Perhaps you are a contractor who requires a security clearance because you perform work for a federal government agency. Recently a law enforcement officer stopped you for a broken taillight violation but smelled alcohol on your breath. The officer arrested you for driving under the influence of alcohol. Now what? Is your security clearance in jeopardy?
Considering the “whole person”
The whole person concept is one that will apply to security clearance matters. You should inform your supervisor about your DUI, after which he or she may weigh a series of factors that relate to this concept. For example, your supervisor or other interested parties may look at the motivation for your behavior, the extent or seriousness of the incident and even your age and level of maturity. In determining the fate of your security clearance, they do not look at the incident by itself, but rather its effect or influence on the “whole person.”
Dealing with penalties for a first offense
In the state of Minnesota, you could be facing a fine of up to $1,000 and the possibility of up to 90 days in jail, depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. The other issue, and one of immediate concern, is that you will lose your driving privileges temporarily.
Drawing a line
Keep in mind that it will be important for you to follow any recommendations your attorney makes and to comply with all instructions from the court. If, for example, the court orders you to engage in community service or attend alcohol education classes, the agency for which you work will look favorably on your participation. If this DUI conviction is your first offense, it is unlikely to derail your security clearance, but if one offense becomes many, you may risk losing your security clearance and your career.