Will a Criminal Conviction Affect My Security Clearance?

Working with sensitive materials requires a level of trust by employers in the people accessing these items. Because of these sensitivities, there are restrictions on who is allowed to access these materials, including those mentally unfit, or dishonorably discharged from the military. What though, about convicted felons? Can they still gain clearance or authorization? Read on if you find yourself wondering, “will a criminal conviction affect my security clearance?”

does a felony hurt your security cleraanceHow are Security Clearances Determined?

The federal government bases their security clearance parameters on a set of indicators a person must meet. These are:

  • Strength of character
  • Discretion
  • Honesty
  • Trustworthiness
  • Reliability
  • Sound judgment

Because of the strength of character and trustworthy requirements, many believe that if they have a criminal record, they may face disqualification from gaining a clearance. This fear of instant refusal, however, may not be the case.

There are only three distinct types of individuals who face unilateral barring from obtaining a security clearance. These are those who are:

  • Addicted to a controlled substance
  • Dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
  • Are considered mentally incompetent by a licensed medical professional

Also, federal employees or government contractors who served a prison sentence of over one-year face barring from accessing restricted data.

Felons and Security Clearance

While a prison term over one-year disqualifies a person from accessing sensitive data, this does not mean that those with a criminal history will necessarily face barring from obtaining a security clearance. If a position merely requires confidentiality or secret clearance, they may investigate mitigating circumstances which may determine a felon can receive authorization.

If a felony involves a controlled substance, any evidence of substance abuse, such as DUI, this will likely reflect negatively on the person. Additionally, convictions for theft, embezzlement, or other such cries may indicate dishonesty, which in turn reflect poorly on the individual.

On the other hand, if a criminal conviction was in the distant past, or was an isolated incident, this will likely not be taken as seriously as a drug or theft conviction. Additionally, signs of rehabilitation or the evidence that a crime was committed through coercion may not negatively affect a person’s chances of obtaining a security clearance.

Will a Conviction Affect My Security Clearance?

So, will a criminal conviction affect your security clearance? The simple answer is maybe. Because of the myriad issues which play into the granting or revoking of security clearance, if you face a criminal charge you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can better explain your unique predicament.

If you have questions about a past conviction and your security clearance, call Piotrowski Law today. Chad Piotrowski has an impressive record of doggedly defending the rights of his clients. Chad can fight for you to ensure your security clearance concerns are adequately addressed.  You may even be eligible for the sealing of your prior conviction, or even expungement, which would likely help your security authorization problem.

Call Piotrowski Law today at 305-204-5000 and fight to keep your security clearance.