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Civil Disobedience Arrest

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by Frankanderson, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. Frankanderson

    Frankanderson

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    Hi all. I'm wondering if an arrest for civil disobedience, say at a non-violent anti-war action, would hinder chances at admission to medical school.

    Thanks in advance for your responses.
     
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  3. JayneCobb

    JayneCobb big damn hero.... Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    where you charged with anything or just arrested? only crimes which you've been convicted of should affect anything if at all.

    and just curious, why would you be arrested for a "non-violent anti-war action?" Protesting without a permit?
     
  4. Frankanderson

    Frankanderson

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    Arrested along with about 200 others, and fined for crossing a police line.
     
  5. Jack Daniel

    Jack Daniel In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    I think it could be helpful. I know that medicine, as a whole, is very conservative, but I think there's a lot of room for activism. If you're interested in being politically active, you definitely have the record to prove it.

    And God knows that medicine could use a little political activism right now.
     
  6. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    Amen to that...
     
  7. DeLaughterDO

    DeLaughterDO Ghost in the Machine 10+ Year Member

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    State of Being
    :thumbup:
     
  8. CatsandCradles

    CatsandCradles SDN Donor 5+ Year Member

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    Don't tell me your one of those bleeding heart liberal pacifist Quaker or Mennonite church groups who go around singing Kumbayaa my Lord:laugh:

    But if you are, then I think its very cool :thumbup:

    Well, I can't say this for all schools, but some schools will totally be impressed with something like that. I know some of the faculty at my school, and they hash GW jokes left and right. Some were also Vietnam war veterans - who are vehemently against the war in Iraq right now. Others were draft dodgers - one guy fled to Canada - another joined the peace corp.

    Make sure you apply to an old school with faculty who have been teaching there for like 20 or some odd years - cause they've seen a lot political changes over their life time and will be able to appreciate some of that anti-war thoughts.

    C&C
     
  9. scdocusc

    scdocusc 2+ Year Member

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    I'm sorry... but I dont think it will help your application at all. The question is how bad it will hurt you. To ME, It's a better arrest than a murder but it's still an arrest and will put you at a disadvantage. I'm sure there are people out there who have gotten arrested who have gotten in. To an admissions committee its a slipery slope with being arrested. If your not convicted of anything officially then your cool. But if you are then you'll have to explain yourself.
     
  10. Dr.Inviz

    Dr.Inviz Banned Banned

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    Why put yourself through the hassle ... ?
     
  11. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student 7+ Year Member

    I can't imagine it would be a problem. It speaks of a passion for political activism. Just explain what you were protesting about, why you were arrested. It's not like you were arrested for fraud or bank robbery. And while doctors are a conservative bunch, university campuses are not. I live in one of the reddest states and our uni campus has plenty of left leaning professors who probably likes a good anti-war protest here and there. ;)
     
  12. Stimulate

    Stimulate 2+ Year Member

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    There is a big difference between arrest and conviction. First, most medical schools usually just ask if you were convicted of a crime. If you haven't paid the fine you should consider fighting it, or get it reduced to ANY sort of traffic related offense (jaywalking, etc.). Most applications will allow you to not list things that are "minor traffic offenses".

    Sometimes you can sign agreements in lieu of conviction where if you have no similar offenses for a year then they drop the charge. You may have to pay a prosecutorial "fee" for this. Obviously a misdemeanor conviction is better than a felony conviction.

    Next, do not under ANY circumstances lie about the issue. Always respond accurately to questions about this incident. After 10 years you are usually exempt from having to claim this on applications, court depositions/testimony, etc. So it is not the end of the world.

    However, I would still list it on ANY medical board applications because if they find out about it later they can permanently ban you from the state for dishonesty in your application.
     
  13. Lamont

    Lamont Neverending Storyteller 2+ Year Member

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    won't help you one bit and be ready to explain it if convicted. if not, then it shouldnt be a problem. best of luck.
     
  14. MedStudentWanna

    MedStudentWanna Banned Banned 5+ Year Member

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    So does volunteering with your local congressman and that probably would have been a better use of the OP time.

    That aside, good for you for standing up for your beliefs! I don't know how med schools will view it, but I'm proud of you anyway!
     
  15. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student 7+ Year Member

    I think protesting takes more guts than volunteering at the local congressmen's office. I had a person who did that, nothing useful came of it and it wasn't a big political thing for me. If he had decided to engage in political protest, I would see that as a bigger political stance. I really don't know what the problem is here. Just explain it was a protest gone overboard, all for a good cause. It's not like you robbed a bank or something.
     
  16. MedStudentWanna

    MedStudentWanna Banned Banned 5+ Year Member

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    If this was a well-organized protest (with permit), I'd agree with you, but a civil disobedience charge isn't the same as a simple protest. While I totally agree with the OP's stance on the war, I disagree with the way in which he/she went about showing the stance because every illegal protest makes those of us trying to go through legal channels work harder to be heard.

    The fact of the matter is there are ways to use your rights to the fullest within the scope of the law. When you disregard that and do what you want anyway (for whatever cause), you're proving that you're not willing to live within the boundaries that an authority figure has set (in this case, the OP's city leaders). Anytime you give off that impression, it can't be a good thing.

    Now if the OP wanted to really be heard, he/she should organize a LEGAL protest where everyone there complies with the city ordinances governing such protests. THAT would show political activism and make the OP stand out, not getting arrested for civil disobedience. Anyone can do that. Hell, I could stand outside my apartment with my roommates, signs in-hand and whistles in our mouths, and get arrested for the same. It says nothing of my political awareness, just that I can't follow the rules.
     
  17. lateapplicant

    lateapplicant 2+ Year Member

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    I can't believe how many people are actually responding that it may help the OPs chances. If that were the case, we would all grab signs and break the law then. If offered, everyone would turn down the "opportunity" to put a Civil Disobedience Charge on our applications.

    As many have distinguished, arrest does not equal conviction. If it's a conviction on grounds of disobedience, it won't help. People protest all the time without getting arrested/convicted, so they're going to wonder what you did to distinguish yourself enough to warrant charges.

    If you're not convicted and therefore not liable to put down the arrest, then citing political activism and demonstrations would probably count as good extracurricular, leadership etc.

    Key point: If it's a borderline conviction - do whatever you can to get rid of it.

    Good luck.
     
  18. Jack Daniel

    Jack Daniel In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    Just as in modern politics, it's often about how you spin something. The OP can talk about the arrest and fine and cower in the corner awaiting disapproving frowns or the OP can present it as an experience in political activism that went farther than planned and that much was learned from the consequences.
     
  19. GreenShirt

    GreenShirt 10+ Year Member

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    I could be wrong about this, but I believe the hopitals were you do your clinicals require an annual background check. So it might be something that you're going to have to explain more than once.....and I'm not sure how a hospital vs. a school is going to view it.
     
  20. dctrgreen

    dctrgreen Junior Member 2+ Year Member

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    i think if you are honest and forthcoming about the situation, then it will not hurt you in anyway. i think that is shows that you are passionate about something and you took it to an extreme (not a bad thing, although the arrest thing kind of sucks)

    i don't see it being a problem...people on here just like to start pissing wars over every question someone asks.
     
  21. MedStudentWanna

    MedStudentWanna Banned Banned 5+ Year Member

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    I think some people don't really understand what a civil disobedience charge means. If the OP was arrested for disturbing the peace during an antiwar protest, I'd say it might not be so bad. However, civil disobedience is legally defined as someone who ACTIVELY (and that's a very important word b/c it implies a warning that was ignored) REFUSES TO OBEY THE LAWS OF A DISTRICT, COUNTY, or CITY.

    What this means is that the OP's protest was AGAINST THE LAW, that it wasn't a regular protest where people organize themselves to draw attention to something they disapprove of. Protesting is a right we have to protect by doing it within the scope of the law. If you don't, it doesn't matter what the reason is. It's no different than breaking any other kind of law. Is it the end of the world? No. It's probably up there with shoplifting on the grand scale, but how anyone can spin a documented refusal to obey laws is beyond me.

    You don't think adcomms will say to themselves "hey, this dude has little respect for authority. This guy doesn't always play by the rules. This guy thinks that if he has what he thinks is a good reason, he can ignore the law and do what he wants"?

    Protesting something you don't like is great as long as you do it in accordance with the law. We can't all just break whatever rules we want just because we get riled up about something. I don't think this will necessarily hurt the OP, but I would never, ever, EVER say that any kind of arrest and/or conviction for failure to comply with the rules will help during the med school process.
     
  22. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    I don't think you quite get the idea of what a protest is. Protests have absolutely no impact unless they are noticed, and they are not noticed without breakin the law. Lots of folks remember Greenpeace's protests, though most were against the law. Folks remember when the Bay bridge in San Francisco was shut down in protest of the Iraq war, though it was against the law.

    Remember the protest by the chemistry club over declining enrollment? They waved placards and chanted from the bleachers of an empty stadium? Probably not. The anti-war movement during Vietnam wasn't effective because everyone applied for the right permits.

    Folks can make a convincing argument that having an arrest record for a political protest can be a black mark, but there is no effective political protest without in this country without breaking a few laws.
     
  23. scdocusc

    scdocusc 2+ Year Member

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    Remember the protest by the chemistry club over declining enrollment? They waved placards and chanted from the bleachers of an empty stadium? Probably not. The anti-war movement during Vietnam wasn't effective because everyone applied for the right permits.




    and you got this information from either the Nader news or your imagination!
     
  24. MedStudentWanna

    MedStudentWanna Banned Banned 5+ Year Member

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    That's absolutely not true. If you have what it takes to start a movement, it will be noticed. Breaking the law will only sully your message and it's the message that's the most important. To me, the people who break the law to protest are attention seekers who only want to show off their mug shot as their only claim to having any political activism whatsoever.

    The ones who truly care about what they're fighting for will do it within the scope of the law and do it well enough that they're MESSAGE, not them, will be the lead story on the news.
     
  25. Dr.Inviz

    Dr.Inviz Banned Banned

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    Ask yourself this ...

    Was a "civil" disobedience arrest worth potentially losing your personal credibility as a responsible member of society? I know of plenty CIVIL rallies that were simple that, CIVIL organized rallies that leads to no arrests. Obviously, this wasn't civil, nor organized, and hence the arrest. Why put yourself in that situation in the first place? Time better spent helping those who need help, than vying for attention on an issue that probably will not conceed to change.

    BTW, I will be in an annual CIVIL organized rally aimed at funding for public higher education ... you won't see me fretting about risks of arrest or whatnot. The rallies actually do help, too. If you have to be worried about something, chances are, don't do it.
     
  26. lateapplicant

    lateapplicant 2+ Year Member

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    If I'm pissing, it's a stream of yellow honesty.

    Before you start putting down people who give their honest opinions you may want to consider the scenario that perhaps the OP presented the question to gather a general concensus from all opinions. While telling the OP it will not hurt them in anyway may give them relief, it may not be the best advice. I think it's best if the OP hears "way to stand up for a cause, I don't think it will hurt" from some people and the more sobering "it might affect your chances so get rid of it if you can" from others.
     
  27. white_n_nerdy

    white_n_nerdy I do what I want 2+ Year Member

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    I will never tell
    This is my first post to any kind of internet chat room or anything. So, I am taking the plunge. I cannot believe the naive comments that have been posted about this subject. First, an arrest of any kind will never, ever, help you with anything unless you are trying to join a gang. Second, it may not stop you from getting into school but, it is a black mark on you and your application. Whether your cause is just or not, you have been arrested and charged with a crime. Now, many posts have alluded to the fact if you were not convicted, you will be fine. That is not necessarily true. Many applications now ask not if you have been convicted of any crime but, if you have ever been arrested. So, you will have to explain and defend your arrest. Second, whether you know it or not by just paying a fine for the offense, you probably are convicted of it. People do that all the time thinking the charge went away, only to get hammered in the future. Also, you never know what your future might hold. I have seen people with simple charges like the op stated trying to get jobs in the future and getting denied. Think about it, you might one day need a security clearance. Many medical facilities do business with the federal government. You are a fool if you do not believe that a civil disobedience charge can affect your ability to get a security clearance. I have seen people with simple open container violations, charges that are not even jail able in certain states, get denied licenses because the government says the charge brings their stability into question. Also, the Federal government can classify charges different than the local jurisdictions. If you could have been given at least one year for the offense, the Federal government can classify it as a felony. Now, many will say that excludes any minor charges, but that is not necessary true. Some states have archaic laws that have guidelines that certain offenses can be given sentences of larger than a year. Do people actually get over a year for being convicted of the offenses? No, but under guidelines they could have. So, the Feds could classify that arrest and conviction as a felony. I have seen people with DUI convictions lose some of their constitutional rights because in certain states that defendant could have been given over one year. DUI is a serious problem but it is considered a traffic offense in most states. Civil disobedience is a criminal offense. Do not be a fool. Never get arrested. And if you do, defend yourself and try your best not to end up with any kind of record. Also, anybody that thinks getting arrested for protesting the war is cool or believes that arrest is some kind of badge of courage is really weak. I am not debating the war or whether you should protest. All I am saying are the people actually in harms way have the real courage. They are there, while you are sitting on your couches, watching TV. and posting stuff on this forum. Protest the war because you really feel strongly and want to preserve their lives and ease their troubles; not because you think it is cool and you think it might make you look like a passionate activist to the ADCOM.
     
  28. Jack Daniel

    Jack Daniel In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    Actually, your first post was "hello" in the New Members forum. But that's neither here nor there.... :rolleyes:
     
  29. Frankanderson

    Frankanderson

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    I don't feel that you can really have this sort of insight into my psyche to make a suggestion about why I decided to get arrested--but, you may rest assured it wasn't to impress some future med admissions committee.


    If this helps clarify: med school admissions (or "coolness," for that matter) were not on my mind when this happened. Thinking about it now, I certainly don't imagine that anyone would be thrilled with my having been arrested--I'm trying to gauge if there has been any damage done.

    Thank you all for the responses.
     
  30. dctrgreen

    dctrgreen Junior Member 2+ Year Member

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    first of all, i wasn't putting anyone down for giving their honest opinions. sorry if you are offended. i was merely stating that a lot of times when someone asks a question on this board, it turns out to be a pissing contest among people with too much time on their hands.

    my most important point (which i should have made more clearly instead of just implying it) was that i would not take anything on SDN to be the final word on anything.

    i based my opinion on multiple sources i have read concerning admissions, which stated if arrests/convictions were an issue, then you should be honest and forthcoming about it. i have never read or seen anything that stated if you have a minor conviction, then forget about med school because they will throw your application out immediately. otherwise i would imagine that AMCAS/ACOMAS would have a provision somewhere which would clearly indicate factors that would prevent admission. that is why there is an area on the application to explain arrests/convictions.

    However, i don't understand how getting conflicting advice from everybody would be helpful (as you suggested). perhaps the OP should seek advice on this topic from reliable sources such as ADCOM, since they certainly will be in a better position to give advice (better than you and me)

    that was the original intention of my post anyway i.e. for the OP to not get too discouraged over people on SDN going back and forth over something when they are just trying to out do each other and they really don't even know what they are talking about.
     
  31. Dr.Inviz

    Dr.Inviz Banned Banned

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    Don't worry, I still love your hippy spirit ... :laugh:
     
  32. czanetti

    czanetti 5+ Year Member

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    It will not hurt you, you where standing up for what you beleive in. You didn't cheat on a test or commit a fellony it was a peaceful rebellious act that breached a petty law. If it is brought up speak for why you did it if not don't worry about it. Ant-war rallies do serve a purpose, a purpose of disrupting the natural flow of everyone elses day to look at what is going on and acknowledge that people are against the war. Good luck with your application process and your anti-war effort.
     
  33. MedStudentWanna

    MedStudentWanna Banned Banned 5+ Year Member

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    Civil disobedience means you were "peacefully rebellious." LOL now I've heard it all!
     
  34. scdocusc

    scdocusc 2+ Year Member

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    "it will not hurt you" ?????? that is the most rediculous thing I've seen since the spelling from two posts above. Seriously, that is an ignorant statement.
     
  35. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

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    What?!

    Dont be ridiculous.

    A police record of any kind looks bad on an application.

    Unless you are applying for a job as a democratic campaign manager, a clean record is a good record.
     
  36. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

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    :rolleyes:

    Try "standing up for what you believe in" when you believe you should be allowed to go home at 9:30pm because youve been in the OR all day.

    Medicine is a conservative game no matter how you break it down.

    Doesnt matter what you were standing up for...you stood up when a police officer said "sit down". You lose.
     
  37. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

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    Oh man. Are you ever in for a wake up call. Try taking that poopie to Penn Med or Yale.

    Good luck
     
  38. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!' Administrator Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    One issue that everyone forgot to mention is that when you apply for a state license, the state board of medicine/osteopathic medicine will ask you about convictions ... and if you reply "yes" to any, you will have to attach a sheet explaining it

    From Pennsylvania Board of Osteopathic Medicine's application for unrestricted license

    "Have you ever been convicted, found guilty, or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere, or received probation without verdict as to any felony or misdemeanor, including any drug law violation, in any state or federal court?"

    From Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine's application/instruction for unrestricted license

    "Certain applicants may be required to appear before the Board to discuss their application before a determination of licensure can be made. An appearance may be required for a variety of reasons, such as: ... Criminal Convictions, Discipline, ..."

    and

    "Have you ever been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty, nolo contendre, or no contest to a crime in any jurisdiction other than a minor traffic offense?

    You must include all misdemeanors and felonies, even if adjudication was withheld by the court so
    that you would not have a record of conviction. Driving under the influence or driving while impaired is not considered a minor traffic offense for purposes of this question."


    Will it stop you from getting a license? Probably not. But it will make the headache of getting a state license a lot more complicated
     
  39. Lamont

    Lamont Neverending Storyteller 2+ Year Member

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    this does not help your cause whatsoever, be ready to explain it. I imagine its kinda' (and this is a pretty loose simile so work with me) like getting an F freshman year and having to explain to every adcom what happpened. It will not end your world, it just makes your world a much more difficult place. Can we stop beating the dead horse? You messed up a while ago, it happens. You will probably be alright if you are a strong applicant, just be forthright and honest about everything. Good luck
     
  40. CTrainSJU

    CTrainSJU MS I 7+ Year Member

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    I'm with you SC. Admirable possibly, but still a black mark.
     

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