Will Probation disqualify me?


Good afternoon everyone,
I used to be in the military with a secret clearance and got out with an honorable discharge and my clearance lapsed. Well a few years later (2016) I was arrested and charged with a class 1 misdemeanor: brandishing a firearm, which is a criminal offense. This was a first time offence with a clean record, so I was advised to plead not guilty which I did. The judge gave me probation before judgment for 1 year and I went that year without getting into trouble and the charges were dismissed. My question is, with this knowledge would I be disqualified for a secret clearance or should I really not worry about it? I haven’t been in any trouble since then and when filling out paper work I have to check yes for arrested, yes for charged, no for convicted, and yes for probation. Lastly, is there anything I can do to better my chances of getting my clearance such as letters of recommendation or anything? Thanks everyone!


The incident in itself will not automatically disqualify you as long as you completed all court orders and/or probation, which sounds like you did. The only challenge I can see is that passage of time may not work towards your favor bc the incident occurred within a ~three year window. Usually, they will consider passage of time as a mitigating factor for any misdemeanor incident that occurred over ~three years and without any repeatable offense.

They most likely will call you for an interview to discuss more about the incident. The best thing you can do is be truthful about all original charges and final dispositions. If you want to go above and beyond, get a copy of the police report and court record and hand it to the BI when they interview you. If there have been positive life changes since the incident such as getting married, having a baby, etc, that can help mitigate. Recommendation letters will not help.


Yes since then, I’ve finished a degree, bought a house, had a baby, got married. I was just worried that even though I pled not guilty and the charges were dismissed, that the fact I was on probation and the severity of the charge would outweigh the pros.


I can only speak for a DOD position that does not require a firearm. Same goes for my previous post.

I personally do not think the said incident will cause any issues with your Secret clearance as long as you have successfully completed probation/court orders and there are no repeatable offenses. Since you have made positive life changes since the incident, I assume you will take life more seriously and obey all federal and state laws. These are mitigations.

Just make sure to be truthful. Disclose all original charges and final dispositions and answer all questions that are asked truthfully. This is where people that have a criminal offense get into trouble - they either omit or falsify information, and this leads into another suitability/security concern called personal conduct.


Getting married and having a baby is treated as a positive life change?