If you’re a federal employee or are applying for a federal job, a drunk driving arrest can be a big deal. First, it can cause you to miss work, which could lead to performance concerns. If your job requires you to have a valid driver’s license, you may face real challenges. Also, an employer’s concerns about your alcohol consumption can create problems with your security clearance.
The timeline for defending yourself and your driving privileges from a DWI charge is short. Depending on the state where you were arrested, you may have just a few days to challenge your license suspension or revocation.
If you do not know whether a drunk driving conviction will affect your federal job, you can’t afford to plead guilty and hope for the best. You should immediately contact an attorney who is familiar with the potential impact these charges can have on federal employment and who can aggressively defend your rights.
A DWI arrest could be viewed as evidence of impaired judgment or misconduct
Excessive alcohol consumption is a factor taken into account by the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information. The Adjudicative Guidelines are used to determine your security clearance.
Regarding alcohol consumption, the Adjudicative Guidelines state, “Excessive alcohol consumption often leads to the exercise of questionable judgment, unreliability, failure to control impulses, and increases the risk of unauthorized disclosure of classified information due to carelessness.”
The ordinary use of alcohol is legal and is generally not a security concern. However, being charged with DWI, DUI, OWI or a similar offense puts a red flag on the issues of your judgment and conduct. Once a potential security issue has been raised, an evaluation of your behavior surrounding alcohol will be done.
That evaluation considers both concerns and mitigating factors. For example, a recent drunk driving arrest would be a concern, as would a diagnosis of alcohol dependence or evidence of dependence. Mitigating factors include positive changes in your behavior such as seeking and completing alcohol treatment. You have the right to have mitigating factors considered.
There is also a small but real chance that your DWI arrest or conviction could result in employee discipline. An ordinary DWI may not be sufficient reason for discipline or termination, but you should not underestimate the damage that can be done by one.
Ultimately, what you need to know is that a drunk driving arrest can have serious consequences for federal employees and job applicants. If you are facing performance questions, discipline, security clearance issues or any other problems related to a DWI, you need more than an ordinary DWI lawyer. You need to work with a federal employment law attorney.