We all make mistakes. Whether it’s a youthful indiscretion, a misunderstanding, or a growing disagreement, we’ve all been there. But if you have an arrest, criminal charge, or conviction on your record, that mistake can come back to haunt you much more. A criminal record can affect future employment prospects, especially if you want to work for the US government, a government contractor, or any other employer that requires a security clearance. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law offers some options for clearing your records.

Security clearance in Pennsylvania

Security Clearance With A Criminal Record
Security Clearance With A Criminal Record 4

The US Office of Personnel Management provides guidance on the information you must disclose on a security clearance questionnaire for “national security positions.” National security positions requiring a security clearance may include:US military personnel,

  • Jobs with government contractors.
  • To apply for a security clearance, you must have a government agency sponsorship and be a US citizen. Private individuals cannot simply apply for clearance. There are also different types of security clearance for jobs or projects that are more sensitive:
  • Secret: A Secret security clearance is re-examined every ten years and provides access to information that could seriously harm national security if disclosed.
  • Top Secret: Top Secret clearance provides access to information that could seriously harm national security if disclosed. This clearance is re-examined every five years.
  • Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI): An SCI security clearance provides access to information from intelligence sources, methods and processes. This information is stored in a special SCI facility.
  • Special Access Program (SAP): A SAP security clearance provides access to information for a specific, highly sensitive program or project.
  • Many state and local law enforcement agencies that are government officials also obtain security clearances through the FBI to obtain information when they have a “need to know” about local terrorist threats.
  • Before receiving a security clearance, you will go through a process that includes an application, investigation, and decision. The aim of the investigation is to ensure that you are:
  • Free from the influence of foreign countries,
  • Loyal to America,
  • mentally and psychologically stable,
  • Not involved in criminal activities, and
  • Trustworthy, honest, and ethical.

In many cases, you may lose your job or job offer if the government denies your application for a security clearance.

Background check for security clearance

As part of the security clearance process, you will need a criminal background check and credit check. During this process, you must disclose your entire criminal record, including any arrests that did not result in a conviction. Some low-level offenses, such as summary felonies or misdemeanors that include crimes such as disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana, may not disqualify you from obtaining a security clearance. But you will still need to disclose these crimes.

Can expungement help those who need a security clearance?

Security Clearance With A Criminal Record
Security Clearance With A Criminal Record 5

Under Pennsylvania law, we have three levels of crimes, including summary felonies, misdemeanors, and felonies. A summary offense is a low-level criminal violation, usually punishable by a fine rather than jail time. However, the maximum penalty under the law for a summary offense is 90 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. Both misdemeanor and felony convictions can result in jail time and fines. But felonies are the most serious criminal violations in Pennsylvania, with possible serious prison terms and fines upon conviction. Under Pennsylvania law, you can only have an arrest or criminal record expunged in limited circumstances: You can have a summary conviction dismissed if you have been free of arrest or prosecution for five years.

You can get away with crimes if the police charge you, but no court has convicted you, including hearsay statements, not guilty verdicts, charges dismissed, and charges dropped.

However, if you have a misdemeanor or felony conviction, it’s unlikely you’ll get those records expunged. An experienced Pennsylvania expungement attorney can advise you on your best course of action. Sealing criminal records in Pennsylvania

Even if you are not eligible to have the conviction expunged, you may be able to seal a nonviolent conviction under Pennsylvania Act 5 of 2016, including drug convictions. When you seal a record, it does not destroy the existing records but removes them from public view. Law enforcement agencies can still access sealed records. You can seal your records in Pennsylvania if:

  • Your record includes only second or third degree misdemeanor convictions,
  • You have not been arrested in the last ten years.
  • You do not have a conviction for simple assault, a first-degree misdemeanor, or a second-degree misdemeanor;
  • You finished your sentence, and
  • Your record is low.

How can an attorney help with an expungement?

Exclusion law in Pennsylvania is complicated. Figuring out whether you are eligible for expungement, sealing, or another process to clear your record can be difficult. An experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney who specializes in handling expungement applications can ensure that you complete the correct application and include all necessary information about your arrest and court record. Additionally, an immigration attorney can help you determine what you must disclose regarding a security clearance. Using an experienced attorney can make the entire process faster and more efficient and give you peace of mind.

Hire an experienced Pennsylvania expungement attorney.

If you have a criminal record and need a security clearance for your job, you need legal guidance. Attorney Joseph D. Lanto and the skilled legal team at Lanto Law Firm can guide you through the liquidation and sealing process and provide you with the best options. Find out how they can help you.

Criminal charges and security clearance

Criminal convictions can have serious consequences. In the near term, this could result in jail, probation, and/or fines. In the long term, it can jeopardize a person’s career and reputation. Being arrested or convicted of a crime can also affect a person’s security clearance. This is an issue of particular importance to the D.C./Maryland/Northern Virginia area where many government employees and contractors require security clearance to perform their jobs.

Security Clearance

A security clearance is technically a license issued by the government to access classified information. Clearances typically fall within one of three levels of security classification: secret, secret, and top secret. Top Secret classifications are further divided into Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (SCI) and Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI).

Although members of the military and defense contractors make up the largest portion of those granted security clearances, the medical, telecommunications, education, and financial sectors also offer many jobs that require some form of clearance.

The process of applying for a security clearance consists of three stages: application, background check, and decision. The process typically takes six months to a year to complete, with provisional approval rarely, if ever, granted. In addition, Top Secret clearance is reviewed every 5 years, Secret clearance is reviewed every 10 years, and Secret clearance is reviewed every 15 years. Military and civilian personnel working for the Department of Defense are also subject to random reinvestigations.

Effects of Criminal Arrest or Conviction

  • The decision to grant or renew a security clearance depends on a number of factors related to the person’s overall character, including honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty, financial responsibility and trustworthiness. A criminal arrest or conviction can raise questions regarding many of these factors, thus potentially jeopardizing a person’s eligibility.
  • There are three categories of persons who are strictly barred from obtaining a clearance: (1) any person who is an illegal user or addict of a controlled substance, (2) any person who is a licensed professional; considered mentally unfit by the War, and (3) any person who has been discharged from the armed forces under improper circumstances.
  • This means that a simple arrest and even a criminal conviction will not automatically disqualify a person for clearance. At the same time, such a criminal history can prove difficult, especially if combined with other factors that reflect poorly on the person’s background and character. Examiners may look especially hard on serious crimes and dishonesty (eg, theft, embezzlement) or narcotics (eg, driving while intoxicated, possession of controlled substances). They may also be concerned about crimes that could open the person up to blackmail (eg, solicitation of prostitution).
  • Consistent with fundamental due process protections, persons whose security clearance is denied or revoked have the right to appeal. An appeal usually involves a hearing in which the person is given an opportunity to contest and reconsider the decision.
  • Information about sealing or expunging your criminal record in DC can be found here. As for whether or not you have a criminal record that appears in the FBI database, you can ask the FBI to do an Identity History Summary Check (IdHSC).

Can you get a security clearance with a caution or criminal conviction?

Security Clearance With A Criminal Record
Security Clearance With A Criminal Record 6

Category: Working with the Police

Security-cleared jobs can offer lucrative career opportunities, but if you have a caution, juvenile record or other criminal conviction, you may think this potential path is closed to you. Although all such developments must be declared, you will not be automatically rejected and each case will be assessed on an individual basis and you may still find yourself in a career such as working with the police. are

Do criminal convictions prevent security clearance?

If a serious penalty is incurred during the pre-examination process, you will either fail to proceed or be told it is not fit to continue. Otherwise, your caution or conviction will be judged by several factors. These include:

  • Your age at the time of the crime
  • Time elapsed after the crime was committed.
  • Nature of the offence
  • Minor motoring offenses and chargeable offenses will not hinder your chances of working with the police. Any punishment received while serving in the armed forces will be treated as equivalent to civilian punishments. An outstanding charge or court summons that could lead to a conviction will delay your application until the outcome is known.

Automatic ejection

Serious crimes automatically excluded from security clearance and working with the police include:

  • Any offense punishable with imprisonment.
  • Committing serious violence as an adult
  • Committed corruption as an adult.
  • Committed fraud as an adult
  • Serious drug offenses as an adult
  • Child abuse as an adult
  • Causing death by dangerous driving
  • hit and run
  • Dangerous or drink driving offenses in the last ten years
  • Convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses
  • Family and friends with caution, investigation or conviction
  • The aspect of security clearance that is often most surprising to applicants is that cautions, investigations or reassurances from family and friends are also taken into account. While these will not automatically impede your progress toward clearance, they must be declared.
  • Factors to consider include:
  • Your relationship with the offender
  • Number of crimes
  • Severity of crimes
  • Could this affect your role in the police?
  • Could it damage the reputation of the force?
  • Can your reputation be questioned?
  • Does it represent a data breach risk?
  • The importance of declaring everything
  • While it is natural not to want to reveal anything that could hinder your police career, it is much better to have everything out in the open. The vetting officer will help you understand what is relevant and what is not, but with all the information available, they can help you navigate the path to security clearance.

Does your career depend on security clearance?

Whether you serve in the military, work for the government, or work in the private sector, if your job depends on a government security clearance, you may not be able to afford a criminal record. Criminal convictions can jeopardize your employment and the future of your career. If you are facing criminal charges, you need an experienced attorney to defend you and your criminal record.

At M. Darin Vance, Attorney at Law, I defend my clients against criminal charges every day. I have been serving people in Hernando and throughout North Mississippi for over 20 years, including military personnel. Don’t take chances with your career. I will guide you through every step of your criminal case, vigorously defending you every step of the way. I will fight to have the charges dismissed or reduced, and if necessary, I will take it to trial.

Criminal charges that may affect your clearance.

Whether you work for the government or the private sector, you must meet certain security clearance requirements to obtain clearance. Your criminal record will always be reviewed, and the following charges may affect your clearance:

  • Crimes that involve substances, such as drug offenses and even DUI in some situations
  • Crimes that indicate dishonesty, such as theft or embezzlement
  • Serious punishments are generally taken seriously, regardless of the nature of the crime.
  • These are just a few examples, but any crime can be considered a bar to clearance. In addition, special levels of clearance are subject to greater scrutiny. Disqualifications for Secret clearance and military security clearance levels can include anything from financial problems to illegal drug use, including marijuana.
  • A criminal conviction does not automatically disqualify you for clearance, but everything on your criminal record will be considered. Your safest bet is to fight to keep all levels of convictions off your record if possible. I will fight to keep your record clean and your career on track.

A criminal record, or even allegations that you have committed a crime, can prevent you from obtaining a security clearance. The federal government takes the position that a history or pattern of criminal activity indicates that a person’s judgment is impaired and that he or she is unreliable and untrustworthy. However, federal agencies may apply for a clearance if there are mitigating factors — such as a conviction or proof that you are unlikely to participate in criminal activity in the future.

Can I get a security clearance if I have a criminal record?

Under the Security Clearance Decision Guidelines, the government may deny or suspend your clearance if:

  • There are allegations that you have committed a crime, even if you have not been formally charged.
  • You admitted to the crime, even if you were not formally charged.
  • You have committed a serious crime or a number of lesser crimes.
  • What are mitigating factors?
  • However, depending on the circumstances, the following factors may reduce concerns about your criminal history:
  • The crime was an isolated incident.
  • You were pressured or coerced into committing a crime and those pressures are no longer present in your life.
  • The criminal conduct was unintentional.
  • You were acquitted.
  • There is clear evidence of successful recovery.
  • What is the evidence of successful recovery?
  • Evidence of successful rehabilitation may include:
  • The passage of time without additional criminal activity
  • compensation
  • Compliance with parole or probation
  • Job training
  • Higher education
  • Good employment record
  • Positive community involvement
  • Presenting mitigating evidence of recovery can make all the difference.
  • In a 2020 case, the Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) denied a security clearance based on criminal conduct. The applicant was under court supervision for an alcohol-related criminal incident that occurred in September 2018, and had not completed any of the terms of his sentence. There was also an outstanding bench warrant for his arrest for failure to appear in required court.
  • However, in another 2020 case, an applicant got clearance even though he had more criminal history. Between 2001 and 2012, the applicant was cited, charged or arrested for 11 separate incidents involving moving violations, failure to appear and driving with a suspended license. He had six driving while intoxicated (“DWI”) convictions between 2006 and 2013.
  • Nevertheless, the DOHA Administrative Judge decided to grant the applicant’s clearance based on evidence of rehabilitation. At the hearing, the petitioner testified that he made major life changes after the deaths of his cousin and grandmother in 2013. Since that time, petitioner accepted a new job, earned two academic degrees, and became active in volunteer work and other activities. Forms of Community Service
  • If you are concerned that your crime will affect your security clearance, it may be helpful to consult with an employment attorney. An experienced employment attorney can advise you on whether you need to disclose an arrest, charge or conviction to your agency, and how to mitigate security concerns.

How will my criminal conviction affect my security clearance?

Sevilla on behalf of Saunders, Huddleston & White, P.C. | November 17, 2021 | Criminal defense

Whether you’re a service member in a branch of the United States military, a defense contractor or a federal government employee, you may have to go through the process of obtaining a security clearance before starting your job. Depending on the level of security clearance you have, there are different requirements for maintaining and renewing that clearance. Will a DUI, drug conviction or other criminal conviction affect your ability to maintain this clearance and do your job?

Security clearance level

As you may know, there are three levels of security clearance that civilian employees and military personnel can obtain. The higher the level of security clearance, the more rigorous the process to obtain, and the more likely that a criminal conviction could affect your ability to maintain clearance.

A secret clearance is the lowest level, and controls access to information that could harm the national security of the United States to some extent. Next comes the secret clearance, which deals with information that could have a significant impact on national security if it fell into the wrong hands. Finally, top secret security clearances provide access to information with the potential to cause incalculable harm to national security.

Effect of Criminal Punishment

If you have a criminal conviction in the past, and you are now applying for a security clearance, you must disclose the existence of the conviction on the forms you submit. The government agency you are applying to will determine whether your conviction disqualifies you for eligibility for a security clearance according to established guidelines.If you already had a security clearance at the time of the conviction, the security clearance official at your government agency will review the circumstances of the conviction to determine what steps to take.

If you are charged with a felony, officials will likely revoke your clearance immediately. You can also lose your clearance for non-felony convictions, especially if they are for acts that demonstrate a failure to maintain your mental faculties, judgment and confidence – such as certain drug charges. For minor violations, it is possible that officials will ignore them or give you a warning depending on the circumstances.

Losing your security clearance can be devastating to your career prospects. It is important to remember that there is an important difference between criminal charges and criminal convictions. If you have criminal charges on your record, but you have not been convicted, be sure to report accordingly.

A security clearance is a status that allows an individual to access classified information. They are often used in US federal government jobs and military positions. They can also be used to screen individuals in private companies. To obtain a security clearance, one must pass a background check. Background checks almost always include a criminal record search. Our Massachusetts criminal defense attorneys mentioned that those who already have a security clearance may have to pass periodic reviews.

Will the security clearance specifically ask about my criminal history?

There are two types of security clearance forms.SF-85s are used for public trust and low-risk positions. The SF-86 is used for all security clearances—including the highest levels of security clearance: Secret and Top Secret. The SF-85 specifically asks about arrests, convictions, probation, parole, or incarceration in the past 7 years. This means that if you were arrested for OUI but not found guilty, you must write it down.

Security clearance with criminal record

The SF-86 asks if you have ever been arrested, convicted, been on probation, parole, or incarcerated. This means that if you had an OUI from when you were a minor, you should still mention it. The more honest you are on the application, the better your chances of getting a security clearance.

Will a DUI conviction affect my ability to obtain or maintain a security clearance?

It is unlikely that a DUI will automatically prevent an automatic disqualification from obtaining a security clearance. However, this will depend on a few factors. For example, how long ago was the sentence? A conviction ten years ago probably won’t raise as many questions as a conviction you received a few weeks ago. A DUI conviction will also be considered against multiple convictions. If you are convicted of a DUI, it is important to be honest about what happened.If your DUI conviction was more recent, you will likely have to answer more questions about the circumstances of the incident. It can also lead to more questions about your drinking habits. Make sure you are up-to-date with court requirements related to sentencing.

For example, make sure you don’t have any outstanding fines. Also, be prepared to talk about how you’ve taken steps to prevent it from happening again. Have you received any treatment for alcoholism? If so, talk about it. It may help to convey that you are proactive, mature and thoughtful to ensure that there is no further drunk driving incident.

My record was deleted. Does this mean I don’t need to report the conviction on my security clearance application?

No, even if your record is expunged, you should still be prepared to discuss any OUI or DUI convictions. There is a question on the SF-86 application that specifically asks you to list records that were sealed or expunged. This includes juvenile records.Some states automatically seal your juvenile records. Massachusetts, however, is not one of them. Although it is possible that your juvenile record is sealed, the government can still access it. Again, the best thing you can do is be completely honest. Lying on an application is more likely to hurt your chances of getting a security clearance than being straightforward about your past.

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Schedule a free consultation with a Massachusetts OUI lawyer today

If you have been arrested for OUI/DUI, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, or drug possession, you should speak with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. You can contact us online or call our office directly at 781-661-5450 to schedule your free consultation with one of our top-rated defense attorneys. We proudly serve clients throughout Norville, Massachusetts, and surrounding areas such as Plymouth, Barnstable, Nantucket, and more.

Baseline Personnel Security Standard and Enhanced Baseline Standard

These are an entry level security check and not looked upon as formal security clearance. They form part of a package of pre-employment checks that represent good recruitment and employment practice. They aim to provide an appropriate level of assurance as to the trustworthiness, integrity and probable reliability of prospective employees.

  • The BPSS involves verification of identity; nationality and immigration status; employment history and criminal record declaration. A basic criminal record check (through Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)) will also be carried out which will show any unspent convictions – find out more about these All government departments are required to ensure that any individual employed to work in their offices or on their systems comply with BPSS prior to taking up their posts.
  • You may be asked to consent to a BPSS if you are:
  • Working in the public sector and Armed Forces
  • Working for a private company on government contracts with access to confidential government assets – an example is contractors to the DWP (they have produced guidance available here)
  • Working in roles which involve higher levels of vetting/security clearance, such as the Counter Terrorist Check (CTC), Security Check (SC) and Developed Vetting (DV). The BPSS is not a security clearance whereas the CTC, SC and DV are all formal security clearances obtained through the National Security Vetting process – the BPSS underpins the national security vetting process of these higher levels. If a BPSS is being carried out as part of the groundwork for national security vetting, a full check of criminal records will be made.
  • The Enhanced Baseline Standard allows supervised access to secret material. The same information is required as that of a BPSS, as well as a mandatory interview and references from people familiar with an applicant’s character in both the home and work environment.
  • Guidance on the pre-employment screening of civil servants, members of the armed forces, temporary staff and government contractors can be found in guidance from the Cabinet Office.

Counter Terrorist Checks (CTC)

  • A CTC is used to prevent persons who may have connections with terrorist organizations, or who may be vulnerable to pressure from them, from undertaking certain security duties where sensitive information may be compromised.
  • A CTC will usually take six months to complete and is normally valid for 3 years.
  • To gain CTC clearance, applicants will usually need to have been a UK resident for a minimum of 3 years. It may also be necessary to attend an interview with the body completing the checks.
  • Security Clearance (SC)
  • This is the most common type of vetting process. It is transferable between government departments and covers a wide range of jobs. It is valid for 5 years for government contractors and 10 years for permanent employees who require substantial access to secret and occasionally top secret assets and information.
  • To gain security clearance an applicant will normally need to have been a UK resident for a minimum of 5 years. The process includes:-
  • Baseline Personnel Security Standard
  • Completion of an SC questionnaire
  • Checking identity documents and employment/educational references
  • Checks against UK criminal records
  • Credit reference checks
  • An example of a CTC/SC Questionnaire can be found here.
  • Security Clearance will involve a check against police records, and this will reveal all cautions and convictions that are held on these systems. Note – the DBS filtering process does not apply.
  • Developed Vetting (DV)
  • This level of security clearance provides substantial unsupervised access to top secret assets or for people working in the intelligence or security agencies. This stringent security check is much more specialized and tends to be job related.
  • To gain DV clearance, you will normally need to have been a UK resident for a minimum of 10 years. There are several stages to the vetting process:-
  • SC Clearance (see above)
  • Completion of a DV supplementary questionnaire
  • Completion of a financial questionnaire
  • A review of the candidates personal finances
  • A medical and psychological assessment
  • Interviews with the candidate referees
  • A detailed interview with the candidateClearly, a security clearance is a determination by the US government that you are eligible to access some level of classified information. There are two main types of security clearances:
  •  Personal Security Clearances (PCLs) and Facility Security Clearances (FCLs). More than 80 percent of all security clearances are issued by the Department of Defense. Other government agencies that issue security clearances include the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
  • When was security clearance introduced in the US? To understand this, you must go back to 1883 and the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act. This federal law was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur, and mandated that positions within the federal government be awarded based on merit rather than political patronage. This means that applicants for federal government positions must have character, reliability, reputation and fitness for the job.
  • In 1941, Executive Order 8781 took this a step further, requiring civilian federal employees to undergo background checks and fingerprinting by the FBI. In Executive Order 9835, 1948, a similar procedure was implemented for military personnel. Then in 1953, Executive Order 10450 required investigations of all federal employees to ensure that their loyalty, conduct, character, trustworthiness, and reliability were consistent with national security interests.
  • Executive Order 13526 and Security Executive Agent Directive 4 currently govern security clearances and national security information that can be released to federal employees and those working with the government and the military, as well as the conditions under which that information is released. .
  • In addition to types of security clearance, there are also levels of security clearance. All security clearances below require a background check, a field check for Top Secret, a single-scope background investigation and perhaps a polygraph test, as well as interviews with your employers, co-workers, neighbors and references. is required.
  • Secret – This level of security clearance gives a person access to information that could harm national security if disclosed without authorization. It must be renewed every 15 years.
  • Secret – This level of security clearance gives a person access to information that could seriously harm national security if disclosed without authorization. It must be renewed every 10 years.
  • Top Secret – This level of security clearance gives a person access to information that could seriously harm national security if disclosed without authorization. It should be renewed every 5 years.
  • There is also something called a “collateral clearance” which is a security clearance issued without special access authorization.
  • Other special levels of security clearance fall under the Top Secret clearance and are designed for sensitive classified information that requires special qualification procedures:
  • Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (SCI) – This level includes methods, sources and processes of intelligence. Access to information is provided only in compartments, separate from each other, each with its own requirements and permissions. SCIs provide only temporary, limited access to specific information.
  • Special Access Programs (SAPs) – This level includes highly sensitive programs and projects, when the information is unusual and the general rules for eligibility are not sufficient to protect it. SAPs only provide temporary, limited access to specific information.
  • Cybersecurity jobs that require a security clearance
  • Cybersecurity jobs that require a security clearance typically include those employed by a government agency, government contractor, or organization working with government contractors. Any cyber job that deals with sensitive information in government or military areas will usually require a security clearance.
  •  Specifically, if you are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Drug Work for enforcement. Administration (DEA), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), or Department of Homeland Security (DHS), you will likely need a security clearance.
  • Examples of recently advertised cybersecurity jobs that require a security clearance include:
  • If your security clearance is granted, you will be required to submit an updated security package every 5, 10 or 15 years, depending on your clearance level, and the government will conduct another background investigation. This will be done to renew your security clearance.
  • Once you leave a job that requires a security clearance, your clearance expires. It will be listed as either “expired” or “current” depending on whether you are still within its term. This may be helpful if you are applying for another position within the same agency that requires a security clearance.
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