girthydave

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Nov 15, 2010
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As a student, I've done very well. I'm another year from graduating my uni with a B.S. in chemistry. I have a science/math GPA of 4.0 and an overall of 3.8, and am anticipating them to remain the same at graduation. Scored a 38 on the MCAT, and feel my applications will be competitive academically.

I've done charity work with the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society, and several churches in my area. I've also done tutoring in my spare time over the years. Once again, I feel like I have a solid set of extracurriculars.

However, I have three misdemeanor convictions. One juvenile, and two as an adult.

The first was a possesion of less than 2.5g of marijuana when I was 16. I recieved court supervision, and completed it succesfully.

The second one occured when I was 18. I was at a friends house, and two acquaintences were tormenting the neighbors cat. I wasn't directly involved (I didn't even know what was going on until about 5 minutes before the police showed up), but got arrested all the same when they arrived. The states attorney's attitude was that since I was the only adult in the house when it happened, I should be held equally liable. I was scared and stupid and wound up taking a plea bargain that I really shouldn't have. Needless to say, I never spoke to those two morons again. I got misdemeanor animal cruelty, recieved court supervision, and completed it succesfully.

The third was an illegal consumption at age 19. No excuses here -- I was at a party, had been drinking, and got ticketed when the party got busted. Recieved probation, completed succesfully.

Now, at age 27, it has been 8 years since I've had so much as a speeding ticket. Since my last conviction, I've done hundreds of hours of volunteer work, have put myself through college and done very well (I'm proud of myself anyway lol.)

My question is, do I have a fair shake at getting into medical school, landing a residency, and getting licensed? I feel like after coming so far, that I would atleast deserve a shot to explain myself to an admissions/licensing board, and that hopefully they could see that what is shown on my criminal record is not a fair representation of the person I am today. Thoughts?

edit - I don't know if it makes a difference, but I've worked as an LPN for the last 5 years
 
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Catalystik

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IMO, if you don't get into med school, it won't be due to these past legal problems. Explain it like you did here. You'll be fine. A lot of time has gone by and you're a completely different person than you were as a teen. Your record's been clean. You've performed brilliantly. You have redeemed yourself.
 
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girthydave

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Thank you so much for replying so quickly! I've really been sweating it out over this, and it's a relief to just get someone elses perspective on it.

Would these effect landing a residency or a position at a hospital? I can have the illegal consumption sealed from my record, and the possesion of marijuana, being on my juvenile record, isn't viewable by employers in my state (IL.)

However, the cruelty to animals cannot be sealed or expunged under illinois law. Barring a Governor's pardon, it will be stuck on my record for life. I realize that explaining what actually happened will mitigate the damage somewhat, but it's still just an ugly charge to have. I'm especially ashamed of it as an avid cat lover (I have two), and someone who would never even think of harming an animal.
 

USCTrojan11

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Only thing I can forsee being a problem with getting in is that you have only 750 characters to explain these convictions, demonstrate maturity and prove ur clean. If you're up to the challenge shouldn't be a problem. As for licensing, you should apply to get the misdemeanors expunged so when licensing comes around you can have a clean record. I have 1 conviction, it hasn't been a problem, 4 interviews right now with not a single word about it. It was a MIP conviction. I have much lower stats but had great ECs that demonstrated maturity.
 

Catalystik

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I think the more important question would be the implications for eventual licensure. Every state is different, and this is not my area of expertise. Why not call the Illinois licensing office and ask them, if you are sure what will show up on a background check? My experience of friends' similar issues is that they are always willing to hear your side of the story at an open session before passing judgement.
 
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girthydave

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The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDPFR) said that all they could tell me is that none of my offenses would specifically bar me from licensure, but that they couldn't give me a direct answer until I've actually applied for licensure.

So, basically a bit of run-around. I should note though, that they gave me much the same answer when I inquired about getting my LPN licensure, and when I applied for it, I got the green light.

Because all Illinois healthcare workers from CNAs to Physicians are (hypothetically) held to the same standard as far as disqualifying offenses of moral turptitude under the Healthcare Worker Background Check Act (225 ILCS 46), I certainly hope licensure won't be problematic -- but who knows?

If not, I've got to assume that atleast one state in the Union would be willing to give me a license?

With that bit of self-rationalization, I suppose that means what I'm really concerned with is just getting in to a med program.
 

TriagePreMed

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Obviously your problems will present a red flag, but given that they were 8 years ago, this gives schools a lot to think about. If it were up to me, the only charge I'd look into was the animal cruelty. Because if it were true that you harmed an animal yourself, I wouldn't want you at my medical school. It suggests deep disturbance. You claim that this is not the case and I believe you, yet I think that's the charge you should be explicitly clear that you didn't touch the animal whatsoever and were convicted based on being the only adult in the house. If the police recorded it this way, I strongly suggest you write in your essay that you're willing to hand over police reports confirming this story.
 
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girthydave

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The specific charges literature makes no distinction between whom did what and so on. However, in their police statements, the two guys who did do it explicitly state that I had nothing to do with it, and one of them even goes on to mention that I showed blatent dissaproval upon discovering what had happened. (I wouldn't want to repeat what I said verbatim, but it wasn't very nice. Something to the effect of "blanking" idiots.)

They were juveniles when giving that statement, so I'm unsure as to if they would have to sign a waiver to let it be shown?
I've got to believe that the DVD would be pretty compelling evidence that it was a case of guilt by association?

If it couldn't be shown, I'm sure that if I contacted them, they would be willing to submit letters testifying to what happened. We don't associate anymore, but there isn't any animosity -- certainly not enough that they would want to shaft me out of medical school.
 
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TriagePreMed

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The specific charges literature makes no distinction between whom did what and so on. However, in their police statements, the two guys who did do it explicitly state that I had nothing to do with it, and one of them even goes on to mention that I showed blatent dissaproval upon discovering what had happened. (I wouldn't want to repeat what I said verbatim, but it wasn't very nice. Something to the effect of "blanking" idiots.)

They were juveniles when giving that statement, so I'm unsure as to if they would have to sign a waiver to let it be shown?
I've got to believe that the DVD would be pretty compelling evidence that it was a case of guilt by association?

If it couldn't be shown, I'm sure that if I contacted them, they would be willing to submit letters testifying to what happened. We don't associate anymore, but there isn't any animosity -- certainly not enough that they would want to shaft me out of medical school.
The police report has to be open to the public. What you'll find is that their names will be blanket out.
 
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girthydave

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To obtain these, should I contact the arresting police dept., or the circuit clerk?

Also, would they keep a copy of the DVD statement -- or just a transcript? I have a feeling that the transcript is somehow less specific than the video was. If anything, I've got to think that seeing and hearing somebody say what happened sinks in harder than merely reading it. Would a board likely accept additional testimony from the two co-defendants?
 

TriagePreMed

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To obtain these, should I contact the arresting police dept., or the circuit clerk?

Also, would they keep a copy of the DVD statement -- or just a transcript? I have a feeling that the transcript is somehow less specific than the video was. If anything, I've got to think that seeing and hearing somebody say what happened sinks in harder than merely reading it. Would a board likely accept additional testimony from the two co-defendants?
I think it may be unlikely that schools will want to go to that point, but that's just my supposition. You're trying to do everything possible, and that is awesome. I don't know if you'll get this from the clerk or the police, but you'll find out with a phone call or two. Also, you could try contacting your public defender.
 

Ignatius M.D.

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Everyone deserves a second chance. It seems that you've more than redeemed yourself, and have shown that you have the mind. Just make sure they know that you have a good heart as well. I think you will have no problem gaining admission to at least one school. Good luck!
 
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girthydave

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I guess I should note that I was technically never convicted of any crime besides the illegal consumption.

I recieved court supervision, a type of deferred adjudication/diversion program. In court supervision, the judge agrees to withhold judgement pending completion of the term. In other words, the court considers you neither guilty or innocent. Upon completion, the charges are dismissed.

"The sentence of court-supervison is reserved for cases in which the judge and prosecution feel that the accused has culpability -- Just not enough culpability to make in to a convicted criminal." - My lawyer

This differs from probation in that under probation you are found guilty and convicted of the crime that you were charged with. It serves as little more than the avoidance of jail.

The prime difference is that a criminal background check searching for convictions will come up clean pertaining to that charge, because I was never convicted of it. Consequently, if I am asked if I was ever convicted of it, I can legally answer no.

However, a full rap sheet (arrests, charges, prosecution, disposition) will reveal that I was charged with the crime, pled guilty, recieved court supervision, and had the charges dismissed. Consequently, if I am asked if I have ever been charged with or pled guilty to it, I am legally obligated to answer yes.

Normally, cases for which one recieves court supervision can be sealed or expunged. Unfortuanetly, my lawyer was a dunce and overlooked that animal cruelty was an exception to that norm, telling me that I could have it expunged later. He all but pushed the plea deal down my throat, explaining to me that there is no guarentee justice will be upheld at a trial, but the plea deal would in effect allow me to make it as though it never happened in a couple years. If I had known that I would be stuck with it on my record forever, I would have never accepted the plea deal.

I guess that makes my case eligible for appeal due to ineffective counsel? I'd rather not mess with it though unless it becomes a career roadblock.

Ah, sorry I ranted...
 

Wermz

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Didn't read this thread except for the original post, but I just gotta say to the OP: best of luck to you man. Looks like you got unlucky a few times for doing very normal things. Keep fighting the good fight.
 

TriagePreMed

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OP, if the application asks for convictions, you answer that question only. You don't offer up more information. If they asked if you've ever been charged, you answer that question. Confirm this with your public defender.
 
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girthydave

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Hey, I just want to thank everybody who responded to my post.

I finally did what I should have done in the first place and contacted the admissions departments of several schools. The overall response I got? Not a real big deal.

The D.O. schools had a more "cheery" way of putting it, but most places said something along the lines of while it would be considered, as long as I'm honest, my application should still be competitive. A few places even said that they've let people with lower stats in with worse. I spoke on the phone with a lady from Ross University (I hope it doesn't come to that lol), and she said she couldn't promise anything since it wasn't up to her, but that she would be surprised if I wasn't accepted.

Anyway, I'm in a good mood for the rest of the week. Thanks again, everybody!
 

dragonfly99

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Would likely be more of an issue for licensure later on, and what the states ask on licensure is really up to them. I wouldn't let it keep you from applying to med school if that's what you want. Just don't lie about it.
 

1fastmedic

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Nov 30, 2010
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You can get in. I've been accepted to school and I have a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge for which I was arrested for in 2002. Of course, I spent time explaining it thoroughly during my interview because they did ask about it. Other than these minor blemishes, looks as though you won't have a problem getting in. Good luck!
 

hiphopapotamous

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I feel like those misdemeanors show absolutely nothing against you as a person. All three were because you were at the wrong place at the wrong time (well, maybe not the first one, but you were young).
 

SFO-IST

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Just throwing out a crazy idea.... I wonder if the DA who prosecuted you would consider writing a letter of recommendation for you? Like if he were to interview you today, you can go over your academic record, he can look over the police record, and write a letter to the school saying why he pressed charges and whether in his opinion, you've changed. I'm just throwing it out there and obviously it might not work - it would depend on the DA.