Northern Virginia and the D.C. Metro area hold a large population of government employees, many of which are trusted with highly secret or classified information that requires a security clearance to access. Security clearances are given to people who can prove, through a tough background check, that their lifestyle and actions are trustworthy, but, like with many other kinds of background checks, a drunk driving conviction can cause a clearance to be denied, or even revoked.
In Virginia, a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction remains on your record for 10 years. While one DUI in Virginia may not be enough to revoke or deny a security clearance, Federal Regulations regarding alcohol will certainly take your DUI in Virginia seriously and look into whether you have a history of alcohol abuse, DUI convictions, or several other aggravating factors, including:
- Criminal behavior due to alcohol abuse, such as child or spousal abuse or fighting.
- A history of drinking on the job and/or coming to work drunk.
- A medical diagnosis of alcohol dependence or abuse.
- A habitual problem with alcohol abuse, including drinking after a medical diagnosis or after completing an alcohol rehabilitation program.
However, if you show that you don’t have a problem with alcohol, have gotten treatment for any alcohol-related problems, or have only been convicted of a DUI in Virginia one time, the odds of receiving or keeping a security clearance are much better. A statement from a physician or self-help (Alcoholics Anonymous, for example) program stating your sobriety for 12 months or more can also help determine your security clearance eligibility. It is also recommended that you admit to any DUI or other negative background information that could impact your security clearance before it is discovered as your security clearance is processed.
A DUI in Virginia does not mean the loss or revocation of a security clearance, but, for those who aspire to work within the government, staying sober is always the most trusted choice possible.