I will need a top secret clearance in the next few months and have an inquiry. I got charged with a misdemeanor (first offense) and got the charges dropped with a deferred finding. I had the opportunity to change the plea to not guilty, so my plea is not guilty. I already have a secret clearance and have a clean record and an excellent credit. Would I have problems in getting a top secret clearance? I have no prior criminal record. What should I do? What are my chances in getting the clearance denied?
It's hard to really give an opinion based upon the fact that you put in the post. Without knowing what the misdemeanor was for, it's hard to speculate as to what kind of decision would be made. For example, if they knew about a larceny charge, That would be different then a misdemeanor disturbing the peace. Generally speaking, I don't think a lawyer would be able to do much for you until the initial decision was made.
The most important information you should know is that you will not be given a clearance if you do not truthfully and accurately answer each question asked of you, whether in writing or in your interview. The number one reason that clearances are denied is when the investigation reveals dishonesty. The exact circumstances of your misdemeanor arrest / adjudication are important to know before assessing your likelihood for a top secret clearance, but I would not advise you to post such details in this public forum. I would encourage you to solicit the opinion of an experienced practitioner who provides a free consultation.
Yes, you may have problems.
It will depend on what the underlying conduct was for which arrested.
The arrest record may still exist.
When you fill in your SF86 you will have to answer the arrest question, and again it will depend on the actual court documents what you have to enter. There is no exception in a clearance application for deferred judgments, expungements, etc.
Keep in mind the background checks for a TS clearance are more stringent than secret.
Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship. Every case is different and a resolution depends on a thorough review of applicable facts and law. No attorney can guarantee a particular outcome or result.
Individuals applying for a security clearance or clearance upgrade are evaluated under a system of 13 Guidelines which provides a balanced assessment of affirmative or positive qualities as well as potentially disqualifying conduct. Although a Court disposition of an incident is relevant, the underlying conduct itself is far more significant. Since you have not disclosed the exact nature of the conduct leading to the arrest, a more specific response is not possible. However, you should understand that should your application for a Top Secret clearance result in an unfavorable adjudication, the underlying facts may form the basis for proposed revocation of your existing clearance. The adjudicative standard is that granting or retaining a security clearance is clearly consistent with the national security and doubt is resolved in favor of national security and hence, against the individual.
The misdemeanor charges and disposition should have been reported on youR SECRET clearance. It us the underlying circumstances that are looked at. Most of the time if there is a deferred charge, plea in abeyance, etc. it is used in mitigation. You need to report this to the appropriate security manager. The standards are generally the same for Secret ot TS. The more you try and hide this the worse it will be.
This is for general information only. Nothing in this information should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship nor shall any of this information be construed as providing legal advice. Laws change over time and differ from state to state. These answers are based on California Law.Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney about your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is established.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline