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prior criminal record

Hello! First I must say that everything is going very well with my objective of becoming a firefighter however, I am a little concerned about one issue. A couple of years ago I received a misdemeanor charge outside the state of California for possession of a controlled substance.

How much will this play into my chances of ever achieving my goal in becoming a firefighter? Are my chances virtually over? Does the fact that the charge was issued out of state play into consideration? If so...would it be wise not to disclose that information?

Please note that I am not a user and it was a one time mistake that happened during a friend's bachelor party. Thanks for any helpful feedback!!
This message was edited by kyu24 on 3-17-05 @ 1:37 PM

What was the controlled substance?

the controlled substance was cocaine. a very small amount which is why i was charged with only a misdemeanor. i am further researching the possiblity of having the charged removed or blocked after some time has passed.

....and if you are able to get the charge removed or expunged, does that mean you will deny that it ever happened? Most departments ask you point blank....."Have you EVER used this, or been in possesion of this..." Also....if it was just two years ago, I would say you have a problem....however, time does heal all wounds.
No job can compare to this CAREER!!! Never, never give up

sorry didnt if it happened out of state, did it not happen? Why would that be a consideration at all???? Cocaine is a very VERY serious substance! Please dont insult US by acting like it wasn't because it was a very very small amount. If I was doing your background I would guess it was such a small amount due to the fact that you had already ingested the rest.
No job can compare to this CAREER!!! Never, never give up

Ouch! a perfect example of why Captain Bob and other senior members on this board advise the "younger" aspiring firefighters, to live their lives as if their career depends on it. I performed backgrounds for a large metro F.D. for several years. We would not even think about hiring someone with your backgroud issues. Why? Because there are so many qualified candidates out there who have a clean track record. This is not saying that there are not other departments who might decide to hear you out. If you can have this charge expunged/removed, do so. Then get advice from a qualified attorney as to whether or not you'd have to disclose this information in a backgroud investigation. ALL departments that i know of, will fire any employee at anytime, if it was discovered that they lied during an official invstigation. (I know of a 10 year veteran FF who was fired upon discovery that he lied during his initial background, 10 years earlier) You're probably a great guy who made a dumb mistake in his youth and this does not make you a bad person. I truly feel sorry for you and wish you the best.

As blunt as it may be, the information from unionman is spot-on.

Hire an attorney, and determine exactly what your rights (and responsibilities) are. Also know, that no matter how much legal wrangling you do, there is always a trail and some (dare I say many?) Departments that would not now or ever touch you with a ten foot pole. No matter what you do now or in the future, please remember that failure to be forthright and honest will be more than a nail in your coffin, it will be a wooden stake through the heart of your planned Fire Service career.

By and large, most Firefighters detest drug users. On the other hand, every Firefighter I've ever met HATES those who lie.

Think about it.

Remember, there are 30,524 Fire Departments in the USA, and not all of them are identical. You may have to steer away from "Plan A", but if you are genuinely contrite and rebuild yourself, there is a possibility that you might someday be a Firefighter somewhere.

Oh, and your so-called friends from the Bachelor Party citation/arrest? If you have any (and I do mean any) contact with them, most background investigators will surmise that nothing whatsoever has changed.

As for rebuilding yourself? You first have to break yourself down into itty-bitty pieces, and start from there.

Best wishes to you.

Please no e-mail. Public replies only. Thank you!

Brian, are you saying that any criminal charge or conviction will bar a person from employment as a firefighter or just from the LAFD?

I know a guy on a So. Cal department with two charges in his past and there are several guys I know who were charged with things like DUI or fighting when they were younger.

I don't know any firefighters who have drug charges against them but I do know several who have made mistakes and were able to get on the job.

my advise is to do everything possible to make yourself the best candidate applying for the job. This way when you have a Chief's interview you could talk about your mistake and everything you have done since then. This will make an impression that you made a mistake, recovered and used it for motivation to reach your goal. Recovery is important in being a Firefighter. They will respect your honesty and hopefully not judge you by your mistake, but by the way you recovered. I can't say you will be selected but it will increase your chances.

Good Luck

i want to thank everyone who gave me some honest and positive feedback. i am very serious about this! i suppose as long as i give it my all and never give up then hopefully i will someday achieve my goal in becoming a firefighter.

i will always be open to some more thoughts on this particular matter. thanks again people!