Wondering about expunged misdemeanor charges affecting getting a clearance

I was offered a job that will provide a secret clearance however doing research I found that I will have to be upfront about my past. Over 10 years ago I pled not guilty to a minor in procession charge (drinking underage) and was able to have that expunged from my record as a first time offense as a minor-after community service, 6 months of probation, and a fine. 8 years ago, I was found guilty for shoplifting 3rd degree-which was a misdemeanor. I was technically not arrested on the scene, as the police came to my house later that day. However when we had court I was finger printed and had a mug shot taken-I was given probation, and a fine which was paid on time. I was able to get this expunged 5 years later. Is this going to affect me negatively when I apply for a secret clearance? I read somewhere that they ask for a 7 year criminal background? If that is the case do I need to include my past expungements? If they do include EVER been, I understand I would need to include them. Would this also affect me? Appreciate the insight!

There is a question that asks if you have ever been charged with an alcohol related offense. Doesn’t matter if you were found not guilty or if the charge was later expunged— you were charged so you need to list it and discuss it during the interview. Shoplifting is outside the seven year misdemeanor question so, unless it was a felony or you shoplifted drugs, guns, alcohol or explosives, you won’t need to list it. But it might be found on a law check so be prepared to discuss what happened during the interview.

I’m not an adjudicator but I would be surprised if either of these issues trips you up as long as you are forthright about each issue.


I agree. Might slow things down and you may need to dig up some information on the details if you don’t have it, but should not be a show-stopper.

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I was charged with a weapons related felony as a juvenile; the subsequent proceedings and adjudication have been expunged for decades. However, one of the SF-86 questions basically asked if I had “ever” had any sort of firearms charge. I admitted the charges during my secret investigation years ago, and again when I applied for a TS last year (which was adjudicated favorably). The BI handling my TS said they turned up no records of the charges. However, I just wanted to play it safe. I would recommend full disclosure. Just another way to show you are honest and forthcoming about the issue. I doubt it will pose a problem.


This is the correct way to live. Your issue was adjudicated and you have your clearance.