DUI in my 3rd year of clinical psychology doctoral program. Placement, internships, licensing?

Feb 17, 2021
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Hi everyone,

I am in my 3rd year of my doctoral program, and I work with kids and families. I made a dumb mistake and drove home after the bar. I hadn't had a drink since 11:30 and we left at 2:30 AM and I felt fine. I got pulled over after almost missing my exit and I blew .1 (only .02 over our legal limit here). After speaking to lawyers, I think I'm probably going to be charged with an Operating while visually impaired, which in michigan is a "lesser" alcohol related driving charge that will still go on my criminal record as a misdemeanor. I am currently licensed in michigan to practice psychology (LLP), and I will be applying for clinical internships in 2 years. I am so worried about what will happen with this charge on my record. Is it even worth me continuing in my program, if I won't be able to get an internship?

I am looking for any experience or advice with this from professionals in clinical psychology. I know it's a terrible thing to do, but I also know that many people have had DUIs. Has anyone had experience or known anyone with one DUI and how did that go with applying to internships/licensure in any states, not just michigan? What about getting jobs in the future? SOS
 

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It's certainly worth continuing with your graduate program. Obviously keep working with your lawyer, and be open/forthcoming on any applications that would require you disclose the information if you're ultimately convicted. The main part counting against you in terms of internship applications will be the recency of the offense. Just be prepared to discuss it in the application materials, and if necessary, during interviews. It may get your application cut from some programs, but it doesn't necessarily have to be an insurmountable hurdle to internship or licensure.
 
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WisNeuro

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If your application is pretty stellar, you can still do ok. We've ranked applicants with prior legal issues highly. Few things. Your application from here on out has to be pretty good. Go above and beyond in everything you do, particularly with people who are writing you letters. If you f*** up again, another dui, academic probation, etc, forget about it at many places. You're persona non grata to them. So, play it much safer than you think you need to. You can have the best application in the world, and multiple DUIs will get you thrown in the trash without a second thought. If this becomes a pattern, you will have A LOT more trouble with all of these things going forward. Having it happen once will not be great, but it's not a kiss of death.
 
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Agree with the above. A single incident can be overcome, multiple red flags will get you passed over just about anywhere

Hopefully you have good mentors and or a DCT who can help you strategize. You need to thread a needle a bit in application materials between making appropriate disclosures, but not advertising it to the point it becomes the focal point of any discussions of you as a candidate.

Be very, very, very cautious from this point on and make sure you stand out in positive ways in at least 1-2 other areas of your application. If you have something that wows them (a 1st author paper in JCCP, a big grant, an impressive LOR from a rockstar in the field, incredibly extensive experience in clinic Y that developed treatment X) you are in better shape. Basically, when your application is being discussed you want to make sure they have something other than "They were the guy/gal with the DUI" to use as their reference point. So if you were coasting along before, the time has come to throw yourself into this.

That said, do take care of yourself. Get legal advice, but also do some soul searching. Now is a great time to voluntarily take a few months off from any drinking and if that seems like a big deal or you struggle to do it, take it as a sign you may need a bit more support.
 
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Hi everyone,

I am in my 3rd year of my doctoral program, and I work with kids and families. I made a dumb mistake and drove home after the bar. I hadn't had a drink since 11:30 and we left at 2:30 AM and I felt fine. I got pulled over after almost missing my exit and I blew .1 (only .02 over our legal limit here). After speaking to lawyers, I think I'm probably going to be charged with an Operating while visually impaired, which in michigan is a "lesser" alcohol related driving charge that will still go on my criminal record as a misdemeanor. I am currently licensed in michigan to practice psychology (LLP), and I will be applying for clinical internships in 2 years. I am so worried about what will happen with this charge on my record. Is it even worth me continuing in my program, if I won't be able to get an internship?

I am looking for any experience or advice with this from professionals in clinical psychology. I know it's a terrible thing to do, but I also know that many people have had DUIs. Has anyone had experience or known anyone with one DUI and how did that go with applying to internships/licensure in any states, not just michigan? What about getting jobs in the future? SOS
I had a "PI" my sophomore year of college (10 years before I applied for internship). Nothing like this should define you and your career, I agree, but the fact that this happened 1-2 year before your internship.....I would think could be an issue? Time is your friend this kind of stuff.
 
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Agree with the above. A single incident can be overcome, multiple red flags will get you passed over just about anywhere

Hopefully you have good mentors and or a DCT who can help you strategize. You need to thread a needle a bit in application materials between making appropriate disclosures, but not advertising it to the point it becomes the focal point of any discussions of you as a candidate.

Be very, very, very cautious from this point on and make sure you stand out in positive ways in at least 1-2 other areas of your application. If you have something that wows them (a 1st author paper in JCCP, a big grant, an impressive LOR from a rockstar in the field, incredibly extensive experience in clinic Y that developed treatment X) you are in better shape. Basically, when your application is being discussed you want to make sure they have something other than "They were the guy/gal with the DUI" to use as their reference point. So if you were coasting along before, the time has come to throw yourself into this.

That said, do take care of yourself. Get legal advice, but also do some soul searching. Now is a great time to voluntarily take a few months off from any drinking and if that seems like a big deal or you struggle to do it, take it as a sign you may need a bit more support.
Second this. This issue was discussed in determining whether an applicant got interviews (multiple tracks). One faculty member thought it was an isolated incident and gave them an interview. Another was unwilling to interview this applicant due to past experience with interns coming in with DUI(s) and later having drinking problems as interns. So it makes sense to work hard and apply widely when the time comes to make it a non-issue for internship, but it is also important to make sure it is a non-issue for your life.
 
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If its the only one, you could be ok. My best friend had 2 when he was younger, then a 3rd during our 3rd year of grad school. It was the kiss of death. Couldn't match. Then realized he likely wouldn't be able to be licensed. Spent 5 years and money and time and energy for nothing. I legit still feel for him.
 
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If its the only one, you could be ok. My best friend had 2 when he was younger, then a 3rd during our 3rd year of grad school. It was the kiss of death. Couldn't match. Then realized he likely wouldn't be able to be licensed. Spent 5 years and money and time and energy for nothing. I legit still feel for him.

I mean, I can give someone the benefit of the doubt for a mistake, but when that mistake is repeated, multiple times? That second one should have been a big wake-up call to get some more intensive help. Especially when you are planning on going into a career where that stuff really matters.
 
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scholasticgangsta

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Hi everyone,

I am in my 3rd year of my doctoral program, and I work with kids and families. I made a dumb mistake and drove home after the bar. I hadn't had a drink since 11:30 and we left at 2:30 AM and I felt fine. I got pulled over after almost missing my exit and I blew .1 (only .02 over our legal limit here). After speaking to lawyers, I think I'm probably going to be charged with an Operating while visually impaired, which in michigan is a "lesser" alcohol related driving charge that will still go on my criminal record as a misdemeanor. I am currently licensed in michigan to practice psychology (LLP), and I will be applying for clinical internships in 2 years. I am so worried about what will happen with this charge on my record. Is it even worth me continuing in my program, if I won't be able to get an internship?

I am looking for any experience or advice with this from professionals in clinical psychology. I know it's a terrible thing to do, but I also know that many people have had DUIs. Has anyone had experience or known anyone with one DUI and how did that go with applying to internships/licensure in any states, not just michigan? What about getting jobs in the future? SOS
Hello psychhhstudent22,

Nearly the same happened to me, but I was a few months away from ACTUALLY applying to internships when I got my DUI. I was not able to bargain a lesser charge as I blew .19 and was convicted with misdemeanor DUI in California. To add insult to injury, I had prior convictions as a teenager that were expunged, although will forever show up on a live-scan.

I realized that this mistake would seriously challenge my ability to get into a good internship and even get licensed. Due to how recent my DUI was, I decided to ONLY apply to internships that did not background check (very few but they are out there). This put me in an undesired place very far from where I wanted to be, but at this point I felt that I had no choice based on my mistake. The goal for me was to complete an APA accredited internship, graduate, and let as much time pass as possible before facing the board of psychology for licensure (and be on my best behavior of course).

I found a post doc in my area that also did not background check. After 2+ years post DUI, I finally had to disclose to the board my conviction for licensure. I made sure to be as detailed and honest as possible and explained the steps I had taken for rehabilitation. I was never questioned and I am now a fully licensed clinical psychologist!

Your situation seems less severe than mine. Don't let a mistake define the rest of your life. Make sure to never drink and drive again. Don't stress, you'll be fine.
 
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If its the only one, you could be ok. My best friend had 2 when he was younger, then a 3rd during our 3rd year of grad school. It was the kiss of death. Couldn't match. Then realized he likely wouldn't be able to be licensed. Spent 5 years and money and time and energy for nothing. I legit still feel for him.
Did they at least let him graduate with a non-clinical PhD or something like that?
 

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Individuals who are near to being licensed psychologists should probably have the maturity to realize that drunk drivin with Lindsey Lohan for funsies is not a good idea and could/should jeopardize the chances of being granted a doctorate in a field that comes with the reality that you have to be quite stable and grounded to do the work.

Despite the whole Marsha L thing (which everyone seems to clamor to in situations like this), we really should be more psychologically healthy than most of our patients. You had a PI or DUI 10 year before grad school? I think that can be overlooked. I'm not really into overlooking a DUI a year or 2 before the Ph.D. That seems very different to me?

Years ago, the Ph.D in a Clinical Psychology program was granted/labeled as a "Doctorate in Psychology (with a clinical concentration)." I don't think that's how it works anymore though...and especially not with the Psy.D. degree? So, I'm not sure @BuckeyeLove friend's program could do this even if they wanted to?
 
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Hello psychhhstudent22,

Nearly the same happened to me, but I was a few months away from ACTUALLY applying to internships when I got my DUI. I was not able to bargain a lesser charge as I blew .19 and was convicted with misdemeanor DUI in California. To add insult to injury, I had prior convictions as a teenager that were expunged, although will forever show up on a live-scan.

I realized that this mistake would seriously challenge my ability to get into a good internship and even get licensed. Due to how recent my DUI was, I decided to ONLY apply to internships that did not background check (very few but they are out there). This put me in an undesired place very far from where I wanted to be, but at this point I felt that I had no choice based on my mistake. The goal for me was to complete an APA accredited internship, graduate, and let as much time pass as possible before facing the board of psychology for licensure (and be on my best behavior of course).

I found a post doc in my area that also did not background check. After 2+ years post DUI, I finally had to disclose to the board my conviction for licensure. I made sure to be as detailed and honest as possible and explained the steps I had taken for rehabilitation. I was never questioned and I am now a fully licensed clinical psychologist!

Your situation seems less severe than mine. Don't let a mistake define the rest of your life. Make sure to never drink and drive again. Don't stress, you'll be fine.
Thank you so much for your response! It's super helpful to hear about someone's experience that was similar in the sense of getting the DUI during grad school, and you got your license! I am currently licensed at the master's level, so whenever I'm convicted, I will have to report it. What things did you do/report on regarding rehabilitation? any other recommendations for when I do report it? Did you have to report it to your program or any practicum sites during grad school?

Regarding background checks, I work with kids, so I doubt I'll be able to find a place that doesn't do background checks. I'm sure it will limit my options, but I'm hopeful that, if I work extra hard to make myself stand out and take this time to genuinely better myself, then I can discuss all of that with a potential internship site.
 
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Dude, you blew a .1? Get ****ing lawyer and it'll go down to reckless driving or something.
 
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Individuals who are near to being licensed psychologists should probably have the maturity to realize that drunk drivin with Lindsey Lohan for funsies is not a good idea and could/should jeopardize the chances of being granted a doctorate in a field that comes with the reality that you have to be quite stable and grounded to do the work.

Despite the whole Marsha L thing (which everyone seems to clamor to in situations like this), we really should be more psychologically healthy than most of our patients. You had a PI or DUI 10 year before grad school? I think that can be overlooked. I'm not really into overlooking a DUI a year or 2 before the Ph.D. That seems very different to me?

Years ago, the Ph.D in a Clinical Psychology program was granted/labeled as a "Doctorate in Psychology (with a clinical concentration)." I don't think that's how it works anymore though...and especially not with the Psy.D. degree? So, I'm not sure @BuckeyeLove friend's program could do this even if they wanted to?

Remember when Lindsay Lohan “dated” Bruce Willis in 2005 and said he had “old man skin”? And we all just went along with it?
 
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Years ago, the Ph.D in a Clinical Psychology program was granted/labeled as a "Doctorate in Psychology (with a clinical concentration)." I don't think that's how it works anymore though...and especially not with the Psy.D. degree? So, I'm not sure @BuckeyeLove friend's program could do this even if they wanted to?
I've seen at happen in departments that already offered a non-clinical/counseling/school psychology PhD program. Those people ended up doing very clinically-focused dissertations, too, and going into non-clinical faculty positions.
 
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Dude, you blew a .1? Get ****ing lawyer and it'll go down to reckless driving or something.
lol trust me i looked a lot into this. every lawyer ive spoken to so far said they're strict in michigan and the best ill probably get is operating while visible impaired which is a "lesser charge" but everyone knows its essentially the same thing. im hoping to still be able to get it reduced further
 
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lol trust me i looked a lot into this. every lawyer ive spoken to so far said they're strict in michigan and the best ill probably get is operating while visible impaired which is a "lesser charge" but everyone knows its essentially the same thing. im hoping to still be able to get it reduced further
Dude, having a lawyer isn't about whether you did it or how strict they'll be. They may also find procedural errors that can help leverage a plea or dismissal of charges. There might also be diversion programs out there. Trust me bro, it'll be the best 2-5k you've ever spent to retain a lawyer.
 
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Dude, having a lawyer isn't about whether you did it or how strict they'll be. They may also find procedural errors that can help leverage a plea or dismissal of charges. There might also be diversion programs out there. Trust me bro, it'll be the best 2-5k you've ever spent to retain a lawyer.
Oh I know, I'm still going to retain one. I'm hoping they can find something during the arrest that could get it dismissed or reduce my charges more. I've spoken to 4 or 5 now and they all said that the most likely outcome would be reduction to OWVI, like i said, and that careless or reckless driving is hard to get here i guess but im still going for it and being hopeful about that
 
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Hello psychhhstudent22,

Nearly the same happened to me, but I was a few months away from ACTUALLY applying to internships when I got my DUI. I was not able to bargain a lesser charge as I blew .19 and was convicted with misdemeanor DUI in California. To add insult to injury, I had prior convictions as a teenager that were expunged, although will forever show up on a live-scan.

I realized that this mistake would seriously challenge my ability to get into a good internship and even get licensed. Due to how recent my DUI was, I decided to ONLY apply to internships that did not background check (very few but they are out there). This put me in an undesired place very far from where I wanted to be, but at this point I felt that I had no choice based on my mistake. The goal for me was to complete an APA accredited internship, graduate, and let as much time pass as possible before facing the board of psychology for licensure (and be on my best behavior of course).

I found a post doc in my area that also did not background check. After 2+ years post DUI, I finally had to disclose to the board my conviction for licensure. I made sure to be as detailed and honest as possible and explained the steps I had taken for rehabilitation. I was never questioned and I am now a fully licensed clinical psychologist!

Your situation seems less severe than mine. Don't let a mistake define the rest of your life. Make sure to never drink and drive again. Don't stress, you'll be fine.
That sounds so stressful. How did you find which sites didn't conduct background checks? I was arrested for assault, but was never charged and my arrest was expunged (not in CA). It's been such a huge weight because I was 100% innocent and at the time was attempting to leave an abusive relationship (my ex lied to the police), but also how serious that charge sounds, especially in our field. I'm glad you were able to move forward with your life and find professional success :)
 
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As a psychologist, can you lose your license if charged with a DUI? Was under the impression an DUI could drastically impact/threaten your career.
 

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From non-personal experience, it seems to vary state by state.

The state I know most about (because the publish this stuff for the public) definitely knows when stuff like this happens and they review. What happens after that depends on the investigation. It is considered a potential violation of some state laws related to prof practice and ability to care for and not endanger the public.

I do know of people who continued to practice after a DUI. I can't remember what the sanctions/probation/consequences of the investigation were though.
 

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As a psychologist, can you lose your license if charged with a DUI? Was under the impression an DUI could drastically impact/threaten your career.

It's unlikely that the DUI itself causes the loss of license. What usually happens is the DUI creates evidence that there is a substance abuse problem (i.e., substance use is causing some problems in their life). The person goes on to renew their license and/or their malpractice insurance. Usually both of those renewals have some questions like, "Do you use substances in a way that impairs blah blah blah" and "have you been convicted of something more than a speeding ticket?". The professional checks "no", out of habit or denial. Then the board or insurance learns that the professional has a DUI. They get really mad and cite the professional for lying to them.

If you look at most state board, you can see who gets a fine and who gets their license revoked. Generally, boards revoke licenses for :

1) Sex with patients
2) Insurance fraud
3) Lying to the board

So it's really the lying that gets the license revoked.

Malpractice also tends to not want to take you on if you're a high risk. I don't know exactly how that works, because I think you can technically still work without malpractice insurance in some states.
 
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As a psychologist, can you lose your license if charged with a DUI? Was under the impression an DUI could drastically impact/threaten your career.
I know a person in my state for who first DUI led to suspension of licensing with stipulation for treatment, with subsequent reinstatement. Second DUI resulted in outright revocation. Person tried to get licensed in adjoining state, and his application was denied there. I do not know about related factors with this person, such as those that PsyDr alludes to above.

This was a very sad case where the underlying SA issues that led to the DUIs ruined this individuals career and- ultimately- led to his early death. DUI might not necessary be a career ender, but actions clearly have consequences.
 
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I know a person in my state for who first DUI led to suspension of licensing with stipulation for treatment, with subsequent reinstatement. Second DUI resulted in outright revocation. Person tried to get licensed in adjoining state, and his application was denied there. I do not know about related factors with this person, such as those that PsyDr alludes to above.

This was a very sad case where the underlying SA issues that led to the DUIs ruined this individuals career and- ultimately- led to his early death. DUI might not necessary be a career ender, but actions clearly have consequences.

This part does suck. As a profession having to walk that line between knowing that we are prone to the same things as the general population and wanting to reduce that stigma, but also having to clear a higher bar due to the fact that we are healthcare providers.
 
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You guys ever hear stories about SA in other healthcare professionals? Take with a grain of salt, but I've heard MULTIPLE stories about anesthesiologists and they never seem to get in too much trouble. Mostly hearsay but still. I do feel like we have a higher bar than some other healthcare professionals when it comes to stuff, for what it's worth. I feel like specializing in board complaints as a lawyer would have the potential to be both an interesting and lucrative career. Especially if you're also a psychologist.
 

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You guys ever hear stories about SA in other healthcare professionals? Take with a grain of salt, but I've heard MULTIPLE stories about anesthesiologists and they never seem to get in too much trouble. Mostly hearsay but still. I do feel like we have a higher bar than some other healthcare professionals when it comes to stuff, for what it's worth. I feel like specializing in board complaints as a lawyer would have the potential to be both an interesting and lucrative career. Especially if you're also a psychologist.

I have learned that nurses love their booze. And their licensing boards do not.
 
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Have you talked with your Department and DCT yet? This may not be a common issue, but applying with a DUI on your record won't be an uncommon one either. I think your best bet is to not only keep your record clean moving forward, but to also make your DCT your new best friend. Remember, they are also invested in helping you navigate this. And the sooner you loop them in the better, even if you can get the charge reduced. Good luck, but also know, there are people who match with a red flag on their app. The key, I think is to be flexible with where you apply and also to have no more than one red flag.
 
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You guys ever hear stories about SA in other healthcare professionals? Take with a grain of salt, but I've heard MULTIPLE stories about anesthesiologists and they never seem to get in too much trouble. Mostly hearsay but still. I do feel like we have a higher bar than some other healthcare professionals when it comes to stuff, for what it's worth. I feel like specializing in board complaints as a lawyer would have the potential to be both an interesting and lucrative career. Especially if you're also a psychologist.
This is definitely an issue in medicine! You hear horror stories about "Physician Health Programs" (PHPs) and them requiring everyone to go to specific 30-day or more in-patient rehabs that the PHP possibly get kickbacks from, but it's that or loose their license.
 
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I have learned that nurses love their booze. And their licensing boards do not.
Anecdotally, I've had several private practice evaluations for nurses who had their licenses revoked after one DUI. A recent one was a 22-year-old who had just obtained her RN about 3 weeks prior, and blew a .08. Immediate revocation - she's been trying to get it back for years now. They are ruthless. The Medical Board has a reputation of going to bat for / protecting their their members (maybe even well past when they should), but many of the other healthcare professional boards (Psych included), are practically cannibalistic in their practices. Nursing seems to be on the very extreme end.
 
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Anecdotally, I've had several private practice evaluations for nurses who had their licenses revoked after one DUI. A recent one was a 22-year-old who had just obtained her RN about 3 weeks prior, and blew a .08. Immediate revocation - she's been trying to get it back for years now. They are ruthless. The Medical Board has a reputation of going to bat for / protecting their their members (maybe even well past when they should), but many of the other healthcare professional boards (Psych included), are practically cannibalistic in their practices. Nursing seems to be on the very extreme end.

What are your thoughts on why this is? (Ie med docs get more leeway/protection) I've seen it too.
 

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My husband is a prosecutor. Early in the pandemic, he had a case where a nurse got arrested for DUI and in the video of the arrest, the visibly drunk nurse said, "I'm an emergency room nurse and I'm excited for you to end up in my emergency room with COVID. I will make sure you don't get care." to the cop arresting her. The cop brought her in and then reported her to the nursing board.
 

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What are your thoughts on why this is? (Ie med docs get more leeway/protection) I've seen it too.
One wildly speculative guess is that this is reflective of the privilege of medicine being at the top of the food chain. They aren’t in the position to try and carve out a stake in another field’s territory. While they do have to defend from mid-level encroachment, there is no reasonable argument that they aren’t at the top. Nursing in particular is in a position of trying to push further and further into the territory of medicine, and I think maybe in the process they’ve adopted a culture of zero tolerance toward any member behavior that they think makes them look bad. Cause from a practicality standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. There’s a severe nursing shortage. Are we really going to pretend that a 22yo making a single dumb mistake (in an area with no mass transit, where DUIs are far more common) is truly indicative of her being some menace to society who cannot be trusted, even years later? It’s a scrappy, dog eat dog culture that I think is characteristic not of nursing or psychology specifically, but underdog group power dynamics in general.
 
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Thank you so much for your response! It's super helpful to hear about someone's experience that was similar in the sense of getting the DUI during grad school, and you got your license! I am currently licensed at the master's level, so whenever I'm convicted, I will have to report it. What things did you do/report on regarding rehabilitation? any other recommendations for when I do report it? Did you have to report it to your program or any practicum sites during grad school?

Regarding background checks, I work with kids, so I doubt I'll be able to find a place that doesn't do background checks. I'm sure it will limit my options, but I'm hopeful that, if I work extra hard to make myself stand out and take this time to genuinely better myself, then I can discuss all of that with a potential internship site.

Re: What things did you do/report on regarding rehabilitation?

Here in CA, first time offenders are required to complete a 3-month DUI program that includes weekly didactic classes regarding alcohol, weekly group therapy, attending AA meetings, and participating in a MAD event. I provided the board with a description of the program and my certification of completion. I also reported to the board that I become active within the AA community. I was also seeing a therapist and working on myself.

Any other recommendations for when I do report it?

I was asked to submit a letter describing what happened that led to my DUI arrest. I was as honest as possible and provided an explanation of the stressors that I believe looking back led to the poor decision of driving under the influence. At the time I found out my wife was cheating which coupled with other stressors, led to poor decisions at that moment. I wanted to let the board of psych know that I had insight as to what the precipitating circumstances where that led to the DUI, and I also explained the steps I would take if I was in a similar situation in the future (to reflect growth).

Did you report it to your program or any practicum sites during grad school?

I felt that reporting it to anyone, including the program or practicum that I was currently in, was unnecessary unless they would be background checking me. I reported it to absolutely no one lol my own psyche was punishment enough.

Also, last time I checked, according to APPIC rules, internship sites cannot background check you unless they explicitly state that they will be doing so prior to you applying. I'm looking at the APPIC site now and it seems that rules have been revised as of December 2020, so I'm not sure if this is still policy.

Background checks:

My internship was an APA Accredited internship almost exclusively working with kids doing play therapy mostly. I might have found the only one in the US that was child focused and didn't background check! lol
 

scholasticgangsta

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That sounds so stressful. How did you find which sites didn't conduct background checks? I was arrested for assault, but was never charged and my arrest was expunged (not in CA). It's been such a huge weight because I was 100% innocent and at the time was attempting to leave an abusive relationship (my ex lied to the police), but also how serious that charge sounds, especially in our field. I'm glad you were able to move forward with your life and find professional success :)

Like I stated above, "Also, last time I checked, according to APPIC rules, internship sites cannot background check you unless they explicitly state that they will be doing so prior to you applying. I'm looking at the APPIC site now and it seems that rules have been revised as of December 2020, so I'm not sure if this is still policy."

I appreciate your comment! Also, I'm glad you were able to expunge it! I agree with an earlier comment that we should all be healthier than our patients but sometimes life gets us into a bit of trouble lol it's how we move forward and rectify our mistakes and learn from them that counts.
 

PsychScience

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Did you report it to your program or any practicum sites during grad school?

I felt that reporting it to anyone, including the program or practicum that I was currently in, was unnecessary unless they would be background checking me. I reported it to absolutely no one lol my own psyche was punishment enough.

Also, last time I checked, according to APPIC rules, internship sites cannot background check you unless they explicitly state that they will be doing so prior to you applying. I'm looking at the APPIC site now and it seems that rules have been revised as of December 2020, so I'm not sure if this is still policy.

Background checks:

My internship was an APA Accredited internship almost exclusively working with kids doing play therapy mostly. I might have found the only one in the US that was child focused and didn't background check! lol
Yes, I believe the APPIC rules still state that sites should disclose any requirements (like background checks or health/drug screening) prior to applicants having to submit ranks. I believe this is done to minimize the chances of you matching some place without meeting the qualifications. That's a disaster for both site and applicant. That being said. Doesn't the AAPI ask about convictions. How did you handle that question?

For the OP. Additional things to think of. If you want to work with children, but are trying to avoid a background check, practically speaking, this is going to rule out entire states as options. There are some states, like Wisconsin, where working in any kind of school, child care, or hospital by default requires a background check. I am in pediatric psych, and I seriously can not think of a single place in our some what large metro region that doesn't require a background check at the internship or externship level. Speaking of externship. Even if you don't disclose to your current site, it is possible this will be an issue for your next practicum. Practicum's don't need to disclose, like APPIC programs, that they require a background check.

Last thought for determining how you proceed. You may also want to double check your program handbook. There may already even be a policy around these issues. If you are convicted, and you hide this from your department, you are risking adding a second red flag to your app. The DUI alone isn't going to prevent you from getting licensed. Hiding it after the fact might.
 
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ClinicalABA

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For the OP. Additional things to think of. If you want to work with children, but are trying to avoid a background check, practically speaking, this is going to rule out entire states as options.
I've never worked in any child related facility or program where I haven't had to undergo regular criminal records checks (in several different states). A DUI might not disqualify you from the job, but it will show up so don't try to hide it. Many positions I've had also required passing a driving history record check. For example, I've had jobs that required driving between different clinic or program sites. Because this happens during and as a required part of the job, local regulations may require that you be somewhat covered under the company insurance. Recent DUI could be a disqualifier there.
 
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I've never worked in any child related facility or program where I haven't had to undergo regular criminal records checks (in several different states). A DUI might not disqualify you from the job, but it will show up so don't try to hide it. Many positions I've had also required passing a driving history record check. For example, I've had jobs that required driving between different clinic or program sites. Because this happens during and as a required part of the job, local regulations may require that you be somewhat covered under the company insurance. Recent DUI could be a disqualifier there.
I think it's really hard to get a fingerprint clearance card with a dewy on record.
 

scholasticgangsta

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Yes, I believe the APPIC rules still state that sites should disclose any requirements (like background checks or health/drug screening) prior to applicants having to submit ranks. I believe this is done to minimize the chances of you matching some place without meeting the qualifications. That's a disaster for both site and applicant. That being said. Doesn't the AAPI ask about convictions. How did you handle that question?

For the OP. Additional things to think of. If you want to work with children, but are trying to avoid a background check, practically speaking, this is going to rule out entire states as options. There are some states, like Wisconsin, where working in any kind of school, child care, or hospital by default requires a background check. I am in pediatric psych, and I seriously can not think of a single place in our some what large metro region that doesn't require a background check at the internship or externship level. Speaking of externship. Even if you don't disclose to your current site, it is possible this will be an issue for your next practicum. Practicum's don't need to disclose, like APPIC programs, that they require a background check.

Last thought for determining how you proceed. You may also want to double check your program handbook. There may already even be a policy around these issues. If you are convicted, and you hide this from your department, you are risking adding a second red flag to your app. The DUI alone isn't going to prevent you from getting licensed. Hiding it after the fact might.

I did not disclose it on the APPI when asked. As I only applied to sites that did not background check, why disclose on the APPI?

I'm not condoning anyone to lie. I am just providing my input, what I chose to do and why, and how it worked out for me. Others should think carefully about how to proceed in a similar situation and consider the pros and cons of any decision.
 

wocrunthis

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I'd also consider what the details suggest... leaving a bar at 2:30am in Michigan in the dead of Winter... one might assume you were indoors with no mask on, drinking, during a pandemic. People have strong feelings about that alone.
 
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Have you talked with your Department and DCT yet? This may not be a common issue, but applying with a DUI on your record won't be an uncommon one either. I think your best bet is to not only keep your record clean moving forward, but to also make your DCT your new best friend. Remember, they are also invested in helping you navigate this. And the sooner you loop them in the better, even if you can get the charge reduced. Good luck, but also know, there are people who match with a red flag on their app. The key, I think is to be flexible with where you apply and also to have no more than one red flag.
Thank you. I have not talked to my program yet... I'm terrified to, but I know its inevitable. I am thinking of disclosing to the DCT first and going from there.
 

WisNeuro

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Thank you. I have not talked to my program yet... I'm terrified to, but I know its inevitable. I am thinking of disclosing to the DCT first and going from there.

I would suggest a talk with the DCT sooner, rather than later. The earlier the better when it comes to damage control.
 
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