I’m non-military, security clearance noob with an English degree and no idea what I’m getting into.
I recently got offered and accepted a position in a department that handles Secret information. I completed the SF-85, the federal background check, and a “quick-check” by the hiring agency to get started, and have been working for less than a week. So far, the work I’ve been assigned to do involves handling stuff of a non-sensitive nature, but one of the stipulations of the job is that I would need to be eligible for Secret clearance. For whatever reason, I wasn’t required to fill out the SF-86 to get started, however, I am going to fill out it next week, and am worried.
In 2008 and 2009, I was arrested on drug-related charges**. The 2008 charge involved a felony possession charge (a pill) that was expunged from my record, though I was convicted of misdemeanor possession of drug (marijuana) paraphernalia.** The 2009 charge, a misdemeanor marijuana charge, was also expunged. As far as convictions go, I only have the misdemeanor possession charge from 2008, which was over 10 years ago.
When I was asked during the initial interview whether I had any criminal history, I said no, as I A) had googled Secret clearance and was under the impression that only criminal charges from the last 7 years needed to be disclosed and B) I thought it was a long shot that I’d be offered the job, anyway.
I discovered today that I might be paying for this carelessness, as I just read Section 22.2 of the SF-86 (the "have you EVER questions), and am feeling pretty puckered. Apologies if these questions seem to answer themselves, but I just want to talk to someone who knows about this stuff, but who isn’t trying to investigate or adjudicate me.
- Do I need to mention the felony charge and/or the misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, even though I was not convicted and it was expunged? Is it “erased from the eyes of the law,” or is an expunction irrelevant in a nat’l security clearance investigation?
- Do I need to mention the time I got caught drinking beer in the campus woods by University police, who then wrote me a ticket that I paid without further ado?
- Is this hopeless, and should I tell my hiring manager everything I’ve written here?