Let us say you have a security clearance because you are a government contractor or an employee of a government agency such as the FBI, CIA or IRS.
Unfortunately, you drank a little too much at a retirement party for a coworker; law enforcement stopped you on suspicion of DUI as you were driving home. Will this spell trouble for your security clearance?
Your first DUI experience
Your arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol will no doubt bring a few anxious moments, and you may worry you could even have to spend some time in jail. You are also looking at hefty fines, license suspension and participation in some kind of alcohol treatment program. However, there is a glimmer of hope: It is unlikely that a one-time error in judgment will affect your security clearance, even if you plead guilty to drunk driving and spend a couple of days behind bars.
When it becomes an issue
If one conviction for DUI turns into more, however, your security clearance may, indeed, be in jeopardy. The issue is not so much about multiple DUI charges as it is about your personal behavior and whether you have a drinking problem.
Drinking and driving may be something you rarely, if ever, do. If your arrest for DUI is a one-time event, you probably should not worry about losing your security clearance. If you believe your arrest was not warranted or not handled correctly, you should look into your legal options promptly.
Challenging the traffic stop
In preparation for your defense, expect an investigation to begin with the traffic stop itself. Did the officer make any administrative mistakes? Were the results of the breathalyzer test accurate? Did anyone violate your constitutional rights? Questions like these are important because the answers may lead to the reduction of penalties, or even the dismissal of your case. After all, there is a lot riding on the outcome, including the status of your security clearance.