Will I Lose My Military Security Clearance With A Criminal Conviction?

by J.D. Garrett on March 30, 2013


Hampton Roads is one of the most heavily concentrated areas of the country when it comes to military members and their families. One of the most commonly asked questions by military members is how a criminal charge will affect their military security clearance, and thereby their career.

Generally speaking, there are only three categories of individuals who are unqualified to hold a military security clearance: addicts and abusers of narcotics, mentally incompetent persons, and former military members who have been dishonorably discharged. All other individuals are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Being convicted of a crime, therefore, is not in and of itself a career ender for military members. That is not to say one should not fear repercussions of a conviction. The military used to be less selective about its personnel. “Join the Army or go to jail” used to be a common phrase heard in criminal courts around the country. Today, the military is looking at membership as more of a privilege; so, any criminal conviction, even minor misdemeanors, can have dire effects on one’s career.

There are many opportunities and strategies that may be used by experienced criminal defense lawyers to reduce and, in some circumstances, dismiss criminal charges. Not every charge and not every individual will qualify for favored treatment. Every case is unique in its facts and circumstances.

Contact a criminal defense attorney at our office today (757) 422-4646 for a free consultation regarding your case. Our attorneys are experienced in handling hundreds of criminal cases for military members and their families.


J.D. Garrett is a criminal law attorney in the Virginia Beach office of Garrett Law Group, PLC. He has years of experience representing clients in the courts of Virginia Beach, Norfolk and surrounding areas.

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