Can My Juvenile Record Bar Me from Security Clearance?

When you apply for security clearance, you will be subjected to a detailed background investigation that will go backyears into your past. The purpose of this in-depth investigation into your history is to ensure you are able to safeguard classified national security information based on these four traits: 1) loyalty, 2) character, 3) trustworthiness, and 4) reliability.

Sometimes, something in a person’s past is viewed as a red flag. If it’s serious enough, it can cause the applicant’s security clearance to be denied, even if it’s something that he or she did in their teen years. According to, there are various reasons why someone could be denied security clearance. During the background investigation, the applicant’s honesty, candor, and thoroughness in how they completed their forms are closely scrutinized.

“Every case is individually assessed, using the National Security Board’s 13 Adjudicative Guidelines, to determine whether the granting or continuing of eligibility for a security clearance is clearly consistent with the interests of national security,” according to These Adjudicative Guidelines can very well apply to one’s juvenile record. Which types of juvenile crimes can affect an application for security clearance? Here are some key examples:

What if My Juvenile Records Were Sealed?

Some juvenile records are sealed automatically, while others require the offender to petition the court for their records to be sealed. Even still, some juvenile records are not eligible to be sealed in some states. Examples include sex crimes requiring sex offender registration, violent crimes, crimes of “moral turpitude” and juvenile cases where the youth was convicted in adult court. Even if an offender’s juvenile records were sealed, that does not mean they are out of the government’s reach. As a general rule, sealed juvenile records can be visible for the purposes of joining the military and federal security clearance.

Concerned your juvenile record will lead to a security clearance denial? Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP for legal assistance.