Verizon. Envistacom. G4S Secure Solutions. These three companies are just a few of many private companies in the Roswell and Alpharetta, Georgia area that require security clearance for many of their positions. These private companies are in addition to the many government jobs in the same area that also require a security clearance. If you are someone who already has a security clearance job or someone in the process of obtaining one, then you know how long and arduous the process can be. To suddenly have clearance denied or stripped from you would be disheartening and stressful. But it happens, and it happens more often than we want to know. And it happens to the best of us who do something seemingly minor only to learn later it is laden with collateral consequences.
One such thing is driving under the influence (DUI). You think you're fine, and that might be so, and yet your blood alcohol content (BAC) level suggests otherwise and the police officer concurs. You are handcuffed and charged with DUI. The following day, when you are of right mind and body, you realize that you may have put your career in jeopardy, and that is particularly the case if you have or need security clearance.
A DUI can be considered a security concern. As a security concern, your security clearance can be denied. There are certain things you should be aware of if (1) you have security clearance or intend to apply for security clearance; and (2) you intend to have a few drinks one night and then drive afterward. For more information, contact your Alpharetta DUI Attorney.
Identification of DUI as a Security Concern
Security clearance is granted by the government authorizing you with a certain level of eligibility to access confidential information. In most positions, you will never access this information, but the clearance is required for security purposes. Therefore, clearance is a prerequisite for you to be employed and do your job.
The Adjudicative Guidelines For Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information has been established to assist with the security clearance process to determine if a person is or is not eligible by identifying if the person possesses any security concerns. There are thirteen guidelines in total, and up to 5 of them could be relevant if you have been charged with a DUI:
- Guideline E - Personal Conduct. This guideline refers to conduct that involves "questionable judgment, untrustworthiness, unreliability, lack of candor, dishonesty, or unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations." This kind of personal conduct is a concern because such conduct "could indicate that the person may not properly safeguard classified information." A DUI can fall under this kind of conduct.
- Guidelines G - Alcohol Consumption. This guideline refers to excessive alcohol consumption and its ability to create "questionable judgment, unreliability, failure to control impulses." Excessive alcohol consumption is a concern because it can "increase the risk of unauthorized disclosure of classified information due to carelessness." DUI is specifically mentioned under this guideline.
- Guideline H - Drug Involvement. This guideline refers to drug involvement's impact on an "individual's willingness or ability to protect classified information." Drug involvement is a concern because it can "impair social or occupational functioning, increasing the risk of an unauthorized disclosure of classified information," but it also raises questions about a person's ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations. A DUI is applicable if you were driving under the influence of drugs (regardless if illicit or prescribed).
- Guideline I - Emotional, Mental, and Personality Disorders. This guideline refers to "emotional, mental, and personality disorders [that] can cause a significant deficit in an individual's psychological, social and occupation functioning." Any such disorder or indication of such disorder is a security concern "because they may indicate a defect in judgment, reliability, or stability." A DUI may be a manifestation of one of these disorders (e.g., you are clinically depressed and were drinking to numb the pain and then drove home, but before you made it home, you were pulled over and charged).
- Guideline J - Criminal Conduct. This guideline refers to criminal conduct that shows a "history or pattern of criminal activity." Criminal conduct is a concern because it "creates doubt" with regard to a person's "judgement, reliability and trustworthiness" and raises questions about a person's ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations. A DUI is a crime and would fall under this guideline if a pattern is identified.
Denial of Security Clearance Based on DUI
When security concerns are identified, the matter is taken into consideration using a whole-person approach. The whole-person approach requires an evaluation of a person's conduct in light of the person's full net of experiences. One instance of a particular conduct does not make the person, but (1) if it is a symptom of another serious condition; or (2) if a pattern is identified, the DUI may be an indication that a person lacks the qualifications and capabilities to fulfill the job requirements.
Generally, alcohol consumption is legal and does not raise a concern for security clearance purposes. Having a DUI, however, does raise concern and may cause the employer or adjudicator to look for any other conditions that may pose a serious security concern. Some of these conditions include:
- Any other evidence of impaired judgment or misconduct while under the influence of alcohol.
- Any evidence that someone was harmed due to your drinking and driving.
- Any evidence that alcohol consumption negatively impacts your work/school performance, finances, personal or professional relationships.
- Past DUI convictions.
- Failure to complete court-ordered alcohol education or treatment program.
- Failure to abstain from alcohol if instructed by court order.
- Relapse after completion of an alcohol-related treatment program.
- Professional diagnosis of chemical substance abuse or dependency.
If any of these conditions exist, then you may be at risk of losing security clearance. There are, however, factors that can help mitigate a security concern.
DUI Charge & Mitigating Security Concerns
If you have a DUI and also have or require a security clearance, an attorney can review the unique circumstances of your case and advise you of conduct that can help mitigate security concerns, which could include:
- Being transparent and upfront;
- Proving alcohol-related incident was not serious;
- Proving alcohol-related incident was not recent;
- Exhibiting positive behavior change; and/or
- Completing a rehabilitation program.
Your best option, however, is to have the DUI charge reduced or dismissed altogether. Hiring a qualified DUI attorney in Georgia can help you with that process. A DUI attorney will properly investigate the case and move forward with a motion for dismissal or negotiations for a plea to a lesser charge.
Contact a DUI Attorney Today if Your Security Clearance is in Jeopardy
If you have security clearance and are arrested for a DUI in Roswell or Alpharetta, Georgia, it is in your best interest to contact a Roswell DUI Lawyer who has specific experience on this subject. Reputable, award-winning DUI attorney Richard Lawson has the experience, the knowledge, and the resources to address your DUI charge and to prevent it from negatively impacting your current or pending security clearance. Don't let a DUI jeopardize your livelihood. Contact us online or by phone at 404-816-4440.