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Security Clearances and Michigan DUI Charges

While a lone DUI charge is not necessarily going to revoke a security clearance, DUI charges in combination with other factors can lead to the revocation of a security clearance. One of the primary qualifications that a person must meet in order to obtain security clearance in the first place is that they are not in the position to have a substance abuse issue. The privileged access that a person is given upon being cleared cannot be jeopardized by the increased potential to inappropriately share classified information, and regular use of mind-altering substances significantly increases the likelihood of information being shared.

Another red flag to the government agencies issuing security clearance is if a person’s OWI charges are not a standalone incident. They will be looking for patterns of continuing conduct regarding substance abuse, including both alcohol use and issues with drugs. A continued pattern of criminal activity, even if a portion can be attributed to a criminal accident, can therefore negatively impact an individual’s ability to obtain or maintain a security clearance.

Careers Requiring Security Clearance

In the field of Michigan DUI law, security clearance does not necessarily come up often, but when it does, the impact of a DUI on security clearance is of supreme importance to that select group of people. Individuals who are security cleared are generally people who work for the federal government, or are associated with the federal government or companies that work directly with government agencies. This is to say that the people who are likely to have a security clearance are often employed in the law enforcement community by agencies such as the FBI, CIA, Federal Marshals, or Board of Security. Additionally, anyone employed by the Department of Justice, any prosecutors who work on behalf of the federal government, or a tax agent with the IRS may have a security clearance as well.

When looking at a person who has any kind of military contract or background, the government wants to make sure that anyone who contracts with the military has some level of security clearance before actually being able to engage with them. This includes independent contractors in government and defense contracting, and it is important for people who work so closely with the military to understand that their security clearance can be affected by DUI charges. So, while the majority of security clearances are issued to government employees, there are a handful of industries that require certain employees to maintain government issued security clearance that enable them to work very closely with the government.

Types of Security Clearance

While the type of security clearance that a DUI lawyer is working with is important to be aware of, it is not something they will necessarily focus on. The three primary types of security clearance that DUI lawyers are familiar with are:

  1. Confidential security clearance
  2. Secret security clearance
  3. Top secret security clearance

When it comes to protecting security clearances from DUI charges, a defense attorney focuses on the fact that regardless of what level the clearance is, there are specific requirements that their client is going to have to be able to meet in order to have that security clearance, and one of those requirements is having a clean background check. When it comes to drunk driving, it is important to expediently identify if the person has a substance abuse problem, which would hinder their eligibility to become security cleared. While many OWI charges can be the result of an unfortunate fluke, they are also often indicative of substance abuse problems which the government sees as a liability when determining qualifications for security clearance.

This means that it is critically important that a lawyer focus on defending not only the impaired driving case, but also mitigating the potential damage that could come out of the substance abuse assessments required for a drunk driving defense case. It is also important to ensure that individuals are put in touch with the right agencies to receive treatment, if there is any potential treatment that should be administered.

Obtaining a Security Clearance

Most often, security clearance will be obtained through employment with the federal government, or employment in a close proximity to the federal government. The determining factor for most security clearances is the type of job. The federal government has already established security guidelines, and they have already determined the level of security clearance that is going to be required to perform certain jobs.

In order to apply for, and be hired in the capacity of these positions, people need to begin the process by filling out information necessary to obtain a security clearance, and need to make sure that the information they are providing is correct, because the FBI and the Department of Justice will be reviewing everything that is submitted.

When it comes to pursuing security clearance with drunk driving charges attached, whether a person is trying to obtain a new clearance, or retain an existing one, it is important to ensure that the person’s record is as clean as it possibly can be, because any kind of substance abuse issue, or pattern of conduct that may be indicative of liability that the government will take into very serious consideration before determining security clearance eligibility.