A DUI Conviction Will Negatively Affect Your Next Security Clearance Renewal.

Security clearances are only awarded to people who pass an extensive background check. You must demonstrate loyalty to the United States, strong moral character, sound judgment, discretion, and honesty. To have any level of security clearance means you can be trusted on every level to maintain sound body and mind.

Getting arrested for a DUI may have you worried that you won’t pass a background check, or that you’ll lose the security clearance you already have. You may be thinking about how this jeopardizes your career, whether or not you will pass the background investigation, or if you’ll lose your clearance.

Applying for Security Clearance

If you are working on your security clearance application, the first thing you should do is look into how your recent DUI will affect that process. The background investigation will research your criminal history very thoroughly. While a DUI that happened many years ago without a repeat offense may not be a deal breaker, a recent DUI could be different.

If you are working hard to achieve security clearance, a recent DUI conviction could be cause for denial. You may need to consult with a DUI attorney to discuss the next steps and what your best options are.

Current Security Clearance

If you already have security clearance, it’s not likely that you’ll automatically lose it. However, you will have to address your DUI conviction the next time you are up for review for your security clearance.  In these cases, it’s critical to understand the impact of a DUI on your security clearance as a whole.


Your security clearance is subject to a re-investigation every five years. It could be more or less, but that’s the general rule. The Office of Personnel Security and Suitability might notify you that they plan to conduct another background investigation, at which point you may have to answer some questions about your DUI conviction if it wasn’t on your record the last time they investigated.

This investigation will begin where the last one ended. The investigator assigned to your case will conduct a thorough investigative process and examine your life to assess whether or not you are an unacceptable security risk. To decide, they will evaluate the following criteria:

  • The frequency of your conduct
  • The circumstances of your conduct
  • The seriousness of your conduct
  • When the conduct occurred
  • Your motivation
  • The likelihood it will happen again

It’s hard to say for sure whether or not you will lose your security clearance or be denied security clearance without knowing who will be assigned to your file or the other circumstances surrounding the conviction. There are a lot of factors to consider.

The ultimate decision will land on the interest of national security and common sense. While the decision to grant continued security clearance is based on thirteen guidelines, the following five apply to a DUI conviction:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Personal conduct
  • Drug involvement
  • Criminal conduct
  • Psychological conditions

If you were recently convicted of a DUI, and are concerned about your security clearance, speak with an attorney to better understand your options.

Call the Johnson Law Firm to speak with an Experienced DUI Attorney

Put the expertise of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests of the Johnson Law Firm to work for you. Attorney James Johnson is qualified as an Instructor of SFSTs for law enforcement and police academies.

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