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Security Clearances: DUIs to One-Night Stands with Russian Nationals

What should I do if I was arrested for a DUI this weekend?

With a DUI, you have a couple of different guidelines potentially at play. You’ve got an alcohol guideline violation, criminal conduct, and if you don’t report it, you’re looking at a guideline E for personal conduct or self-reporting as well. If you avoid guideline E by doing a good, well written self-report, you’re going to put yourself in a better position to be able to maintain your clearance.

Seek some type of counseling and get an evaluation. There’s probably no better evidence than a professional saying that you consume alcohol with a responsible pattern of conduct, and that this was an isolated incident. There’s going to be concerns about whether you’re an alcoholic and whether you’re trustworthy or reliable. If you can show that you don’t have an alcohol abuse problem and you just made a poor decision, then you’re going to likely be able to mitigate that concern.

As for criminal conduct, some individuals are going to be getting a third or fourth DWI or DUI. That shows a pattern of criminal behavior and a pattern of not wanting to follow the rules. It’s going to be very difficult to mitigate those concerns, so stop drinking. If you get to a hearing, it’s really helpful to be able to say to the judge, you haven’t had a beer in four or five months. The judge knows you don’t have an alcohol problem. They know you’re remorseful, learning from your mistakes, and that you’re taking action to attempt to remedy those mistakes. And he or she knows that you’re not going to get a DUI this weekend. So self-report and make sure that you’re building that mitigation, so you can show they should believe you’re never going to get another DWI or DUI.

I was in a bar fight and arrested, but released without being charged. Now what?

If you’re just questioned, it’s not that big of a deal. If the officers respond to the fight, they hear both people’s side of story and they send you home, you don’t have to report that. But if you’re actually arrested, detained, and they put you in a holding cell and they process you, you have to report that situation.

Again, try to provide as much mitigation as you can. You’re going to do a written report, and you’re going to make it clear that you haven’t been convicted of anything yet. The case is ongoing, but you’re reporting the information to make sure that that they’re aware that this is going on.

I just had a one-night stand with a Russian national. Do I need to report anything?

It’s a two-part test when you’re disclosing foreign contacts. Do you have close or continuing contact? Or have you in the past seven years had close or continuing contact with someone with whom you’re bound?

If you look at the application, it lists specific types of relationships (i.e. monetary, romantic, things like that). So if you think that whatever your contact with that foreign national was, would qualify for close or continuing contact, and you’ve had some type of bond with that individual at any point in the past seven years, then you’re required to disclose that information.

So it depends on the circumstances. If this is somebody that you meet in the United States, and you’re not getting into a relationship, or nothing happened during that night that was a weird question or concern, then I don’t know that I would report that. But if there’s something that makes you concerned, the relationship is ongoing, or you met this individual on business in Russia, then you should report it just to be safe.

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