SF-86 Questions for Police Records and Drug Use

I’m a veteran applying for a position requiring a clearance and I’m trying to seek clarity on how to answer SF-86 questions for Police Records and Drug Use.

Police Records Question:

“Have you EVER been charged with an offense involving alcohol or drugs?”

While in the military I made the mistake of experimenting with a legal substance (still not scheduled at Federal level or in the state of ingestion). Had I known it violated my service’s drug policy, “Anything other than alcohol or tobacco[…],” then I would have never ingested the substance. Anyhow, I legally purchased the substance in a shop and experimented with it. Given that I did not know this was a problem, I openly talked about it with people. Someone who knew better than me caught wind of this, and I wound up in an interview room with investigators.

I still did not know this was a problem during the interview with investigators, I was under the impression that they were simply curious about the substance. I provided a written statement of my complete account with the substance. Afterward, they informed me that there may be repercussions.

After returning to work, the gravity of the situation fell onto my lap. Base legal wanted to pursue actions against me and couldn’t do much considering I didn’t violate any laws—it was a very grey area the entire time. Eventually, this infraction culminated in receiving a letter of reprimand (LOR), unfavorable information file (UIF), and mandatory drug policy violation administrative discharge. There was no court martial or Article 15 action.

On to the worst part of the story, I met all the criteria to waive the mandatory discharge, but I was discharged regardless. The officer who initially denied my waiver package committed suicide a couple weeks after denying my waiver. My CO fought for me, but to no avail, I exited service with a general discharge.

Almost three months pass after the discharge and I receive a phone call from a legal officer representing a general officer. For reasons they would not fully disclose, they’re retroactively superseding the original order denying my discharge waiver and accept my waiver. They provided me two options, upgrade my discharge to honorable and remain separated, or void my discharge and allow me to reenter service. I chose to reenter.

This is my dilemma. I don’t know if I was “charged” with anything and I do not have a copy of the LOR. I don’t believe I have a Police Record, because I never committed a crime. I talked to a base defense lawyer regarding how to respond to my LOR and create a waiver package, but there was no court martial, no Article 15, and no live appearances before a panel of any kind.

Does this situation qualify as being “charged” with an “offense” involving drugs?

You have maybe three areas of the form to possibly report this info - in the employment/military service section, the police record section, or the drug use section. I don’t believe you need to report in all three. Once an issue is listed on the form, no need to repeat - other FIs, pls double check me on this advice.

Best section To report the info you provided would probably be the Employment/military section.

In the employment section you need to list each duty station separately. For the duty station where you experienced the issue, answer yes to receiving a warning/reprimand and give a one sentence summary.

For the military section, You may need to enter two timeframes for your military service. Look through your military service page for how your record is shown. I think you can access it online to obtain specific details. The Navy uses NSIPS - don’t know what it’s called for other services.

List you duty station info and reprimand record in the employment or military section as It’s shown in your record.

That record will be accessed and reported during your investigation. Those reviewers don’t always get the details right - non-military reviewers reporting military info can confuse matters.

You will probably be flagged for an interview so be ready to discuss this situation as an empl issue - which I think is the better way to go.

Thank you for the thoughtful response!

I’ll look further into whether I need to report it in multiple locations, otherwise I’ll follow your advice.

I’m in the process of retrieving as many of my military personal records as possible, but I think the LOR and UIF are disposed of after a period of good behavior per service instruction.

The initial general discharge was voided, treated like it never happened. The military amended my admin orders from separation to PCS orders and treated my missing time as dealing with administrative issues.

Again, thank you for the information.