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Can criminal charges impact your security clearance?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If you have a security clearance for your job, you may find that a criminal charge could result in issues at work. Your security clearance is technically a license that has been issued by the government.

You may have one of three kinds of security clearances, secret, top secret or confidential. These may be further separated into other categories depending on the location or job you do.

Whether you’re working as a defense contractor or are in the military, work in the medical field or have a security clearance for another reason, it’s essential to defend yourself against any charges that could result in a loss of your clearance. If you lose your security clearance, you could find yourself out of the job.

Does a criminal charge lead to a loss of a security clearance?

Sometimes, a criminal charge could lead to issues with your security clearance. If your employer has a policy stating that your clearance will be limited until the charges are cleared or a conviction is made, you may find that your clearance level is dropped or revoked until the case is resolved.

However, it is not typical for a simple arrest to make it so that you can’t get a security clearance. Even a conviction may not completely disqualify you. It depends on the employer and job.

There are some times when you may be precluded from getting a clearance, such as if:

  • You are addicted to or using controlled substances unlawfully
  • You have been discharged from the military dishonorably
  • You have been deemed mentally incompetent

While a single charge or conviction might not be enough to get your security clearance revoked, you should know that a history of run-ins with the law could.

You can protect your security clearance with the right support and information

It’s a good idea to get the right support if you’re facing charges and have a security clearance to protect. In some cases, you could see that your security clearance is at risk. If so, you should take steps to make sure that you can retain it and your role in your business.