Prince George’s County Security Clearances and Background Checks with Criminal Convictions

Prince George’s County security clearances, background checks, and criminal convictions are all intertwined. When you apply for a security clearance, a sponsor then files for a background check. If they find any criminal charges or convictions, they may deny your application on the spot. Because of this, you need to retain the services of an attorney familiar with defending against charges or expunging past convictions. 

How a Criminal Charge or Conviction Could Affect a Person’s Security Clearance

A criminal charge or conviction could affect a person’s security clearance. Security clearance matters are exceptionally sensitive due to the amount of work that goes into any information that someone seeks to find out about them. Any criminal activity, even traffic-related, is looked at. The first thing they would look for is disclosure of anything sensitive because they want to see just how honest the person is. People requiring background checks are looking for trustworthiness.

Applicants are trying to show them not only that they are trustworthy, but they are open and honest, that they are able to provide documentation about prior or current offenses.

As far as matters that they are currently dealing with, if they have a security clearance, there could be adverse effects to that depending on the level of security that they have and who they work for. Some companies may not be as pressed to find out about a minor traffic ticket that is payable. Others may be. Some could care less about matters in which their license may have been suspended for a reason other than what was taken by a suspension handed out by the MVA. In these situations, attorneys would want to know who the person works for what level their security clearance is.

All these answers need to be vetted one by one. The goal of it all is not to lose it, put it in jeopardy, or have it dismissed in some fashion. That is a key element that has to be looked at.

As far as how this could adversely affect someone, convicted or accused individuals could lose the entirety of their security clearance, so addressing matters quickly with an attorney is essential. If it is a major felony, employers are probably going to suspend any privileges that the person has. If it is a minor matter, like a traffic-related issue or DUI, there is a chance that they may. The accused has to know right from the beginning what they are getting themselves into by making statements, talking with HR, and self-reporting. They may want to discuss with an attorney as to what they need to disclose immediately, if anything.

How Possessing a Security Clearance Changes How Attorneys Proceed with a Case

A client having security clearance could change the way an attorney approaches a case. Anything used to approach a case is always drawn out with the specifics of the charge and the specifics of any elements or facts that need to be proven. Specifically, with security clearances, background checks, and criminal convictions in PG County, an attorney would want to know what is at stake for the accused individual and how best to move forward.

For a number of these situations, there is a one and zero binary for victory: whether a person retains his or her clearance or whether he or she does not. That is important. If they do not try the case and enter a plea of guilty, it could destroy someone’s clearance. If defendants are not able to possibly win, but could mitigate sentencing down to something that maybe stunts their security clearance so they would not lose it in its entirety but they would get sanctioned internally, that could be considered a win.

Attorneys often try to be as forthcoming with as much information as they are able with the accused so that they could, in turn, be as forthcoming with whatever they could get from their employer or whoever they are going through security clearance for. There are numbers of layers that have to be peeled back to figure out exactly what type of clearance the accused person has.

A security clearance is directly tied to somebody’s job. If their case is not addressed properly, they could lose their clearance and way of life. If they have a try-able case, it may be worth trying it because there may be situations where a security clearance could be retained pending a favorable verdict. However, there are also situations where a plea, seemingly a favorable and modest decision, could still impact a security clearance immediately. There are times, regardless of trial, people have been let go, suspended, or put on leave because of a charge or plea deal. This happens often with assault cases, whether domestic-related, drug-related, or theft or fraud-related. Charges like these question the person’s character. They question the person’s morals. People who grant the accused a security clearance in these cases may think twice about continuing to grant it if a person has demonstrated untrustworthy behavior.

The problem with Maryland is it is an at-will employment state. A person could be fired for any bad cause. If someone is charged, the judicial system looks at it as innocent until proven guilty. The employer may discredit their character and liability. Traffic offenses is an example of unsavory behavior that could immediately impact a clearance. People get DUIs a little more frequently than the other cases that show up. Still, someone would question a person’s conduct and character for having a drink and getting behind the wheel of a car.

As innocent as they may be, relevant parties would still question an accused/charged person’s character and ethics. These are the things they are looking at in any security clearance, and it defeats the ability for them to trust them.

Because of this, attorneys often prioritize case results that retain or have a better chance to retain the clearance for the accused individual in cases involving PG County criminal convictions, background checks, or security clearances.

What an Attorney Would Tell Someone Worried About Their Security Clearance

Before an attorney tells an individual who is worried about the status of their security clearance, attorneys often ask people when the last time that their clearance was run, how often is it run, and who is it run by. When most people sign a clearance contract, they are given a number of rules, regulations, and duties to disclose information. An attorney wants to try to assess if somebody has security clearance and do they have a duty to disclose it.

In those situations, attorneys recommend that people disclose to their employer that there has been an incident because, if the employer finds out about it and disclosing is part of their contract, then they would have violated a term and they would likely be fired. If employers are going to fire the person anyway, it is inevitable. If they are not going to and they want the person to give every opportunity to clear their name or come back with something that is a non-conviction, they need to have the opportunity and not have the clearance taken away.

After determining if the accused has a duty to disclose, they identify what the variables are in their clearance and what is their level of clearance or public trust if that is involved as well. Then, attorneys want to know the last time they were run and how often they are run. If they do not have a duty to disclose, they want to know how long until it may come off their record if it comes off their record. The ultimate goal is to get any charge or conviction off their record and win a case. If they could not win, they have to go through an expungement proceeding or if they have had a condition set where they want to make it certain that the conditions are met, the case is re-opened for a nolle prosse, so they could get an expungement at any time later.

With all these options available, it is best to work with an attorney who is familiar with PG County security clearances, background checks, and criminal convictions.

Why People with Security Clearances Are Held to a Higher Standard

People with security clearances are held to a higher standard because of the amount of trust that was placed in that person who received it. Even the smallest of mistakes is a big deal. While it is not a big deal to get a speeding ticket, while it is not a big deal to run a stop sign (those happen every day), issues could arise when a person habitually demonstrates unsavory behavior.

When it comes to someone’s character, mistakes of a felony nature question of someone’s character, morals, or ethics. That is why those DUIs come up as some of the lower-level things that could affect clearance. Any time someone’s ethics and morals are questioned, how they deal with things and disclose information, that doubt is where people lose their clearance and lose their job. Organizations that grant clearances are incredibly sensitive because of the nature of the information that a person is being trusted with.

Worrisome Charges For People with Security Clearances

Some charges that are particularly worrisome when they involve someone with a security clearance are domestic matters because of how quickly grantors of clearances react to them.

Additionally, anything involving drugs is grounds to be fired. The questionable use of marijuana may have fallen off with states of legalizing it for medicinal purposes. Medical licensing in Maryland is available. However, there are a number of employers who if they hear someone has a drug problem may fire the person, especially if they are arrested. If it is something that rises to a felony, they are probably going to get fired.

Enlist a Prince George’s County Attorney to Assist Today

Background checks for criminal convictions and security clearances in Prince George’s County could immediately impact a person’s ability to retain a job or future clearances. Because of the high-stakes nature of cases like these, it is critical for you to contact an attorney who has experience seeking favorable outcomes in court and who could help you retain your clearance. Reach out to an attorney today.