Can I be a Firefighter with a DUI?

Currently, driving under the influence convictions are all too common. While you may be considering a job as a firefighter, a past conviction may be weighing on your decision. What kind of hiring process would I have to go through if I’m considered? What else may disqualify me from the position? Is it even possible to become a firefighter with such an offense?

Can I become a firefighter with a DUI?

You can become a firefighter when you have received a driving under the influence conviction, but some departments have a zero-tolerance policy that may stop you from even being considered for a position. Most departments consider the time frame between the conviction and the application, and if it has been five years, your prospects improve. The decision varies from department to department. 

Can I be a Firefighter with a DUI?

Although it is not impossible, you will have to jump through some extra hoops to get through the application process if you have a DUI conviction. Read on to find out how to make the process run smoothly not only for you, but for your potential employers. 

Do I have to tell them about my DUI?

Can I be a Firefighter with a DUI?

Because departments run background checks on their candidates, it is best to be upfront about your conviction and let them know ahead of time, so they do not find it when conducting your background check. 

Not presenting that information at the start of the process may hurt your application even further, because they will consider that withholding information and believe you to not be honest about your past, which is a trait most departments look for in a candidate. 

How do I get past my DUI to become a firefighter?

Much like any other job, it may be difficult to convince the hiring committee that you are worth a shot after your driving under the influence conviction. 

Can I be a Firefighter with a DUI?

Regardless of difficulty, you are best served by being honest about the situation and telling the appropriate people during the hiring process—typically during the interview—about your conviction. 

By sharing that information within your interview, you can share how you have improved and learned from the situation in the time between the conviction and your application. While many departments won’t consider you if the DUI occurred in the last five years, others may look at the last ten. It will vary from department to department.

You may be asked the situation of the DUI, and whether you have any other substance abuse issues or addictive tendencies. The best thing to do in this situation is answer the questions honestly and openly and take responsibility for your actions. 

Can you become a firefighter with a speeding ticket?

Why won’t they hire me with a DUI?

Can I be a Firefighter with a DUI?

Some places do have a zero-tolerance policy, meaning you would not even be considered when they discover the conviction. It also depends on the severity of the conviction—while many would consider you if it were a misdemeanor, a felony may pull you from the running. 

Timing is also an issue; if the DUI has happened recently, they will be unable to consider you, as you did not have enough time to really consider the event and learn from it. If the conviction happened years ago without any repeat offenses, they will be more likely to discuss the conviction with you in the understanding that you have learned from your mistake. 

Many departments rely on their reputation, as firefighters are typically perceived as honorable, respectable public servants, and they find that a DUI conviction is a breach of that trust. 

A DUI conviction also puts into question the candidate’s ability to be professional, be reliable, and have good character. 

What happens if I get a DUI after I’ve gotten the job?

Can I be a Firefighter with a DUI?

If you are convicted of a DUI after becoming a firefighter, there may be consequences ranging from a reprimand to termination, depending on the department. If you lose your driver’s license, you can lose your job—many departments require you to have a valid driver’s licenses to even maintain employment. 

Can other things prevent me from becoming a firefighter?

Other crimes can prevent you from becoming a firefighter—anything from a misdemeanor to a felony can pull you from the application process. When they search through with a background check, any and all criminal activity will be present, and all offenses will be considered.

Namely, the criminal offenses that will bring you out of the running quickly include any sort of traffic or driving offenses like reckless driving or leaving the scene of an accident. If any of your past offenses highly recklessness or irresponsibility, you will not be considered for the position. 

Can I be a Firefighter with a DUI?

If you have had signs of drug use in the past, you could also be disqualified from becoming a firefighter. Much like the possible dependency on alcohol, drug use is a red flag; also, like alcohol use, if you have come out of addiction in a reasonable time frame, you can still be considered. Drug screenings are part of the hiring process in most departments and you will be disqualified if illegal drugs show up on the test. 

Another reason you may be disqualified is a dishonorable discharge from the military. Again, they are looking for responsible, honorable people, and that is a glaring red flag that you do not respect authority or are irresponsible. Since dishonorable discharges usually mean that some sort of crime was committed, it will come up during the hiring process.

While not impossible, you will have several more challenges during the hiring process for a firefighting position if you have received a driving under the influence conviction. By staying positive, being honest about your past, and answering questions responsibly, it is not something that can completely hinder you from becoming a firefighter. Show that you have changed and learned from the situation, and you will be well on your way to getting that coveted position in the firehouse. 


Can I become a police officer with a DUI?

Yes, you can be considered for employment as a police officer if you have a driving under the influence conviction. Depending on the time frame of when it happened, it may call into question your judgment, but you can still be considered. If you are convicted of a felony DUI, however, you will not be considered for the position.

Does having a tattoo disqualify me from being a firefighter?

No, tattoos do not disqualify you from becoming a firefighter. Most departments still require you to cover your tattoos while on duty. 

Can I have a beard while serving as a firefighter?

No, most departments require you to be clean shaven, even if you have a beard for religious reasons. Because the breathing apparatus must fit on your face in a certain way, a beard can stop you from wearing it properly and could put your life in danger. 

Can having a juvenile record stop me from becoming a firefighter?

Most juvenile records are sealed, so that information is open to government agencies, law enforcement, and the courts. If the crime is expunged, it is effectively like you did not commit the crime at all, and you are not required to share your history upon applying. If it is not expunged, you will typically have to disclose that information. Laws vary from state to state, so research the laws of your state before applying. 

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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.