10-27-2009, 08:30 AM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
Dismissed Assault Charge( Background check help!)
I am turning 21 in a month and have started to look into the fire service as a career. I am currently taking classes to obtain a fire science degree to boast my chances of getting hired in the near future. I have yet to take EMT or obtain firefighter 1 training as I am very early in pursuing a career. I have a very serious question to ask and would appreciate any answers or comments.
Nearly two years ago, when I was just turning 19, I was charged with Domestic violence- 4th degree assault and 4th degree maliscous mischief both serious misdemeanors on my girlfriend. I went to court and got a continuance from the court and they would later dismiss my charges once I completed a year of probation and a year of domestic violence treatment. I completed probation and treatment without ever missing a check in or class. The court just a week ago dissmissed the charges with prejudice(meaning they can't be refilled).
My question is, how will this affect my chances down the line with the fire career? I hope to obtain EMT and Fire 1 certifcation and apply to become a volunteer. I am wondering if these bad marks will affect me? They're not convictions but dissmissed charges. I have never had any negative marks as a juvenille or a speeding ticket or a DUI. My credit score is average or below.
Are those marks going to be an automatic DQ? Any comments and help would greatly be appreciated.
10-27-2009, 12:18 PM #2
Interesting....I've somehow managed to make it through life to this point without racking up a DV charge.
Do you think a department will have little or no issue with hiring you in the near future with that hanging over your head? Whereas countless candidates out there do not have one iota legal troubles in their background. I doubt most departments would really want to have you being first in to their EMS scenes, which tend to be 80% of what they run. And don't forget, some of those scenes will be that of domestic violence. Kind of ironic.
As for the "dismissed" charges, you are still obligated to divulge them. Don't try to hide them. They will be found out.
I think this may possibly even keep you from getting your EMT. Look into that first before looking into any of this further.
If it is non-issue, you're young and you have that going on your side. Stay out of trouble. Clean up your credit. Become a role model, not a statistic.
Last edited by ffbam24; 10-27-2009 at 12:22 PM.
10-27-2009, 01:18 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Bam's right. They'll definitely look for anything with the word "domestic" attached to it. As part of the dismissal did they make you admit to it or just set aside the charge until you completed the requirements? I'm not a lawyer but it would seem your situation would be better (or not as bad) if the charge was just dismissed without any kind of plea. What I don't get is, if you weren't convicted, why were you ordered to treatment and probation?I don't know what the by the books, word for word legal definition of convicted is but if the court ordered you to complete treatment and probation I wouldn't say your charges were "dismissed". I dunno. But DON'T try to lie or downplay what you did ("not convictions, they're dismissed charges"). If you were court ordered to do something there's something more to it than a dismissed charge. Be a man and tell it like it happened. I don't know where you are interested in working, but I do know domestic violence is definitely a DQ for most agencies, with good reason. Good luck.
10-27-2009, 01:46 PM #4
First- Where are you located? How is the competition there?
Second- Be honest with the department when you get that far in the process.
Lastly- At age 19, you are too young to be having a girlfriend, seriously. Go out and enjoy life. You're too young to be getting serious and assigning friendship titles to someone. Don't believe me? Thats why you had this problem in the first place.
10-27-2009, 04:41 PM #5
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
Few things will drop kick you out of the background and hiring process faster than a domestic violence charge. If you donít think it can happen to you, read on.
For some they are clouded and domed before they ever take their first step because of something in their past, job history, criminal record, credit, driving record or domestic violence. They still believe though that they have a shot.
They have convinced themselves by the four inches between their ears that they have an explanation about what has happened in the past that will convince those in the hiring process theyíre the right candidate. So, like you they pack on all kinds of credentials, degrees, experience, academy, paramedic, etc. thinking this will erase the problems of the past. Then, they don't face it until it's staring them in the face when they start testing or at the next step in the hiring process.
Those in the hiring process have heard all the stories. What are you going to say that could keep you in the hiring process since?
The application and background packet will ask you in several different ways, ďHave you everĒ. Computers donít forget. If you donít put it down they find it your immediately eliminated from the hiring process.
Where is can really play out is in the psych evaluation where up to 40% of candidates fail. With problems in your past the doc will ask you some difficult questions that could take the wheels off your wagon.
I try to tell candidates what their chances are of getting hired are with a clouded past.
What do you think most say?
Well, Iím going on anyway. How many do you think get back to me that they were hired?
Here are a few examples:
Captain Bob: I was DQíd for LA City because my now x-wife and her lover had me charged with domestic violence because she said I would not let go of her wrist during an argument. I appealed and have a chance to have it heard by the appeals board. The have asked me to take a lie detector test (even thought LA City does not require one). They said it would work in my favor if I passed.
CB: If you know you are right, it might be the only chance you have to be reinstated.
Capt: I have been arrested twice for domestic violence. The last time was two years ago. Will this hurt my chances to be hired? Ted
CB: If will be very difficult if not impossible to get hired if this is on your record.
Ted: But, I have my FF1, academy, EMT. This has been a life long dream.
CB: What were you thinking, or you were not thinking when you got arrested not once, but twice for a charge that will keep you from getting hired. Sorry. It is not what you have, but what you have done that will keep you from getting a badge.
Remember what you mother told you. Keep your hands to yourself.
It gets better.
I must be a Fire Fighter I. I have been arrested three times all for domestic verbal abuse (my wife and were early in our marriage) and we would scream at each other. I have the louder vice and was arrested three different, times I have never been convicted of anything, and my wife and I haven't had any disputes for almost four years now.
The final issue is when I was eighteen I got a ticket for trying to buy ten dollars worth of pot, the Judge told me "Go and Sin no More" and that was the end of the matter. Latter I joined the Army and Today I am a responsible Husband and farther and at the age of 33 have decide to "get my Badge".
Can I realistically accomplish my goal? Please any advice you have would greatly appreciated! Don
CB: You will be asked in many ways in the background and hiring process ďhave you everĒ? If you donít put it down and they find it, you will be immediately eliminated from the process.
Don: I checked with the arresting agency and obtained my Department of Justice (DOJ) file see if there is a record. The police department had no record. They said I might have just been detained which would not be an arrest record. A friend got my DOJ. It too was clean.
CB: Don called me latter that he had applied, been hired and just got out of the academy.
A medic candidate moved his family from southern California to Seattle, so he could be in position for the next test. Although he made the list, he was going to have to wait until they got down to him.
In the mean time the pressures built up at home, he lost his house in California to foreclosure, and got in a heated argument with his wife. The police arrived and arrested him for domestic violence. This at a time when he was in background for the next academy. Everything came to a full halt.
Fortunately, in the state of Washington, if you complete the counseling and probation program and itís your first offense, you can appeal the court to remove the charge. Now a year later, this has been done. The Seattle list he was on expired. Now itís back to square one.
Once you've been arrested, even if the charge is dropped or expunged the arrest can still show up on your record and you have to explain it.
Where it can cause you big problems is in a psych test. The psychologist would have some direct questions that if you can't answer, you're toast.
Something as simple as the single otherwise unmemorable shove of a girlfriend during a mild disagreement (no Police involvement) ended a particular career path for one truly outstanding young man I know.
The girlfriend was not injured, but in the background investigation answered honestly to a very pointed question. It was something the candidate could not deny. An eloquent, prime physical specimen with FF1 and Paramedic and polite as they come, he was credentialed to the high heavens, and would have been an outstanding member of our Department.
I am sad to say he was shown the door.
If he was here, he'd say the same thing I'm about to say... PLEASE watch your P's and Q's.
The all time reality booby price winner though goes to Steve.
Steve had been trying to become a firefighter for more than 10 years. He started working nights in a super market chain to complete medic school. He got his cert, tested and was offered a conditional job offer and was in background. Then it happened.
While having a quite evening with his fiancť, she brought up the issue again of wanting to set the wedding date. You know this one guys? Many women are looking for a ring and a date.
Cathy is a few years older than Steve, a high-powered executive and has been divorced twice. Steve had borrowed the money to give her a $6,000 engagement ring. I asked him why? He said the sexxx was unbelievable. Should have been a few red flags here?
Instead of setting a mutual date six months out that could probably be changed later, he said now you know honey I have to get this job first. This doesnít sit well with the future Mrs.. Things heat up.
Now theyíre standing up yelling at each other. Out of nowhere comes a right hook from the future bride to be. Then, another bl*w that knocks off his glasses. As the story goes, not wanting to escalate the incident, he puts his arms around Cathy to try and restrain her.
Things were still brewing when thereís a knock at the door. Itís the sheriff. Neither of them made the call. It was the psycho neighbor they had turned in for child abuse who called. Cute eh?
Scene two, Cathy tells the officer that Steve hit her and showed him a red spot on her cheek. Well, if you donít already know, if the police arrive on the scene of a domestic violence call someone is going to jail and it wasnít the bride to be. Steve gets booked, spends the night in the poky and gets bailed out the next day.
As things cool down, Cathy comes forward and says it was my fault I hit Steve. Too late. The legal system had been activated. They know people often will change their stories after the fact.
Steveís attorney makes some inroads that it looks like the charges could be dropped. That was until a recently promoted female DA grabs onto the case like a bulldog and wonít let go.
The city where the job offer was made finds out. They pull their job offer pending the outcome of the incident.
I learn more about the story later while talking to Steve. Turns out as they were in the heat of the argument he says OK the wedding is off and I want the ring back. Cathy wouldnít give it to him SOOOO he tried to take it off her finger himself.
After Steve got out of jail he convinces Cathy the wedding was still on, he loves her and could she change things around so he could still get his job. She agrees and changes her story.
Steve now hates Cathy, but he has to pretend like love birds and fake sexxx (is that difficult?) to keep her from changing her story back before he gets his badge. In the process Steve finds out that Cathy was more than a few years older and had been divorced three times. Isnít love grand?
Steve is still stuck on getting that $6,000 ring back. I ask him if someone could get you that job would you pay them $6,000? He said, YEA. Then take out an insurance policy by letting Cathy keep the ring. Donít ever bring it up again!
As my son Rob wrote:
If youíve been in a bad relationship, and you donít get along with that person, make it easy on everyone and just stay the hell away from him or her. It is so easy for things to get out of hand and then the police arrive. Later you have to explain it to a background investigator.
If you get into any sticky situations that look like they might go bad, there is one solution thatís never failed me RUN LIKE HELL, AND DONíT LOOK BACK.
There are a lot of land mines out there that can keep you from getting a badge. This is one to stay far away from. As Mickey Roonie said after being married 8 times, sometimes you just have to leave the room.
ďThere is no winning. Only degrees of losing.Ē_____________________________________________
"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
Fire "Captain Bob"
12-28-2009, 04:18 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
thread to close
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12-29-2009, 11:43 AM #7
- Join Date
- Dec 2009
12-31-2009, 09:03 AM #8
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
I have said it before and I will say it again. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN EXPUNGED RECORD. Fire department background investigators have access to EVERYTHING. Not divulging it means that you are also a liar.
The background questionairre reads like this:
Have you EVER been arrested for........
There is no grace for getting off for good behavior during your probationary period......
03-29-2010, 06:31 AM #9
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
Background checks are not that expensive depending on the service used and number of checks done per month/year. using background checks as a guide or scale to judge if you are being considered is not always accurate.
03-29-2010, 09:42 AM #10
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
domestic violence seems to be the kiss of death now, even if it is not listed as a felony
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