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  • Misdemeanor in my History

    Hello all, I am a new guy to this profession. I have completed Paramedic's and am working as one. I live in Central Florida and have now finished standards and would like to get into that "Dream Job". But I have an issue, and this is where I need some advice. About three years ago I was stopped after being the DD for the night and dropping everyone off at their homes. I had nothing to drink at all that night. I was stopped and DUI tested three ways and passed all of them, hence not drunk. The officers then asked to search my vehicle and in the back seat a package of marijuana was found and I was arrest for misdemeanor possesion of marijuana. I later got out of jail, 18 hrs later, and my brother-in-law owned up to it was his and lost it in my car. Now i have the arrest on my record but no charges were filed. What should I do here, I have never been in trouble ever before nor do I have any tickets, am I dead in the water? Thanks for any advice

  • #2
    This is from Orange County's website :

    VI. CRIMINAL CONDUCT
    Applicant will be disqualified if:
    A. Applicant has been convicted of, pled nolo contendere to, or had adjudication
    withheld for any charge of a felony crime; OR,
    B. Applicant has been convicted of, pled nolo contendere to, or had adjudication
    withheld for a misdemeanor offense directly related to the position sought AND it
    has not been four years since the expiration of sentence; OR,
    C. Applicant is currently on probation following any criminal conviction; OR,
    D. Applicant admits to committing a felony or other job-related crime within five
    years of the date of application and continuing to date of employment or while
    employed (paid or voluntary) as a sworn firefighter; OR,
    E. Applicant has any pending felony charges or pending misdemeanor charges that
    are directly related to the position sought.

    Justification: Florida Statute, Section 633,34; & 112.001

    VII. DRUG USE
    Applicant will be disqualified if he/she has been involved with drugs under any of
    the following conditions:
    A. Used or possessed, within the last three years prior to application and continuing
    to employment, any controlled substance defined as a violation under Chapter
    893, Florida Statutes, the possession of which constitutes a criminal offense under
    Florida law. Use or possession of such controlled substances more that three years
    ago may or may not disqualify the applicant depending on the totality of the cir-
    cumstances; OR,
    B. Any illegal sale, within the last four years, of a controlled substance to others
    whether for profit or not; OR,
    C. Used, possessed, or sold any controlled substance after becoming a State of Flor-
    ida certified firefighter or while employed (paid or voluntary) as a sworn fire-
    fighter.
    D. Regular and consistent use of alcohol to the extent to where it may interfere with
    job performance and/or dependability, within the last year.


    Judging from the above you're cleared from drug use after 3 years (thats where youre at) and criminal after 4 but im not sure if that will apply to you

    Comment


    • #3
      ok how about else where

      So it looks like this will kill me as it has not been four years since I pled no contest to it. I don't know what I should say here, when I went to court no charges were ever filed and I got an adjudication withheld on it and it went no futher. When I applied to be a Medic with the agency I work with this wasn't even an issue. Should I before I apply tell all potential employers about this or wait till I get into the process. This on my history is so far out of who I am and the rest of my history shows this. Can I use any of this to show who I really am?

      Comment


      • #4
        i would go to the human resources department, whoever does the hiring process for that department, or fire stations within your dream job dept. and tell them about it and see how it all plans out for you. It is better to get a no answer right now then to go through a whole process and then get a no answer. You may get a yes, go for it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Iancook
          Now i have the arrest on my record but no charges were filed.
          Originally posted by Iancook
          since I pled no contest to it.
          I am a little confused by your story, maybe I'm missing something. You stated no charges were filed but then say you plead no contest. A no contest plea, while not a guilty plea, is treated as such. How could you plead no contest in court if charges were not filed?
          -------------------
          "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
          -----------------------------------------------
          Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Iancook
            So it looks like this will kill me as it has not been four years since I pled no contest to it. I don't know what I should say here, when I went to court no charges were ever filed and I got an adjudication withheld on it and it went no futher. When I applied to be a Medic with the agency I work with this wasn't even an issue. Should I before I apply tell all potential employers about this or wait till I get into the process. This on my history is so far out of who I am and the rest of my history shows this. Can I use any of this to show who I really am?
            Well where in CFL do you wanna work? Also, OCFrD isnt hiring right now, send in an interest card and by the time you take the test and the CPAT and all that it will be cleared...those rules are for TIME OF APPOINTMENT, which means you're fine. Let them tell you you cant work there, dont worry about it until you have to. You can work on another department before you get hired on your "dream department". I'm guessing you went to the academy on Oak Ridge...have you been to there website with the hiring links?

            http://fireacademy.org/jobs2.htm

            plenty of people need FF/PM's, I'm sure you'll be fine, your cert is good for 2 years(without active duty as a FF), and youve got 1 before youre record is cleared BY ORANGE COUNTY standards, apply to all those places, take a job, or stay on as a medic for a year. You'll be fine bro.

            Comment


            • #7
              Let me explain that

              Ken, I don't really know how the system work to well, so maybe I am saying something wrong in that there were no charges filed. So i pled no contest to it as the judge told me this would be the best way to handle my situation. So i guess that would be my plee to the charges then, but the only thing that shows is that I was arrested. Orange county isn't the only county or city in CFL so there are many other places out there in my area as well. Do you guys think that the explination sounds like an excuss rather then an explination? It is true and I took my brother-in-law with me to court, not that the judge cared.

              Comment


              • #8
                IMO it seems as it would be an excuse that you got your brother to take the blame for you since you want to be a ff and this would go against you and in fact he might already have his career situated even after the incident. I am by no means saying this is the case becuase since you are posting for help here, it probably is what you say. The question is, will the Dept believe what you say is true? thats up to you to find out.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As I thought

                  Well this is what I feared. If I say it was me it's a lie and if I say it was him, it sounds like placing blame making me look worse. It's that whole double edged sword. I just can't figure out how to say why without discrediting myself, what to do?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The truth

                    Simply stated...If asked tell the truth. If the truth is it was not yours ...then say that. Those of us who do backgrounds are not Ogres. We know when we are lied to. So quit worrying about something that is out of your control.

                    Respectfully,
                    Jay Dudley, Retired Fire
                    Respectfully,
                    Jay Dudley
                    Retired Fire
                    Background Investigator
                    IACOJ-Member
                    Lifetime Member CSFA
                    IAFF Alumni Member

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks

                      I know, but it's just hard to know what they think. Do you guys think that it being my only offense ever in my history will help me as well. This actually keeps me up at night wondering if this kills me out of my career choice. I love being a medic, but not just a medic forever.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you have a charge are on your record, look into expungement. I am not sure of Florida law, but it usually only requires paperwork and a judges signature. If you pled no contest, then you have a criminal record. On way to find out what is on your record is to go on the FBI website and look up instructions on obtaining your criminal record for accuracy. If your record comes back clean than there is no need to disclose that information. Again, you need to check into Florida law in regards to arrest disclosure and expungement procedures. I hope this helps! You should be fine, and the fact that you have been a paramedic for a while, helps show responsibility and maturity.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Similar Experience

                          I too had a less than perfect background, and I can tell you that I was recently given multiple offers for an entry level fire position. I can tell you that in my case, both departments did not have automatic disqualification for my situation (this is important).

                          Here is what you need to do:
                          -First of all, and this is most important: find out exactly what you are convicted of. I say this because by your posts it isn't clear what you have on your record. From one post it sounds as though you were arrested but never charged, and by another it sounds as though you plead no contest. For the purposes of your post I will assume you plead no contest to a misdemeanor. Get all the associated paperwork with what happened. At the very least go to the courthouse and ask them to print the history of your case, it will show what you plead to, dates, etc. You need this for the application. In talking with people you need to be very definite and clear about what happened, and what your exact legal situation is.

                          -Next: This is obvious, but keep your nose extremely clean. Don't hang out with questionable people and don't give yourself an opportunity to ever get into trouble again.

                          -Apply to every department you can. Read the application to see if you are eligible. If you have any questions, call HR. Don't ask them what they think about your situation, just ask "Do you automatically disqualify candidates if they have a misdemeanor conviction w/in the past 3 years?" Asking them anything else will be asking their opinion, not policy. If they don't have automatic screaning criteria, then it's a judgement call by the chief.

                          -Be COMPLETELY honest, but don't volunteer information. When asked about my record (it never came up until the chief's) I was completely open with them and said "this is what I did, this is how I fixed it, this is why I am sorry, and look at the rest of my history since then (in my case 12 years ago) of being a model citizen" In both cases it was less than a 5 minute conversation, I don't think they had any issues with my background. By volunteering information, what I mean is, if the question asks have you been convicted of a misdemeanor in the past year, don't put yours down because it was almost 3 years ago.

                          -Don't bother sealing your record. In most states the background investigator can still access it, and besides, it doesn't allow you to answer no to the question. Above all firefighters are honest, so how do you think it is going to look if you answer no and then later they find out. The argument that you didn't think you had to put it on the application because the record is sealed will fall on deaf ears. I personally had my record sealed for other reasons, but I always answered yes to the questions that pertained to my situation.

                          In my case I can honestly say that it was the fact that this was a single occurance that was a long time ago, and since then I have shown that I have matured a great deal. You need to demonstrate the same things. It's not something you can really talk about, you need to be able to go in and explain to the chief "here is what happened, it wasn't mine, etc. This was an incident that happened X years ago, since then I have earned my paramedic cert, finished a volunteer fire academy, got my fire science degree, been active in the community, etc" Do you see my point, if you have a clear track record of being a mature, responsible citizen since then I think it is just a matter of getting enough time between you and that event to alleviate any doubts they may have.

                          I hope this helps to give you confidence that your dream is still within reach, you just have to work a bit harder for it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Having your background expunged will legally allow you to answer no to "have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or arrested". The only time you have to disclose this information is when you are applying for state license, running for office and a few other things that I can't remember. If the question does not specifically say all charges including those expunged, then you can truthfully answer no. The record will still exist, but will have a notation saying that the charges have been set aside. This will be another way of sahowing that you are sorry for your past and are trying to repair it. I had a misdemeanor in my past and this is what i did. I only took one test and was hired by a large county department. Keep trying and get your criminal history fom the FBI. Good luck!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Everyone has made mistakes (myself included). Fire departments are looking for people we can trust. Attempting to “hide”, or withhold information shows an attempt to deceit. Lying or intentionally withholding information is cause for immediate dismissal from the process.

                              Beware of the following advice:

                              “This will be another way of showing that you are sorry for your past and are trying to repair it.”

                              This in no way shows that you are “sorry”, rather it is an attempt to disassociate yourself from what you did.

                              Fire departments are looking for people who are honest and own up for their actions. Even if one could seal his records, which you can’t, (you sign permission for the BI to investigate EVERYTHING) why would we hire someone who did something so bad that he had to seal his records? Why would we hire someone who sealed his record so we couldn’t see the real person?

                              We have hundreds of candidates from which to choose. Why would we hire someone who intentionally misleads us during the background process?

                              Fast forward the hands of time. This firefighter who lied on his background process is now involved in some type of disciplinary system. He is interviewed by the BC. What makes us believe he will tell the truth during the investigation when he already has a history of lying or withholding information?

                              Lastly, oftentimes the misdemeanor would not have caused the candidate to fail out of the background process. The candidate’s attempt to hide his past makes him a less than desirable choice for the position.

                              Paul Lepore
                              Battalion Chief
                              www.aspiringfirefighters.com
                              Last edited by BCLepore; 12-07-2006, 08:37 AM.
                              Paul Lepore
                              Battalion Chief
                              www.aspiringfirefighters.com

                              Comment

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