While Criminal Conduct remains a constant security concern, certain charges of criminal misconduct could be a disqualifying condition as defined in the Adjudicative Guidelines. According to the statute, this is defined as:
(a) A single serious crime or multiple lesser offenses.
(b) Dismissal or discharge from the military with a dishonorable discharge.
(c) Either an admission of criminal conduct or allegation of same, regardless of whether formal charges have been filed, the case has been prosecuted or a conviction rendered in the case.
(d) The individual in question is currently on probation or parole.
(e) Any violation of parole or probation conditions, or failure to comply with any court-mandated rehabilitation programs or judicial orders.
(f) Convicted of any crime in any court of the United States where the individual was sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding one year and was incarcerated for not less than one year.
If you are facing any sort of criminal misconduct charge that could threaten your security clearance, it is highly recommended that you investigate reliable security clearance defense services.
Multiple Lesser Offenses
Several minor traffic tickets and no other allegations of other criminal conduct should not rise to the level of the Criminal Conduct criterion as established by law. Minor traffic infractions, however, are still subject to the Personal Conduct criterion, together with behavior classified as dishonest, unreliable or perceived as breaking rules, guidelines and laws.
Alleged Crime Not Committed
The standard of evidence used in criminal proceedings is vastly different than the standard used for security clearance adjudications. In the government system, once substantial evidence has been acquired that demonstrates that an applicant committed a crime, the burden of proof then rotates to the applicant, who is tasked with presenting evidence to refute the charges. The only accepted mitigating condition is substantive proof that shows that the applicant did not commit the alleged offense. Proof of innocence is not considered sufficient in cases of individuals accused of crimes but not arrested, arrested but not prosecuted, or prosecuted but not found guilty. Insufficient evidence to meet the criminal standard to prove guilt may put individuals at risk of criminal prosecution.
Accepted standards of evidence to demonstrate rehabilitation can include the chronological passage of time wherein the individual has demonstrated that they have not committed any criminal offense or returned to antisocial, irresponsible or violent lifestyle behaviors. Experts do not currently agree on the accepted period of time that must pass before a criminal offense may be considered fully mitigated solely due to the passage of a sufficient chronological duration. The required length of time will vary on how long ago the initial offense occurred, how long the individual participated in criminal activity, and the volume and severity of the criminal activity.
The Importance of Evidence
Substantive evidence of personal rehabilitation can greatly reduce the minimum amount of time necessary to provide full mitigation for criminal conduct. Some examples of accepted forms of evidence include: remorse, restitution, undertaking job training, higher education, a clean employment record, or documented proof of constructive involvement in the community. Other factors taken into view are documented positive changes in an individual’s lifestyle, their choice of colleagues, friends and associates, and examples of social responsibility. Together, these factors can greatly influence an adjudicator’s ability to determine that an individual’s past conduct is less likely to recur or cast a shadow of mistrust on the individual’s judgement, reliability and fidelity to society. Intentionally providing false or misleading information for a security investigation and individuals who are currently on probation or parole will be very difficult to mitigate their circumstances due to an insufficient period of time necessary to demonstrate rehabilitation.
Isolated Incident or Unique Circumstance
It is widely known that many criminals are convicted for committing a single, non-violent felony act due to an impulsive decision or a momentary lapse in judgement. These types of crimes are often prompted by transitory and spontaneous circumstances. The existence of extenuating circumstances and/or a proven record of otherwise stable behavior, reliability and trustworthiness for an extended period of time can successfully mitigate both suitability and security concerns by proving that criminal conduct is highly unlikely to re-occur, even if the one criminal offense accidentally occurred recently.
Pressured or Coerced
It is possible for a single crime of a serious nature to be fully mitigated. If the applicant committed a crime due to the threat of harm to him- or herself, their family and loves ones, or other forms of duress, full mitigation can be obtained. Although it is extremely unlikely that this particular mitigation condition would ever be applicable with multiple criminal acts committed over a period of time, such as being a member of an illegal organization, unless the circumstances are connected to a demonstrable successful rehabilitation. It would not be applicable when the threat of injury or harm occurred as payback for a breach of promise or other ethical failing on behalf of the applicant.
Interim clearances may be declined when any potentially disqualifying issue is identified. Serious criminal conduct on the SF86 can potentially be mitigated by information obtained during a security clearance investigation. Nonetheless, interim clearances require mandatory issue mitigation before any investigation can be completed. The SF86 requires information concerning criminal conduct, but it does not ask for any information that could potentially mitigate related security or suitability concerns. Applicants should know that they can include mitigating information on their SF86 (or the electronic equivalent eQIP) by taking advantage of the designated “Continuation Space” at the footer of the paper version, or by using the “Comment Section” following every question on eQIP. The inclusion of relevant and applicable mitigating information in this manner has the potential to be greatly beneficial in increasing an applicant’s chances of successfully receiving an interim clearance.
Secure Reliable Defense Today
Jeopardizing your security clearance due to any form of criminal misconduct is a serious situation. Ravenhearth Law has extensive experience in security clearance defense. Contact our firm online or by phone today to learn how we can ensure the best results possible for your case.