Did You Know That a DWI Conviction can Affect your Eligibility for a Security Clearance?

Did You Know That a DWI Conviction can Affect your Eligibility for a Security ClearanceMore than 22 million people work for federal, state, and local government agencies across the United States. Many government employees reside in Maryland and commute to our nation’s capital to work every day. A substantial number of government jobs require some level of security clearance, which requires a thorough investigation, interview process, and background check to receive. If your goal is to work for the government or you already have a government job, you don’t want to jeopardize your eligibility for a security clearance in any way.

One factor that may make it difficult to obtain or retain a security clearance is a criminal history. The government views criminal conduct as a potential security risk, and you may even get denied if authorities simply accuse you of a crime, even without a conviction. This is because security clearance adjudication proceedings use a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt standard in criminal court. This means that without the right defense representation, you can risk your security clearance—and your career—if the police arrest you for driving while intoxicated (DWI).

A DWI allegation will generally not automatically disqualify you from a security clearance. However, under federal law, a charge and/or a conviction combined with other factors can jeopardize your eligibility. Such factors include:

  • Other incidents involving alcohol, such as fighting, disorderly conduct, or domestic abuse
  • Alcohol incidents at work
  • A pattern of alcohol abuse
  • Diagnosis of alcohol dependence or abuse
  • Continuing to drink alcohol after a diagnosis

Additional factors may include the recentness of the DWI conviction, whether you have additional criminal convictions, and if you sought help for a problem with alcohol. Even if other factors are in your favor, you want to avoid a DWI conviction whenever possible.


If you face charges of DWI, you need a defense lawyer who will fight against a conviction and help you avoid as many collateral consequences—such as losing a security clearance—as possible. Our attorneys work to prove that your charges are unfounded and to prevent a conviction whenever possible. By building a strong defense, pointing out errors by authorities or wrongful charges, or presenting evidence that supports the dismissal of your charges, we are also building a case to support a security clearance approval despite DWI charges.


Many people think that because Maryland offers Probation Before Judgement that a first DWI or a seemingly minor conviction isn’t a big deal. What they don’t realize is that they can lose security clearances, professional licenses (medical, law, CPAs, airplane pilots, among many others) and college scholarships. They can face military sanctions if they’re in the armed forces. That’s why, even for a first offense, anyone cited for a DWI should not skimp—they should hire a top-notch attorney: Alpert Schreyer, LLC – DUI & Criminal Defense. Call (301) 494-9620 or contact our office online to schedule your free case evaluation right away.

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