Articles Posted in Collateral Consequences

Getting arrested for a DUI in DC or another criminal offense can have a serious impact on an individual’s security clearance. In addition, someone who has past criminal charges applying for a security clearance may have issues obtaining the clearance depending on several factors. The purpose of this post is to answer some frequently asked questions about the impact of DUI or criminal charges on an individual’s security clearance.

What is a security clearance?

Military personnel, government employees, and government contractors may need access to certain classified information as part of their jobs. Accordingly, the federal government has devised a regulatory scheme to issue licenses for individuals to access this information. There are typically three types of security clearances. A confidential security clearance is the lowest level of clearance. Second, a secret clearance is the next level up. Finally, top secret is the highest level of clearance. Public Trust and Controlled Unclassified are lower designations that do not constitute security clearances but typically involve a background check. The level of access to information needed will usually determine what level of clearance the applicant needs.

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nigth-at-hyper-1455387On January 25, 2016, Trump signed two draconian executive orders targeting documented and undocumented immigrants in the United States. There has been much attention regarding the executive orders barring refugees and any citizens’ entry of seven predominately Muslim countries. However, the impact on the criminal justice system regarding immigrants currently in the United States has received far less attention.

The Supreme Court case Padilla v. Kentucky placed an affirmative obligation on criminal defense attorneys to advise immigrant clients about potential immigration consequences for entering into guilty pleas. That seminal case created significant overlap between criminal defense and immigration law. Trump’s recent Executive Orders and their likely impact on the criminal justice system further blur the line between criminal defense and immigration law.

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