Sf-85p mitigating criminal and drug history

Hi, I am a current fed in i believe a low-risk public trust role. Only ever did OF306 when onboarded. I just recently got an official job offer and start date for a promotion to an sf-85p role at the same agency, but not sure whether “moderate” or “high risk”. Now awaiting interview scheduling, and I’m looking for help thinking of how to frame mitigating circumstances for my history. I’m not sure what is helpful to highlight.

It should go without saying, but of course, I will be 100% honest and forthright for every question asked. I know this stuff was a long time ago, but I can’t help but worry.

I had nothing to declare on sf-85p, but have criminal and drug history from college years that I’m expecting the interviewer will see and question about:

2008 (as a minor)

  • charged with marijuana possession
  • charged with possession of drug paraphernalia
  • reduced to disorderly conduct, which i admitted.


  • charged with disorderly conduct
  • charged with underage drinking
  • charged with marijuana possession
  • charged with possession of drug paraphernalia
  • drug charges dropped, admitted to drinking and disorderly conduct charges.

prepared to discuss all charges, either dropped, sealed, expunged, or otherwise, when asked. i have all records and receipts.

drug use-

  • Marijuana use (2007-2013 - habitual with periods of cessation (e.g. summer breaks), last time spring or summer 2014)
  • LSD (4 times in all, about once a year between 2008 and 2013, last time spring 2013)

possible mitigating circumstances?
Since 2014, I’ve had no drug use and have been removed from “those” college friends since 2012. Use tapered quickly after college. Starting 2016, moved to a new state, went to grad school, had all new social group, no unsavory behavior of any kind (save minor unreportable traffic violations). Starting as a grad student and since graduating, I’ve worked in public service.

Are there best practices for how to present mitigating circumstances in situations like these? Hoping to have thoughtful answers in mind.

Thank you in advance for any advice.

You may not even get an interview. If you do, I don’t think you will need to bring up any of these issues— been a while since I have seen an SF-85P but I don’t think there are any “ever” questions that would apply to any of the issues you mentioned. Most (if not all) are seven year questions on the SF-85P as far as I remember. If you get an interview and you are asked if you have used illegal drugs or been arrested in the last seven years, don’t bring up anything that occurred more than seven years ago.

I just mention the INV-42 bc I imagine once she mentions it, it would open the door for more questions or prompt an interview?

What do you think my situation looks like if I end up having to lay it all out?

Thanks again for your help.

Thanks, Cal. I appreciate your help in responding.

My wife just received an INV-42 to verify unemployment during law school, and it asked if she has “any” adverse information regarding criminal activity or drug use. Since the form doesn’t have a timeframe listed, I assume she should give info about the arrests and state I last used illegal drugs in 2014. Want to make sure I’m following everything required to a “T”

Honesty is always the best policy in this process, so she should list everything she is aware of if there is no timeframe dictated on the form. But I don’t think any of these issues are flag issues so wouldn’t trigger an interview if you are up for a T2, or confrontation if you do have an interview or T4. But again, I’m going off my memory of the SF-85P triggers.

Thanks, I appreciate your advice. Will absolutely be honest and transparent, and she will be too. Cant help but worry.

I wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep over any of this for a public trust. For a S or TS you would probably have to discuss some/all of the issues during an interview. But they are all so old it probably wouldn’t cause you any problems IMO. But I’ve never worked as an adjudicator.

Thanks, that certainly helps!

If this is for a T4, will they ask me to just like inventory old drug use? Ive seen some posts where people say they’re asked to recall names of other people present etc., so I’m trying to get all that written out in advance to my best recollection.

Or it is more that since just marijuana possession will show up on my rap sheet, that’s all they’ll ask about?

This is a non-law enforcement agency and role.

For a T4, you should only be asked about drug/legal issues in the last seven years. Were the possession charges in a locality where you have lived/worked/gone to school at for six months in the last seven years? If not, good chance they won’t come up. If they do pop up on a law check, you may be asked about them—seems like there are some different rules on confronting about issues that don’t need to be listed based on the agency for the clearance and the company the investigator is working for. Also, sometimes the investigators get confused on the rules and confront on issues that don’t require confrontation. If you get asked issue resolution questions, just answer truthfully. If you can’t remember something, just say you can’t remember. I wouldn’t try to prep any info in advance for issues this old.

That makes sense! I was dreading some kind of open ended “tell us about all your drug history” type question.

Looks like itll only be a T2 after all