Alcohol Incident Security Clearance Advice Needed

Arrested for first DUI earlier this year for operating a parked vehicle (did not drive). Reported to my FSO the next work day. FSO filed an incident report in JPAS. Fast forward a few months and received direction to resubmit SF-86. While filling out SF-86 realized there was another alcohol incident from two years prior. Reported in SF-86 immediately.

Old incident involved 1 night stay in hospital after a night out. Dealt with matter personally and significant changes to drinking habits were made (i.e., drink in moderation, and be careful and monitor intake). Normally drink once a month or every few months in social setting. Honestly, was not aware the old incident needed to be reported until seeing the SF-86 question.

Going back to DUI the case is moving along. Received deferred judgement so charge will be dismissed after completing education class and community service. Have been making strides in completing court requirements.

Will be going to an independent counselor for voluntary alcohol evaluation and following any requirements they deem necessary. Have drank responsibly since DUI arrest and have not had a drink in a few weeks and plan to remain sober as this investigation progresses.

I have had some poor judgement in these instances and I recognize that. I am trying to document counseling, responsible use/abstinence while the investigation is ongoing to show that I have made changes. Alcohol incidents are a serious thing, and I am trying to be proactive and as forthcoming as possible. Other than two alcohol incidents, no other issues.

Do you think I can keep my clearance? When should I hire legal council and how much do they cost? What is a general rule of thumb for time passed since an incident has occurred that can be used as a mitigating factor?

I wouldn’t be surprised if you either kept or lost your clearance. If you receive a Letter of Intent to deny your clearance, then you should consider legal counsel.

The issue at hand is whether or not an adjudicator will view this as a pattern of behavior. You have documented good steps in solving your ‘issue’, but it has been less than a year and that can make it difficult to tell if your patterns have changed or if this is just a change that you will keep during investigation.

Clearance level matters too. Higher level means easier denial over issues.

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I agree with @danorou here. As for the old incident, it depends. I should note that section 24 does ask a question whether alcohol requires law enforcement/public intervention. Unless you volunteered yourself into the hospital, the old incident should have been reported in my opinion. Either way, I think adjudicator will want to know more about the old incident. There is no telling on this as it can go either way.

If I were you, I wouldn’t take that chance… Ideally, one should retain a security clearance attorney before submitting the new SF-86 in your case. Since you already submitted it, I still recommend you to retain the attorney immediately rather than wait. Security clearance attorney will likely cost pretty penny, but it beats losing clearance eligibility and/or job. By the way, most security clearance attorneys offer free consultation service.

My client will allow the legal situation to play out. In a nutshell, one cannot maintain a clearance if they are an alcoholic, who is actively drinking. How loose are their lips, etc. However, if an alcoholic successfully completes an alcohol program, abstains, and demonstrates clear patters on good behavior, they maintain the clearance. It is good you own both the drinking and bad behavior. I commend you for the counseling and believe it will require lifetime contact with a mentor and following your program to the letter. There are a few employees who had DUI’s, some even 2. They maintain their clearance. If you cannot have a license initially, you need work with friends and Uber to get to and from work. But I have seen employees adapt and overcome that aspect as well.

Do you need to report the previous incident? It depends on portions of the circumstances that you haven’t provided. How did you end up in the hospital? Was the overnight stay required or was it medical advice? The form asks about “law enforcement/public intervention” . . . If your friends drove you to the hospital because you were ill, that isn’t “public intervention” but if somebody called EMTs and you were transported by them to the hospital, that’s a different story.

If everything is as you say, I strongly suspect that you will be able to retain your clearance. The court doesn’t seem to think that you are much of a risk and your actions, while over the top for someone without a clearance, speak well of your intention.

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