The simple answer is, most likely.
Federal employees, government contractors and many other employees may be required to obtain a security clearance for his or her job position. In determining national security eligibility, the federal government considers a person’s: (1) stability; (2) trustworthiness; (3) reliability; (4) discretion; (5) character; (6) honesty; (7) judgment; and (8) unquestionable loyalty to the United States. The term “security clearance” can also be used by private companies that have a formal vetting process in place for employees in order to gain access to sensitive information. These corporations, from our experience, usually model the factors that the federal government uses.
So, as you can see, the determining factors of eligibility for security clearance are analyzed on a case by case basis. Many would argue that any criminal conviction would block someone from receiving security clearance because it negatively impacts the analysis on factors such as stability, trustworthiness, reliability, character and judgment. For example, if the crime is dealing with evidence of substance abuse, such as a DUI or other substance related offenses, then a conviction would likely impact his or her ability to obtain security clearance. In other words, criminal charges suggest that the person may not possess the integrity and reliability, among other factors, necessary to access classified information.
It is also important to remember that employees are subject to reinvestigation based on their level of security clearance. This means that a criminal conviction subsequent to gaining security clearance could absolutely impact the reinvestigation analysis and cause your clearance to not be renewed. A criminal conviction could also cause your security clearance to be revoked.
As you can see, there are numerous issues that come into play for granting or revoking security clearance when it comes to criminal charges. If you have been arrested and could face repercussions to your security clearance, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to handle these types of issues. As a former judge and prosecutors who have handled countless cases dealing with security clearances, we can sit down with you and walk you through the process.