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Is a DUI conviction going to affect your security clearance?

Many people who live in Maryland work for the government since certain areas are close to Washington, D.C., and government jobs often require security clearances.

Perhaps you are a government employee who has been arrested on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. Have you put your security clearance at risk?

Understanding Maryland penalties

A charge of driving under the influence is the more serious of two alcohol-related charges in this state. The other is driving while impaired. Either one could result in a suspended or even revoked driver's license, but DWI penalties are somewhat lighter. If you are a repeat DUI offender, not only could you be looking at up to three years in prison, but repeated offenses could have an adverse effect on your security clearance.

Repetition causes problems

One DUI conviction will probably not cause issues with respect to retaining your security clearance. However, it will be important for you to comply with any court requirements and follow the advice of your attorney who will help you protect your driving privileges. The problem lies with repeated convictions for DUI or DWI. Even if you pay the fines and attend the required alcohol education classes, questions will arise as to impulse control, which refers to excessive drinking, and your judgment, meaning the decision you made to drink and drive. The government will question your ability to keep classified information safe if you are still drinking.

Steps to take

You may be able to overcome a negative view about your association with alcohol and save your security clearance if you are able to show that you can handle abstinence for a prolonged period, perhaps 18 to 24 months. Another positive move might be to consider attending Alcoholics Anonymous to learn how to stay sober. Your attorney will understand how important a security clearance is to your future and will support you from a legal standpoint in achieving the best possible outcome for your case.

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