The purpose of a security clearance is to ensure that the employee can be trusted with highly sensitive information. An extensive and lengthy background check is performed to evaluate your background, actions and lifestyle. There are three levels of classification:
· Confidential - Lowest level, reviewed every 15 years.
· Secret - Intermediate level with a 10-year review period.
· Top Secret - Highest level, which is then further classified as either single scope background investigation (SSBI) or sensitive compartmentalized information (SCI). These clearances are reviewed on a 5-year basis.
In the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 32, Section 147, the U.S. Department of State spells out thirteen legal guidelines for individuals requiring security clearances. Failure to adhere to these guidelines, especially in an ongoing or recurrent manner can result in revocation.
DUI/DWI and Your Security Clearance
A DUI arrest is by no means automatic grounds for clearance revocation. However, how you deal with the charges and your disclosure of the situation does have bearing on how severely a conviction may affect your clearance. Your security level and the timeframe, with respect to when your clearance is up for review, play a role as well. Essentially, it's a matter of judgment and trustworthiness. This is a delicate balance and a very subjective issue.
For all of these reasons, and more, it is advisable that you seek the counsel of a Virginia DUI lawyer skilled in the area of security clearances and DUI charges, as early as possible. Your attorney can review and evaluate your specific circumstances and advise you on the best course of action to mitigate the possible ramifications.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Northern Virginia, call on the Law Office of Robert D. Anderson, PLLC for knowledgeable legal advocacy.