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Can you obtain security clearance with a DUI conviction?

Perhaps you are pursuing a job with the Internal Revenue Service, or you want to work for a government contractor.

However, on your way home from a party, a law enforcement officer arrested you for driving under the influence of alcohol. Will a conviction prevent you from obtaining the necessary security clearance?

Next steps

An arrest for DUI is an unnerving experience at best, especially if this is your first offense. The next step will be an arraignment in court, during which, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecution in an effort to reduce or dismiss the charges against you. However, you must also schedule a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the objective of which is to obtain a provisional driver's license as a temporary substitute for the license that law enforcement took away from you during your arrest.

The effect on security clearance

The good news is that a single drunk driving mistake should not affect your ability to obtain the security clearance you seek. However, it is important that you follow any recommendations your attorney makes and comply with court requirements, such as participating in safe driving classes or attending alcohol counseling.

Other issues

In the process of providing security clearance to an applicant, the subject of alcohol consumption is among the criteria used. The problem you would most likely encounter concerns recidivism: You do not want to become a repeat DUI offender. If that should happen, the government would question your impulse control, which relates to excessive drinking, as well as your judgment, which means the decision to drive after imbibing too much alcohol. If, after the first conviction, you obtain security clearance, remember that your employer can suspend it if a second DUI mark appears on your record.

Moving forward

Your conviction for DUI may be a one-time error, a mistake you resolve not to repeat. Explore your legal options to find the help you need. Fortunately, one drunk driving incident should not derail your chances of obtaining the security clearance that opens the door to the career you have in mind.

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