Virginia DUI Charges and Security Clearances

Security clearances are very common in Virginia and the surrounding DC area as a condition of employment because many people in the area are employed by the federal government. The presence of federal government contractors also makes security clearances common.

A conviction for driving under the influence has the ability to greatly affect an individual’s security clearance, depending on whatever other factors, especially negative factors, a security clearance officer may look at.

If someone already has a security clearance, that clearance has to be renewed every few years. At the point of renewal or review, someone may be asked about a DUI conviction. In addition, most people who have clearances are under an obligation to report any charges they receive to their employer. In that case, it is likely that a DUI conviction may trigger a security clearance to come under review, thereby making it important that a DUI attorney is contacted.

Security Clearance Penalties

Typically, a single DUI conviction is not going to be enough to cause a significant problem regarding an individual’s security clearance. However, if there are other factors in play which would cause the employer to be concerned about the security clearance, a DUI  might push a person over the edge towards losing their current security clearance as they come up for review.

Losing security clearance can jeopardize the employment of a number of people. There are many jobs in the federal government or with contractors for the federal government for which security clearance is required.

Strategies

It is always important to have a person’s clearance in view when dealing with any criminal charge, especially in a DUI case. When a person has clearance and there is some risk that a DUI will affect it, they have a lot more on the line than other people.

This manifests itself in a couple of ways. In advance of a trial, a defense attorney will engage in mitigation strategies that will persuade the Commonwealth of Virginia to either reduce or dismiss the charge based on the clearance that a person has.

When facing DUI charges, security clearances are something that must be factored in when assessing risk and making decisions about whether to accept plea agreements or take a case to trial. A person who has a security clearance may decide to try their case under circumstances where a person without a clearance would not, because they cannot afford to have a conviction.

At every phase of the case, it is important that the attorney to keeps a client’s security clearance in view. A good attorney will factor their client’s security clearance into every decision that that is made in the DUI case.