No department wants one of their firefighters cited with a DUI. If you have already had a DUI, it's really difficult but not impossible to get hired. Most departments probably won't look at you for at least 5 years after your DUI.

Candidates who have been cited with wet and reckless (less than a DUI) can also have problems getting hired. A candidate who seldom drinks was stopped after his wedding reception. He was cited for wet/reckless. Even though nothing happened before this incident, over one year later, he is still having problems getting hired.

You could try and get the record expunged. But anymore departments ask you in many ways in the background packet "Have you ever?" Even if it was expunged they want to know what it was. Computers donít forget. If you were arrested Your Department of Justice (DOJ) file will show it. If you donít put it down they find it you're immediately eliminated from the hiring process.

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, 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 you had not one but two underage drinking citations and have 100 other candidates who don't? You probably did it a 100 times before you were caught. How about other drugs?

Where this 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. The doctor could DQ you because he might feel (I have actually seen this written on a report from a psychologist) because of the pressures of the job; you could end up drinking more.

Too many candidates walk in flat-footed once theyíre given a conditional job offer and are eliminated in the psych, poly and medical. These are unchartered waters where you need to be prepared in advance before you show up. These are experts who are being paid to take you out.

You should never bring this situation up in an oral interview unless the panel does. Many candidates feel they have to do repair work. It will only bury you. The panel probably won't because this is something that is often handled with the background investigator.