1. #1
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    Default Record as a minor

    I've read numerous opinions on here about this subject. Will most fire departments look past your record from when you are a minor?

    I made some mistakes and got a couple speeding tickets and a DUI when I was 17. I was young and stupid. I know that I made a mistake and I regret it. Now I am 20. I have gotten on to 3 different fire depts. with either a POC or part-time position. None have found the DUI, even though I brought it up during my interview with one, because they searched my background with the WI Circuit Courts system. They do not show your record as a minor. However, I have an interview and background check with LAFD next week. I talked to a captain out there because I am trying to get as much information as possible about the department.(I'm from Milwaukee) He told me that I have a slim to none chance of getting past the background. After turning 18 I received a speeding ticket, but have done nothing wrong since.

    My main question is to those that have a lot of knowledge with background investigations. Will most departments look past this because I was a minor? It wasn't even a misdemeanor, and I know LAFD did hire an ex-gang member. Not sure how much time he had in between his crimes and his hiring date though.

    Also, how much would it help to get this expunged?

    Thanks.

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    The reason you are seeing so many different opinions on this subject is because the laws on the status of juvenile records varies from state-to-state. For example, a juvenile criminal history (except in a very few special circumstances) is sealed and will generally not be available to a background investigator. However, this does not include your DMV record. It is as available as anyone else's DL record.

    As far as the DUI, I would disclose it. Not disclosing it is the same as lying about it. Will they give you consideration (assuming you have a clean record for the past three years)? Probably. It depends on the department internal policies. Some will use items like that to screen out applicants to only get the best of the best (in their eyes) But you will never get consideration if you conceal it.

    As far as LAFD...from what I have been reading on here lately I wouldn't judge other FD's by what they do there.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Does LAFD require you to be an EMT? Can you get the certificate with a DUI in Cali?

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    Thanks for the info George.

    I got my NREMT, WI EMT, and NY EMT without any problem. LA requires you to have CA or NREMT before you start the academy. So I should be fine with that.

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    What were the legal terms of your DUI? If you said it was "sealed" it sounds like the same thing as "expunged". I got an MIP 12 years ago (when I was 16) and it doesn't show up on my record. Per the terms of my probation at the time the conviction was sealed/vacated at 18 provided there weren't any further offenses.

    Its called "deferrment". From what I understand it CAN, however, be found by a BI. It's just a little harder to dig up. There might not be any information with the court system, but I imagine there will be a record of arrest/citation with the police jurisdiction of record. Same goes with your driving record. Information can be extrapolated. Don't forget character/work references either. People are more prone to talk if they have a faxed/mailed written release sitting in front of them.

    You made a mistake, but luckily (hopefully) you learned your lesson before 18. Time is your ally. If you look at most job applications they ask if "have you been convicted of a crime in the past 7 years". Typically if someone can keep their nose clean for 7 (consecutive) years they're not likely to get in trouble again.
    Last edited by powerhourcoug; 02-04-2008 at 05:16 PM.

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    Also keep this in mind... Sealing your juvenile records does nothing to prevent your friends, family, former roommates, and neighbors from squealing on you.

    There is always someone that knows and there is always someone just dying to talk about it.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    I'm getting in touch with a lawyer tomorrow about getting it expunged. I know they will still be able to find it on my record, but I figured it still shows some responsibility if I get it expunged. It shows them that I went to court and the court agreed on it.

    I found something online saying that in WI if you committed a misdemeanor(this is smaller than that) before you turned 21, you can get it expunged if it was not a repeat offense.

    I really did learn from it and it was one stupid night that I wish I could take back. I know many will say, "Well that was one night where you got caught. You probably did it plenty of other nights without getting caught." However, I really never did that. I did it maybe once or twice after just a couple drinks. This one time I had way to much to drink that I didn't know what I was doing. I actually don't even drink anymore.

    Hopefully they will look past it. A lot of the firefighters and recruiters that I've talked to are helping me out with the process because they like that I'm from WI. I feel that I would fit in very well. It's my dream dept and I hope that I didn't come this far for nothing.

    Thanks for all of the advice though!
    Last edited by clark918; 02-04-2008 at 06:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clark918 View Post
    I'm getting in touch with a lawyer tomorrow about getting it expunged. I know they will still be able to find it on my record, but I figured it still shows some responsibility if I get it expunged. It shows them that I went to court and the court agreed on it.

    I found something online saying that in WI if you committed a misdemeanor(this is smaller than that) before you turned 21, you can get it expunged if it was not a repeat offense.

    I really did learn from it and it was one stupid night that I wish I could take back. I know many will say, "Well that was one night where you got caught. You probably did it plenty of other nights without getting caught." However, I really never did that. I did it maybe once or twice after just a couple drinks. This one time I had way to much to drink that I didn't know what I was doing. I actually don't even drink anymore.

    Hopefully they will look past it. A lot of the firefighters and recruiters that I've talked to are helping me out with the process because they like that I'm from WI. I feel that I would fit in very well. It's my dream dept and I hope that I didn't come this far for nothing.

    Thanks for all of the advice though!
    Sounds like you learned from it and are becoming a better man because of it. Just remember that part of being a man is being honest. Do not be swayed by those on these forums who would tell you that not disclosing this is the better road to take. Covering this up is the same as lying about it and will be a certian disqualification.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Make sure that you did learn from your DUI. The law was recently changed in Wisconsin regarding an occupational license.
    Having a drivers license is a condition of employment with many departments in the state, and is every bit as important as your EMT license. A second DUI conviction now prevents you from obtaining a drivers license of any type in the state.

    We have had several members fired since the law was changed. At least two of them had more than 10 years on the job. I also know of two who are riding out their sick days as we speak. Once those days are burned up they will be fired.

    I don't know how the under 18 conviction will affect you, but just remember that DUI's can cost you your career.

    A 25 dollar cab ride doesn't seem so expensive now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    As far as LAFD...from what I have been reading on here lately I wouldn't judge other FD's by what they do there.
    True.

    I’m not sure how having it expunged is going to strengthen your position? Having it expunged doesn't mean it can't be found. Too many believe that if it happened when you were a juvenile the records get sealed and no one can find out. Not always true.

    They will pull your DOJ ( Department of Justice ) file. If you were arrested there will be a record. If it was expunged it will state something was expunged.

    Here's the reality. The background packet will be asked in several different ways "Have you ever?" It will also ask if even if you had something expunged they want to know what you had expunged.

    This is not your father’s expungement anymore. Computers don’t forget. If you don’t include it on your application and background packet and they find it you could be eliminated from the process because you didn’t answer honestly.

    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.
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    Thanks again for the replies everyone. Also want to say thanks for not lecturing me about drinking and driving.

    I heard that places cannot look at juvenile records. However, its my driving record that it will be on. So I guess that doesn't help.

    I already booked my flight to LA for the interview and background. So I guess we will all find out what happens.(That's if I pass the interview that morning first)

    Thanks for the heads up about WI Jasper. Good to know since I'm applying to Milwaukee when they end up testing this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    The reason you are seeing so many different opinions on this subject is because the laws on the status of juvenile records varies from state-to-state. For example, a juvenile criminal history (except in a very few special circumstances) is sealed and will generally not be available to a background investigator. However, this does not include your DMV record. It is as available as anyone else's DL record.

    As far as the DUI, I would disclose it. Not disclosing it is the same as lying about it. Will they give you consideration (assuming you have a clean record for the past three years)? Probably. It depends on the department internal policies. Some will use items like that to screen out applicants to only get the best of the best (in their eyes) But you will never get consideration if you conceal it.

    As far as LAFD...from what I have been reading on here lately I wouldn't judge other FD's by what they do there.
    Good advice! In CA its seems much stricter. In NYC you would have no problem getting on. We have guys with multiple DWI's getting on with stipulations, which means they just test you for drugs and alchol randomly for a couple years.

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    As a general rule, background investigations are much stricter in California than in other places. I would not use the former gang member as a barometer of a background investigation.

    I can assure you that there is no such thing as a sealed record. I have seen things that "surprised" candidates on DMV print outs.

    More accurately, your friends and acquaintences will share about your checkered past.

    While you have done well to turn your life around, there is not much difference between 17 and 20 years old.

    Lastly, the example George gave about hiring probationary firefighters with DUI contingencies would not happen here.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Here is a copy of a California Fire Department's background packet. I found three areas where your DUI would come up

    Read and answer the following questions carefully and honestly. Answers are subject to verification by a Polygraph Examination.

    Have you ever committed any of the following acts during your life whether it came to the attention of authorities or not?
    YES NO

    1. Spousal abuse (including common-law) 0 0

    2. Any violent assault upon another 0 0

    3. Forgery 0 0

    4. Homicide 0 0

    5. Robbery (theft from another person utilizing a weapon of force) 0 0

    6. Burglary 0 0

    7. Kidnapping 0 0

    8. Arson (intentionally set fire) 0 0

    9. Extortion (blackmail) 0 0

    10. Embezzlement (theft of money) 0 0

    11. Rape (sexual intercourse by force or against the wishes of another) 0 0

    12. Child Abuse 0 0

    13. Child Molestation (any sex act with a child) 0 0

    14. Prostitution (sexual acts for money or other considerations) 0 0

    15. Soliciting Prostitution (asking for sex in return for money or visa versa) 0 0

    16. Theft (including shoplifting) 0 0

    17. Convicted of a DUI or charge reduced to reckless driving 0 0

    18. Have you in the past or do you now regularly associate with persons
    whom you know to have engaged in and/or been arrested for unlawful
    possession or use of any illegal substance? 0 0

    19. Have you ever been arrested for an illegal sex act? 0 0

    20. Ever charged with a crime not mentioned above? 0 0



    EXPLAIN Explain all “Yes” answers to the above questions in the spaces below. List the question # and then describe the incident. Be thorough with your explanation, use dates where appropriate.

    ALL “YES” ANSWERS TO THE ABOVE QUESTIONS ON THE FOLLOWING PAGE.
    Employment
    YES NO
    21. Have you ever been terminated or asked to resign from employment? 0 0
    22. Have you ever taken any property from an employer? 0 0

    23. Have you in any way falsified your employment application or made
    any misleading statements? 0 0

    24. Have you ever made any false or misleading statements or omissions
    to any employer or potential employer? 0 0

    25. Have you committed any dishonest act in order to obtain this or any
    position (i.e. cheating on written exam, having another person take any exam, etc.) 0 0




    Explain “Yes” answers in detail below. List the question # and then thoroughly explain.








    Employment
    YES NO
    21. Have you ever been terminated or asked to resign from employment? 0 0
    22. Have you ever taken any property from an employer? 0 0

    23. Have you in any way falsified your employment application or made
    any misleading statements? 0 0

    24. Have you ever made any false or misleading statements or omissions
    to any employer or potential employer? 0 0

    25. Have you committed any dishonest act in order to obtain this or any
    position (i.e. cheating on written exam, having another person take any exam, etc.) 0 0




    Explain “Yes” answers in detail below. List the question # and then thoroughly explain.








    Financial
    YES NO
    26. Do you feel that you now have a good credit rating
    (If yes, no explanation necessary)? 0 0

    27. Do you have any bills that are now passed due? 0 0
    28. Have you filed for bankruptcy within the past two years? 0 0
    29. Have you ever failed to file an income tax return? 0 0
    30. Have you had a bill turned over to collections within the past two years?

    Explain all “Yes” answers to the above questions in the spaces below. List the question # and then describe the incident. Be thorough with your explanation, use dates where appropriate.







    General
    YES NO
    31. Did you answer all of the questions truthfully that were put to you
    during the oral interview? 0 0
    32. Are you presently driving without auto insurance or the DMV required
    Financial responsibility bond? 0 0
    33. Have you ever filed a fraudulent insurance claim? 0 0
    34. How many traffic citations have you received within the past five years? 0 0
    35. Have you ever taken a Polygraph Examination? 0 0
    When __________________ Where ______________________ Result ______________________
    36. Have you ever been present when someone else committed a criminal act? 0 0
    37. Have you ever purchased or sold any property that you believe might
    have been stolen? 0 0
    Explain all “Yes” answers to the above questions in the spaces below. List the question # and then describe the incident. Be thorough with your explanation, use dates where appropriate.









    Drugs/Narcotics
    YES NO
    38. Have you used marijuana? 0 0
    Last time: Month/Year _____________________ First time: Month/Year ______________________
    39. Have you ever misused a prescription drug? 0 0
    40. Within the past year, have you been in the presence of anyone
    using illegal drugs? 0 0
    41. Have you ever purchased, sold, or supplied any illegal narcotic,
    Steroid, marijuana, pill or drug? 0 0
    42. Have you ever been the middleman, go between, or “done a favor for a friend”
    By becoming involved in a drug transaction? 0 0
    43. Have you ever used or experimented with:
    Cocaine 0 0
    Heroin 0 0
    LSD (acid) 0 0
    PCP (angel dust) 0 0
    Mushroom, mescaline or any hallucinogen 0 0
    Hashish 0 0
    Crank, Methamphetamine 0 0
    Speed or Crystal Meth 0 0
    Uppers 0 0
    Downers or Barbiturates 0 0
    Steroids 0 0
    Ecstasy 0 0
    Any type of “designer” drugs 0 0
    Any other drug besides Marijuana 0 0

    If you answered “Yes” to any of the above drug usage questions, complete the section below:
    Drug First Time Last Time
    Drug First Time Last Time
    Drug First Time Last Time
    Drug First Time Last Time
    Drug First Time Last Time
    Drug First Time Last Time
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Honesty goes a long way and everyone know people do stupid things when they're young. The fire department isn't looking for Saints.
    Eh?

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    Thanks everyone. The tickets are already paid for so I'm going through with everything anyway. I'm in St Louis now for a PAT. Then flying to LA tomorrow. Wed is my interview and my background(if I pass the interview). I also figure that if that is the only reason that I don't get the job, I can apply to LAFD in a few years again. Then I'll already know that I can pass their written and interview.

    I also already filled out the background packet, and I'm not hiding anything. I ordered a copy of my DMV record so that I could be as accurate as possible. Hopefully they will believe that I've changed. I know 3 years isn't much time. However, 17-20 is a big difference in maturity. Thanks again.

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    Thanks again for the advice everyone.

    I passed my interview with LAFD the other day with a score of at least 95(they don't tell us the exact number, but that's what you need to move on) and moved on to my background in the afternoon. We had a huge list of questions to answer yes/no to about anything and everything we could have done wrong. If we answered yes to any of them, we were required to explain why by writing a paragraph. There were about 30 of us in the room and I was the 2nd or 3rd done with it all. So hopefully that means that the others had more to write about.

    After we finished, we were brought into another room. Then we went over any missing information or explanations that were needed with an investigator. I did that and sat around while that guy showed it all to his boss. Then he cam out and sad I passed. So I got through that stage as well. I had to wait even longer because I needed to be finger printed that day since I lived more than 200 miles away. Then I finished that and there were still quite a few people filling out the paperwork. I walked by one guy saying, "man... the things that you do when you were young. They can really hurt you in the future."

    So it's looking good so far. However, now my stuff gets sent to the initial panel. That's were a lot of guys get dropped out. I asked the investigator if that DUI will automatically drop me out. He said it all depends on my competition. It depends on how many are needed for the next academy class and how many make it this far in the process. Then he said that because the LAFD is taking so many people right now, I have a lot better of a chance.

    So just wanted to give an update and thank everyone for the advice.

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    geez..
    i read these things and they freak me out.. surely stuff you did almost 13 years ago would be long forgiven for by now right? Hell's bells.. i've been in the military for 9 years and had a top secret clearance.. but these fire fighter background checks sound more hard core.. I know that were i want to get hired doesn't have a polygraph.. so that's cool.. but feel for some of you trying to get hired. Especially in today's day and age, where a lot of young people experiment with weed and drinking. And you know some of those firefighters that got hired in the 80's and were young in the 70's more then likely dabbled in a little experimentation. dunno.. i'm just a firm believer in everyone deserving a second chance.
    -pete

  19. #19
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    Default Read the fine print!!

    Clark,

    I'm glad everything is going well for you in LAFD. I just wanted to disclose some of my experiences, so they may help other readers on this site. When I was 16 in 2000 I had a drug charge as a result of being young and stupid in the state of new york. Nothing major, just some pot. This charge was sealed immediately afterward. Several years later in 05 I had just successfully completed my polygraph for Norfolk VA. Weeks following come to find out that charge showed up on my backround check. I was cut from the process ultimately because the charge was not disclosed on my application. The investigator had told me I would have skated through if that information was not omitted from the app. I thought that because I was 16 at the time of the charge, and that it was sealed meant that it would not show up in the backround check. The investigator also told me that they perform a federal backround check. All records regardless of how old you were when they happened are opened and looked at. This is an expensive process, but many Dept's. have the money to do this when investigating candidates. I never got my chance to explain myself to an interview board I am now in their process again in 08, and am not making the same mistake twice.
    I guess the morals of the story are: 1.Know whether or not the dept. you are applying for has a local or federal backround check.2. Disclose everything. If your caught lying or something pops up that you could have come clean about to begin with, you more than likely won't get the chance to explain yourself. (remember all the other guys you are up against will probably not have the same problem, and will be considered well before you)3.Read the fine print!!! Most Dept's. disclose all auto-disquals ahead of time. Most Misdemeanors and small violations are overlooked as long as they are disclosed ahead of time.4. Lastly, If you get cut for some small error like this, go back for the next test. Initiative stands out to departments. They will like the fact you are determined to earn your spot in round 2.

    Shawshank
    New York
    Last edited by Shawshank; 02-19-2008 at 07:29 PM. Reason: typo

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    hey everyone im new to the site, but have been an active volunteer member for about 5 years now. im looking to apply to some companies in virgina. i got a dui last january (2007). i have not had a drink since that night. i took all of the required classes and what not, my question is will this hurt me trying to get a job? i understand that i did something wrong, luckly no one was hurt, and i regret what i did, it was the biggest mistake of my life. now that im looking for a carrer change, in doing something that i enjoy fighting fires!

    Jordan

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    Default DUI's

    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 don’t forget. If you were arrested Your Department of Justice (DOJ) file will show it. If you don’t 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 they’re 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 they’re 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.
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