Domestic Violence Incidents Lead to Clearance Denial

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Domestic violence incidents are usually result in uncontrolled emotional responses caused by irritation or aggravation with the behavior of a partner. Situations can escalate quickly and turn physical. In the security clearance world this type of behavior is a concern under Guideline E: Personal Conduct and Guideline J: Criminal Conduct. There are questions of judgment and reliability…

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I have been a law abiding citizen all my life, with just minor traffic violations till about 2016, when my then 16 year old, who was experimenting with illegal drugs attacked me. I defended myself but I had failed to tell the police that she initiated the attacked because I was trying to protect her. She, on the other hand threw me to the bus, literally…because she was hurt (no weapons involved), the police arrested and charged me with 1st and 2nd degree felony assault.
I hired an attorney and on first appearance, the judge threw out and dismissed the first degree charge. Per my lawyer’s advice, I pleaded no contest with the stipulation the charges will be dismissed under the condition I attend anger management class, which I did…case was dismissed and expunged.
At the time of the incident, I was already a fed employee so I immediately reported the incident to my agency. I maintained and still hold a Tier 1 public trust clearance in my current position. Now, I got a lifetime promotional opportunity that requires a Q-level clearance and I am scared to death of leaving my current/secured job and risk termination if I accept the new position and denied Q-clearance.
My credit score is good and the only unpaid debt is my student loan, which is in good standing. My question is; will this one time incident with my daughter, (whom I will give my life for) be a basis for denial? Also,because of Covid19, the agency is moving forward with on-boarding me with the stipulation of immediate termination if I am denied Q-level access. Do you think I should preemptively hire an attorney to help complete SF-86 or should I wait till adjudication.

Your question is a crystal ball question and no one will be able to answer you 100%.

That being said, circumstances surrounding your incident, parent and child, vs. partners, time lapsed without repeated behavior, are big mitigators in your favor. List everything and be prepared to discuss in an interview. If you have no other blips, especially related to arrests or violence, I would be more than confident that you will obtain your clearance.

I wouldn’t bother with the lawyer. Just answer the questions on the SF-86 completely and honestly.

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You might be able to arrange conditional hire - meaning you don’t give proper notice to your current job until the clearance is adjudicated then give the proper notice and start the new position two weeks later. Employment hiring is a negotiation process- the future employer doesn’t have a one way street to maneuver through. Protect your current standing without taking chances.

Now that said, realize your current employer will be contacted so keeping the potential job change on the down low is not possible.

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As Fed said, time, potential of no other issues related to domestic violence arose…possibility of daughter’s maturity level and perspective change…hopefully for the positive…a one time arrest doesn’t stop a clearance. Have you successfully completed the anger management classes? Is your interim history clean? Those will be big players. If you could start processing for new position and remain in current slot that is best. I predict a Q will take 24 months so you have some time.