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Arrest Record and Licensing

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by TiredUnicorn, May 8, 2008.

  1. TiredUnicorn

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    I am a first year medical student, rounding to the end of my first year.

    Last year I was arrested for an OWI (yes, an owi- it is very horrible I know). It has been the bane of my existence since then. For all who question the ethics of it and me, I certainly agree that duis are not okay! I was wine tasting for 45 min., believed myself to have had 1-2 drinks, waited another hour and a half, and was arrested upon leaving the location. I have been through a year of much pain and whatnot, as well as disclosing it fully to my school and seeing our school counselor about it.

    Fortunately for me, the charges were dropped, and I plead to two class C infractions (driving tickets). I know I will have to disclose this fully, along with all my documentation upon attempting licensure. Because I am debating if it is logical to stay in (I LOVE medicine and am so proud to be in this great society) when I may be left at the end with 160K debt and no licensure.

    Does anyone have any perspective on this as I am facing this decision? I will have an arrest record and all court documents against me, but thankfully NO misdemeanor. I hate to leave behind the one thing I feel passionate about :(, but I feel I must face facts. I'm not asking for pity, just actual information. Thank you for any help you can give.
     
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  3. kdburton

    kdburton Ulnar Deviant
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    Well what did they tell you at school? I assume that if the consequences of getting a DWI were so dire (i.e. you lose the chance to get your medical license) that they would probably know that and they would probably advise you accordingly. I'm sure that every school has had at least a couple people in your exact situation in the past, so if your school already knows about your infraction then just ask them what will happen to you after you graduate. I know that [in some states at least] you can apply to have records of things like this expunged so that they no longer show up on your criminal/traffic record. Find out if thats the case in your state and see if you can jump on that train.
     
  4. TiredUnicorn

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    Unfortunately, arrests cannot be expunged in state it happened in (indiana); apparently they basically never allow the record to be cleared. I do not have a dwi, I have the record of the accusation/arrest for one, and when that happens it cannot be expunged. So thats a no go :-\.

    As far as my school goes, it was disclosed upon entering, and I met with our counselor about it (read- MANY times). She says she doesnt think it would be a problem (doesnt really know). I also emailed the state licensing board in the state I hope to go to residency in, and also received a non-committal answer. This is why I am posting here, in hopes for someone who has been through this or something similar- or even better someone who sits in on state licensing decisions :).

    Thanks!
     
  5. Colbert

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    I'm by no means a lawyer, but as I understand the law you don't have any actual convictions against you. If I'm getting your story right you were arrested, charged, and that was it. If that's so then you weren't proven guilty of anything and I can't see how you would be refused a medical license because of it.
     
  6. kdburton

    kdburton Ulnar Deviant
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    This is true, but hypothetically if he were convicted of a DWI rather than having the charges dropped to a couple lesser traffic offenses, I don't see why that would necessarily end his chances of becoming licensed. There are lots of doctors out there who get DWIs and their lives aren't over. I imagine you'd have some questions to answer along the way, but I don't think that its the end of your career...
     
  7. japhy

    japhy Ski Bum
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    there is a big difference between getting a DUI once you are licensed and having one while you are trying to get licensed.

    take a look at the application form in the state you are talking about. look at how the question is asked. does it say - any convictions? or just have you ever been arrested?
     
  8. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident
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    Don't worry about the expungement thing. If you can get one, it's nice to be able to say you were never arrested or convicted of anything - for employment applications. Expungements (I'm speaking in general terms, by the way - the laws of all 50 states vary) really don't matter for medical licensing - the public interest in having safe doctors outweighs any rights of the licensing applicant in medicine. If you're curious, just pull up the on-line licensing application for a few states where you're interested in practicing - you'll usually see that they ask about any arrests or convictions, expunged or not - dismissed or not. They can, and usually do, ask.

    As for what will happen. You will probably have to answer that yes, you were arrested. Because of this, you will probably have to make a personal appearance before the state board of medicine where you want to practice instead of just applying for licensure by mail. They'll look you over, ask you what happened, and then they'll ask you if you have any ongoing problems with alcohol (generally, they won't take action unless you've had some sort of problem within the last 5 years).

    If you can answer "no", you don't have any current problems - enough time will have elapsed so that the end of the matter will likely be there - and you'll be granted an unrestricted license.

    Any arrest or conviction in medicine is a permanent shadow, but it does fade with time if you keep your nose clean. The exception to that is any crime of violence - you whack your girlfriend and get charged, that could well keep you out of medicine for good. An abuse of trust can do that also - an elder abuse conviction would also very likely keep you out for good.
     
  9. Adam638

    Adam638 Senior Member
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    Here's the deal; you'll be fine. People are accepted every year with DUI's on their record. Mistakes happen. Schools, licensing boards know that. No school is going to accept someone that they don't think can get licensed. I know that's not your exact situation, but similar. Unless you have a HISTORY (numerous infractions) of alcohol or drug abuse it won't be a problem. Now if you would have beaten up your grandma or something, then it would be a different situation. You need to stop worrying about this. You'll be fine and ten years from now when you're a practicing physician you'll think of this as needless worrying. Concentrate on your studies and rock your boards. Good luck.:thumbup:
     
  10. Non-TradTulsa

    Non-TradTulsa Senior Member - Resident
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    I was thinking about your post last night, TiredUnicorn. I know how stressed and paranoid you probably are. Hope my answer was helpful, but it has to be vague since this business varies a lot by state.

    Look - if you're dying to know EXACTLY what will happen to you, here's what you do. Don't call the medical board of the state where you expect to be licensed - to them, you're not a scared medical student, you're a potential plantiff if they don't license you to your satisfaction - therefore, they're only going to tell you what they CAN do - not what they usually do in this situation. They'll scare the bejeezus outta ya.

    What you need to do is get the contact information for the Impaired Physicians Program of the state where you expect to be licensed. Call the group leader - don't worry, he'll call you back. They deal with current physicians (and medical students, by the way) who have alcohol problems and DUIs all the time. Even if you don't have a problem - the men and women who volunteer to help their peers enjoy being helpful - they won't give you a hard time, they'll be happy to help. They'll tell you exactly what will happen - I imagine they'll tell you the same thing that I did - that you'll just have to make a personal appearance. Since your arrest won't have been quite ten years past, the board might make you get a substance abuse assessment from a counselor - but I think that's the worst that would happen. But, again, if you want the straight poop for your state, get in contact with the Impaired Physicians Group - every state has one, and if you can't Google it, just call the medical board and ask for the contact number - they'll have it. That should put your mind at rest - these guys deal with these problems all the time, and they'll give you a straight-up answer for your state.

    Best of luck.
     

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