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.


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.