Taken to my City's drunk tank


About a year ago, I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday and after a few tequilas I was asked to leave the bar. While I was outside at the bar waiting for my Uber, an individual started causing a fight, the police came and took care of the situation. I was put in handcuffs and taken to the drunk tank, where they told me it was going to be anonymous and I was gong to be released once I was sober. After 2 hours later, I was released, ordered an Uber and went home. Would this incident affect my security clearance and would it show on my criminal record? I was not taken to jail nor convicted, just a drunk tank where they take individuals to sober up and move. This is the only time, I have ever been put in handcuffs and I’m not much of a drinker. I appreciate your answer as this has been bothering.

I don’t know if it will affect your clearance (I’ve heard worse things) but it sounds like something that should be reported if you currently hold a security clearance. Also you need to find out exactly what (if anything) you were charged with… I mean, I’m not a cop or a lawyer but it certainly sounds like you were under arrest. I suppose they can arrest you and then let you go without filing charges, but it sounds like this is the sort of thing that a police officer would need to write up, which could lead to something that an investigator might uncover.

There are also likely to be questions about alcohol use.

I’m sure one of the investigators or FSO’s will comment but it sounds like something that needs to be reported.

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Thank you for your response. I was not arrested nor charged with anything but rather detained and taken to the center to sober up where they did not take any of my information such as SSN or driver’s license. I was let go once I was sober.

I was intrigued by your post and did some googling. Sure enough, a few cities have - or have had - “sobering stations” or “sobering centers” - where drunks are taken to sober up without being charged with a crime of any kind. I had never heard of such a thing, but it’s true! You learn something every day.

Two thoughts:

  1. You should contact the agency/jurisdiction where this happened and ascertain exactly what kind of facility - hospital? Detention center? Sober center? - you were taken to so you can answer any later questions fully and truthfully. I doubt the official term is “drunk tank.” FWIW to me that is a jail you are taken after arrest.

  2. This is certainly a reportable incident. You were handcuffed, detained, and transported by a police officer. You had an adverse interaction with law enforcement because of your alcohol use. Be prepared to be fully truthful, so again get all the facts ahead of time - date, location, etc. If you currently hold a clearance, be prepared to explain why you withheld this information from your FSO for the last year.

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Thank you! Yes, the correct name is sober center. I currently don’t have a security clearance, but I’ll be going through a ‘secret’ clearance pretty soon. Does this incident hindered my ability to get pass a security clearance?

Thank you once again!

I would definitely disclose it on any forms you submit. If the authorities are holding you at a sober center for an alcohol incident they have the ability to charge you with an alcohol offense if you do not cooperate with the procedures of the sobering center. (the charges can be easily dropped later) The problem comes when friends are interviewed and mention this event or court/police records show up and then it comes out later that you did not disclose it and implies you are hiding it. It probably was no big deal in the long run but being open about it is the key.