People who hold important roles in governmental positions and agencies rely on their security clearances each and every day. If you hold such employment, you probably cannot get any real work done without your clearance due to the information, records, and data it allows you to access. Losing your government security clearance would be an absolute disaster, but this is exactly what can happen if you are accused of a criminal violation.
As part of the terms of any governmental security clearance access, there will undoubtedly be a clause that mentions how the clearance can and will be revoked if the holder is convicted of a crime. There is generally no discrimination between one crime and another. With this said, a misdemeanor or a felony conviction — or possibly being penalized for an infraction — can all be used to strip away your security clearance. In order to keep your government security clearance and your career intact, you have to start thinking about how you can defend yourself from any and all allegations right away.
With a criminal defense lawyer by your side, you can start to consider:
- Initial response: How you react to criminal charges that can take away your security clearance is a key part of the entire process. Depending on the information you return upfront, or what you say to investigators, the path ahead could be tipped in or out of your legal favor. For people with security clearance, it is optimal to retain a criminal defense lawyer immediately, especially before charges are filed if at all possible.
- Apparent evidence: What evidence of wrongdoing will be leveraged against you? Is it possible a professional rival is seeking your position and using dishonest tactics to try to get it? Many people are accused of serious crimes based on misinformation, exaggerations, or fabricated stories. If the evidence can be challenged, then it might be possible to have it dismissed, weakening the case against you.
- Negotiation: If you are convicted of a crime, the sentencing is never set absolutely in stone. Your criminal defense lawyer can try to negotiate with the judge to minimize the penalties. For your case, allowing you to keep your governmental security clearance will be the priority.
- Appeals: When a case pans out unfavorably for the defense and there is reason to believe a legal error caused that outcome, it may be possible to file an appeal. The appeals process asks a higher court to review the trial. If there is an error of judgement, then the higher court can reverse sentencing, call for a retrial, or dismiss the case altogether, securing your clearance in the process.
My name is Andrew J. Cornick, Attorney at Law, and I have a passion for protecting the rights of the criminally accused. My Fredericksburg criminal defense law firm has a history of successfully managing high-stakes cases, including those that involve a defendant with valuable and necessary government security clearance. I can explain your rights and legal options in more detail during a free confidential consultation. Dial (540) 827-4446 to begin.