Security clearances are becoming more and more common with the advent of Homeland Security and the “war on terror”. There are many ways to lose a security clearance such as being convicted of a felony or engaging in conduct that is deemed a threat to national security. But, what about a simple DUI ? Will a drunk driving arrest cause a security clearance to go bye-bye? According to DUI Attorney Matthew Ruff, a lawyer located in the South Bay who has defended thousands of DWI and driving under the influence cases over the last two decades, a security clearance will not automatically be lost following a DUI arrest. In many cases, the clearance, whether it be a top-secret or secret, can be saved if the case is handled the right way. First, the accused should hire an attorney local to the area that has experience in fighting these types of cases. Many times a DUI can be reduced or dismissed so as to have no consequence to the clearance. Second, be honest with your employer, do not hide the arrest or try to conceal the fact that a case is ongoing. A DUI, like any other type of criminal case, is an accusation only, and the person is presumed innocent until the contrary is proven.
Determining what impact a DUI arrest will have on a security clearance also requires an analysis of the type of offense. For example, if the case is one involving injury then the charge could be a felony which has dire consequences on a clearance. Moreover, if the person has a prior conviction for drunk driving then the government will likely see that case as one in a pattern of instances which may militate towards a revocation of the security clearance. The bottom line is that if you are facing a DUI charge, hire a lawyer that knows the system, the ramifications of a conviction, and can chart a course to try to avoid the loss of a person’s security clearance.