Am I eligible for a Security Clearance? Felon

When I was 18, I worked at home depot as a cashier and took $300 from the register to help pay for bills. Realized I was wrong and told them but they didn’t care and charged me with Felony Embezzlement. I went to court and over the next year and they dropped it to Misdeameanor petit larceny then ultimatly dismissed as a Deferred Disposition. I’m 23 now, I’ve had many jobs after that and went to school for Automotive Mechanics and graduated and got a job with Mercedes Benz. I haven’t committed any more crimes since then except for a Misdeamenor Underage Possesion of Alcohol when I was 20 (Dropped too). I’ve been studying to get into the IT field but since I live in the DC Area most of the jobs here require a security clearance. How are my chances of getting a Clearance? I plan on being truthful and laying everything out on the table as I have nothing to hide.

Just so you know - adjudicators don’t care whether or not your criminal charges were “dropped” or not. What an adjudicator will do is examine the “facts” about each of your criminal cases (police reports, etc.) and make a determination if the incident did in fact occur. Then the bad aspects of your clearance application will be weighed against the good aspects of it and a decision will be made. In your case:

-Five years ago you were charged with a felony involving theft from the workplace - really bad
-Five years ago you were also fired from a workplace for theft - bad
-Three years ago you were charged with a misdemeanor alcohol related offense - bad

Those three items, based on what you’ve disclosed on this forum, are what you have to overcome. Understand that in the clearance world, bad conduct is mitigated primarily by time and what you have done with yourself since the bad conduct occurred. In you case, you’ve held other employment, hopefully without issues, and you have obtained education in the form of a trade skill.

Best thing you can do on the SF-86 is be honest and emphasize on your accomplishments in the continuation section at the end of the form. Good luck.

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I would also add

Did you do any non mandatory community service? Like speaking to troubled kids

Did you try to pay it back?

Write a letter of apology?

Not saying any of this is required. It might help your case though. The more time of good behavior you put between yourself and the security clearance application will be better.

Personally I suggest you wait four years and get some more IT experience under your belt too

Thank you for the Insight.

I payed back the money a couple weeks later. It’s been so long ago and I was caught up with the wrong crowd trying to act like something I wasn’t so I don’t remember the exact details. I don’t do that stuff anymore because I finally grew up. About the whole Underage Possesion of Alcohol thing, me and my (ex) girlfriend split and she got mad at me. I went to my dorm and drank half a can of miller lite to calm down. She came in and called campus police and I took a breathalizer test, blew a 0.01 and was charged with underage possesion of alcohol. This was about 10 days before turning 21 so the judge just made me take classes and such. My whole life I been doing volunteer work without being required too, I’ve flown to 3rd world countries and built stoves for people in poverty with an organization. I do yard work and house work mostly everyday for my parents who just retired from the Marine Corps. I go to church for the majority of sundays when I don’t work. I’m the oldest of 3 children and both of my little brothers have Autism so I take care of them too when I have the chance. At one point in my life I’ve worked 2 jobs working 22 hours a day and I am in upstanding terms with them. I try to be a positive role model and a leader to people who need it and I always councel troubled people my age on staying away from crime and to always do the right thing no matter what. I show the upmost courtesy and respect to my elders (Yes sir, No sir) even when I’m not getting any respect back. I want to be able help people as a career but alot of dreams shut down for me when I took the money. I’ve had a hard life even now i’m struggling because of a choice I made in the past. I’m not living so much for myself anymore it’s more to secure my families future. That is all I’m worried about. Thank you for your feedback and thank you for taking your time to listen.

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It goes without saying that you must list the crimes/incidents with the supporting details on the E-QIP questionnaire. When you have your interview with the BI, you can go more into the things you’ve done since those days that are long behind you. The adjudicator who gets your entire file, including all the notes from the BI interview, will make the final determination.

I believe that you are going to do just fine . . .

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Given the mitigating factors you’ve provided here, in conjunction with the deferred sentences, I think you’ll be OK.

Let me be clear though. Be honest on your forms. Be VERY sure on the details of your cases. By time the investigator comes to talk to you about these cases they will already know more about it than you probably do (years later). Go over your court documents and be sure of the details. Don’t just write down in the E-qip (SF-86) “charges dropped” use the legal terms presented in the court documents. If you don’t have the court documents you need to contact the courthouses where the charges were filed. Details matter. Charges dropped is different than deferred sentence, which is different than plea deals etc. Even if you aren’t knowingly misrepresenting the case it will be perceived as if you are trying to do so. Tell the truth and you’ll be fine.

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Will do. thank you, sir.

By the way . . . You are NOT a felon . . . You were charged with a felony, you did not plea to a felony and you were not convicted of a felony.