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brianfromhawaii

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When I was younger (18 years old) I was charged with a felony for attempted promotion of a harmful drug. I hired the best lawyer I could get, and since the evidence against me was weak (I really hadn't done anything wrong) I was offered a deferred sentence with 5 years of probation. During that time, I did not even get pulled over once.

I live in the state of Hawaii (obviously from the username) and I am wanting to apply for medical school. I was always under the impression that because I completed the terms, the state dropped the charges, and I got my record expunged it was done and over with like it never happened.

I am very passionate about medicine and do really well in college, however I am now afraid that applying to medical school will be futile as I may never be able to get my DEA license?

Does anyone have any experience in this matter? I have a friend who swears his friend has a cocaine felony still on his record, but I find that hard to believe.

Any advice would be much appreciated, or any direction I could turn to for more advice

Brian
 

xffan624

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When I was younger (18 years old) I was charged with a felony for attempted promotion of a harmful drug. I hired the best lawyer I could get, and since the evidence against me was weak (I really hadn't done anything wrong) I was offered a deferred sentence with 5 years of probation. During that time, I did not even get pulled over once.

I live in the state of Hawaii (obviously from the username) and I am wanting to apply for medical school. I was always under the impression that because I completed the terms, the state dropped the charges, and I got my record expunged it was done and over with like it never happened.

I am very passionate about medicine and do really well in college, however I am now afraid that applying to medical school will be futile as I may never be able to get my DEA license?

Does anyone have any experience in this matter? I have a friend who swears his friend has a cocaine felony still on his record, but I find that hard to believe.

Any advice would be much appreciated, or any direction I could turn to for more advice

Brian

Talk to a lawyer. SDN cannot really help you here...
 

Mr Roboto

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Run a background check on yourself. If it's there, talk to a lawyer.

When I was younger (18 years old) I was charged with a felony for attempted promotion of a harmful drug. I hired the best lawyer I could get, and since the evidence against me was weak (I really hadn't done anything wrong) I was offered a deferred sentence with 5 years of probation. During that time, I did not even get pulled over once.

I live in the state of Hawaii (obviously from the username) and I am wanting to apply for medical school. I was always under the impression that because I completed the terms, the state dropped the charges, and I got my record expunged it was done and over with like it never happened.

I am very passionate about medicine and do really well in college, however I am now afraid that applying to medical school will be futile as I may never be able to get my DEA license?

Does anyone have any experience in this matter? I have a friend who swears his friend has a cocaine felony still on his record, but I find that hard to believe.

Any advice would be much appreciated, or any direction I could turn to for more advice

Brian
 

brianfromhawaii

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Spoke with two lawyers already, they pretty much said they don't know know the answer I am looking for.

I was hoping to find other success stories here, or at least a path I could follow to find the answers I need
 
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Spoke with two lawyers already, they pretty much said they don't know know the answer I am looking for.

I was hoping to find other success stories here, or at least a path I could follow to find the answers I need
No. Look for better lawyers, please.
 
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Conflagration

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Spoke with two lawyers already, they pretty much said they don't know know the answer I am looking for.

I was hoping to find other success stories here, or at least a path I could follow to find the answers I need

The DA in the jurisdiction should be able to clarify what's going on; hell, you may be able to check on it with the court clerk.

Did those lawyers charge you? If they did, that sucks, dude.
 

brianfromhawaii

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I am asking if I should report the deferred sentence, yes. I am also asking if I can get into med school + get DEA license for having an expunged charge.

I was never a drug dealer - someone mailed drugs to my place and when I was asked if I knew about it I told the truth, I knew the drugs were coming and I had told them NOT to send anything to my address. The judge herself said the case was weak and they were surprised I was ever indited, which is why they offered me such a good deal.
 

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(And as a side note, people get put into those diversionary programs because they are young and have no prior offenses, not because the evidence was too weak to get a solid conviction, but that's beside the point).

Not always. Sometimes it's just a way to settle things when getting a conviction looks unlikely, and an innocent person agrees to the deal because s/he can't afford the expense of a trial.

I am asking if I should report the deferred sentence, yes. I am also asking if I can get into med school + get DEA license for having an expunged charge.

I was never a drug dealer - someone mailed drugs to my place and when I was asked if I knew about it I told the truth, I knew the drugs were coming and I had told them NOT to send anything to my address. The judge herself said the case was weak and they were surprised I was ever indited, which is why they offered me such a good deal.

And as you now see, it really wasn't such a good deal after all...
For the medical school portion, FAR better safe than sorry. I would disclose the charge, the dismissal and expungement, and explain what happened. Then cross your fingers.
For the Licensing / DEA portion, you need some solid answers. I don't know if you'll be able to get those yourself, or if a lawyer will have better luck, but those are vitally important questions that you need to have 'officially' answered. The answer to that question may lie in the specifics of your diversion deal. You may have had to plead 'no contest' or even 'guilty' to qualify for the diversion deal, and that distinction could be very important.

Good luck to you --
 

brianfromhawaii

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Not always. Sometimes it's just a way to settle things when getting a conviction looks unlikely, and an innocent person agrees to the deal because s/he can't afford the expense of a trial.



And as you now see, it really wasn't such a good deal after all...
For the medical school portion, FAR better safe than sorry. I would disclose the charge, the dismissal and expungement, and explain what happened. Then cross your fingers.
For the Licensing / DEA portion, you need some solid answers. I don't know if you'll be able to get those yourself, or if a lawyer will have better luck, but those are vitally important questions that you need to have 'officially' answered. The answer to that question may lie in the specifics of your diversion deal. You may have had to plead 'no contest' or even 'guilty' to qualify for the diversion deal, and that distinction could be very important.

Good luck to you --

This is correct - my attorney told me he was 100% certain I would get off if we went to trial, but it was another $15,000.... I couldn't afford it. It took all my savings, I had to borrow money from friends and family.... it killed me. My diversion deal was I plead no contest to a third degree felony, did not spend a day in prison, had $1500 in fines (or so) and 5 years probation. The probation officer knew I was innocent and did not even drug test me one time.

I am a good person, a contributing member to society, and would make a great doctor; many doctors have told me this, and two of them offered to pay for my schooling.

(1) Can you get in if you report it? No idea. Have to imagine not too many applicants have felony drug convictions, so a little hard to draw off experience in answering that. Intuitively it seems like your age and the expungement help you, but you've probably already thought of that. I know people with misdemeanors (assault, MIP, drunk and disorderly, etc), but no felonies.

(2) Should you report it? Presumably it's not in your background check, or you wouldn't even be asking. Again, no idea. But recognize that you'll have to struggle with this issue far beyond med school and a DEA license (honestly, I don't even recall if criminal issues were on my DEA application). The bigger issue will be your medical licensure. Every year they will ask that question, and while you may be able to get away with answering "no", any dishonest answer (however innocuous) is grounds for immediate suspension by the board. That's probably the higher-risk part of it.


A couple of suggestions you might consider:

(1) Make a call (without using your name) to the Hawaii State Board of Medicine, ask for guidance on whether you would have to report the prior court issues on a licensure application.

(2) I'll PM you another thought.

Isnt that the point of deferral? No conviction? The fact that I am older, get good grades, do a lot of volunteer work, and have recommendations from a few doctors I believe definitely help. I also own an IT firm, and I know they are wanting more doctors that have technology skills.

I am deathly afraid of spending more time working my butt off getting top grades to only be rejected from medical school, or if I get in, I may not even be able to get my DEA license.

I am at a turning point in my educational career, and have to make the right choice. I just called another law firm and they are going to get back with me, in the mean time the state offices are all closed today.

Thank you all for spending the time to write back to me.
 

brianfromhawaii

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I found the application to be a physician.... I think this is the right one. http://hawaii.gov/dcca/pvl/boards/medical/application_publication "Physician - Limited and Temporary License"

11) During the past twenty years, have you been convicted of a crime in which the conviction has not been annulled or expunged? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 

brianfromhawaii

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On the DEA form 224 "Has the applicant ever been convicted of a crime in connection with controlled substance(s) under state or federal law?"
 
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brianfromhawaii

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I just got off the phone with my lawyer, he told me that if something is expunged, that means it was erased from your criminal record... if I went to the courthouse and pulled my criminal record it would not show a thing. He even said back in the day, they used to give you back your finger prints and mug shots, its like it never happened in the eyes of the law, and he said that if I found any application that asked about anything that was expunged, to show it to me because he would love to sue the **** out of the government.
 
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gyngyn

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I just got off the phone with my lawyer, he told me that if something is expunged, that means it was erased from your criminal record... if I went to the courthouse and pulled my criminal record it would not show a thing. He even said back in the day, they used to give you back your finger prints and mug shots, its like it never happened in the eyes of the law, and he said that if I found any application that asked about anything that was expunged, to show it to me because he would love to sue the **** out of the government.
Government hospitals (state, county and federal) have access to criminal records including juvenile and "expunged" records. If a school using one of these hospitals asks if you have been charged with a crime and you do not report it, it will become awkward when you cannot get a badge at said hospital. If the contract you sign as a student includes the ability to be educated at this hospital you may be let go within the law.
 
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brianfromhawaii

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What is my solution here? Report that I was charged and that charges were dropped? Because that is exactly what happened.
 

brianfromhawaii

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Do you think I should pursue trying to get into med school, based on the information I have provided?
 

brianfromhawaii

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My lawyer said after the paperwork is filed, it will not show on my record. I am not concerned about the record, I am concerned about what gyngyn said about hospitals having access to expunged records.
 
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Goro

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The key thing is: can OP afford the chance of keeping this quiet?

I'd be curious to know about these special background checks. I have gone through checks for med school, licensure, military commissioning, and Secret clearance. All background checks have been the same. If there's something else out there, I'd love to know about it.
 

Goro

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I would if s/he had years of exemplary behavior, especially in positions of responsibility. I was pretty stupid was I was 18.

I suggest that OP be honest about this and try an app cycle, warts and all.

If this were me (and thankfully it's not), I think my assumption would be that if it shows up on a background check, I wouldn't be able to get into med school. So the question of whether anyone could find out about it would be of utmost importance. Now maybe that assumption is wrong, but you could probably say better than me. Would you take an guy with a solid application who had an expunged record of drug distribution?
 

DokterMom

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From your description of events, your behavior honestly doesn't sound that culpable, though the charge is onerous-sounding. I would suggest disclosing it on your secondary application, even if there's plausible 'wiggle room' for answering 'no' and being 'technically' honest. It sounds like there will not be enough of a written record to dispute your account of events, so I'd opt for a write-up that discloses exactly what you did that was wrong and how much you have learned from this process. How even the appearance of wrong-doing can have tragic consequences, the very high price of being accused, your pristine record post-charge, etc.
 

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Provided things might be different when it comes to secondaries, must he disclose it if AMCAS says he doesn't have to?
(https://www.aamc.org/students/download/182162/data/amcas_instruction_manual.pdf):

Felony
You must answer this question in the application: Have you ever been convicted of, or
pleaded guilty or no contest to, a Felony crime, excluding 1) any offense for which you we
adjudicated as a juvenile or 2) convictions which have been expunged or sealed by a court
(in states where applicable)
?

*****EDIT: OP, secondaries are where things get fuzzy. The question will probably sound like 'have you ever pled guilty or nolo contendere.' So even though your case did get dismissed, you did make a plea at some point. If you receive a secondary question with wording to that effect, I'd discuss this again with your lawyer.
 
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gyngyn

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If this were me (and thankfully it's not), I think my assumption would be that if it shows up on a background check, I wouldn't be able to get into med school. So the question of whether anyone could find out about it would be of utmost importance. Now maybe that assumption is wrong, but you could probably say better than me. Would you take an guy with a solid application who had an expunged record of drug distribution?
A single brush with the legal system (esp marijuana or ETOH) as a youth, is usually not a problem in an otherwise good application. Not being forthcoming with secondary questions: problem.
 
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Goro

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The wording suggests that OP doesn't need to answer.

Provided things might be different when it comes to secondaries, must he disclose it if AMCAS says he doesn't have to?
(https://www.aamc.org/students/download/182162/data/amcas_instruction_manual.pdf):

Felony
You must answer this question in the application: Have you ever been convicted of, or
pleaded guilty or no contest to, a Felony crime, excluding 1) any offense for which you we
adjudicated as a juvenile or 2) convictions which have been expunged or sealed by a court
(in states where applicable)
?
 

brianfromhawaii

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What are these secondaries you guys are talking about? I am still very new to all of this. I was never charged with distribution, it just sounds that way. Promotion doesn't mean distribution.
 

brianfromhawaii

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From your description of events, your behavior honestly doesn't sound that culpable, though the charge is onerous-sounding. I would suggest disclosing it on your secondary application, even if there's plausible 'wiggle room' for answering 'no' and being 'technically' honest. It sounds like there will not be enough of a written record to dispute your account of events, so I'd opt for a write-up that discloses exactly what you did that was wrong and how much you have learned from this process. How even the appearance of wrong-doing can have tragic consequences, the very high price of being accused, your pristine record post-charge, etc.

If it specifically tells me not to list expunged charges, why would I want to list them? To prove that I cannot follow instructions? I haven't even had a speeding ticket in the past 8 years! I made the mistake of talking to the police, simple as that :(

There was very weak evidence against me, and that's why they offered me the amazing deal that I was offered. My probation officer saw me once every 6 months and never drug tested me, he knew that I was a good person.

My biggest dilemma here is do I want to push super hard to get into medical school, only to get denied, or maybe denied my DEA license, state practitioners license, or state narcotics license? Also, in any other state, this charge would have been a misdemeanor.
 

brianfromhawaii

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Provided things might be different when it comes to secondaries, must he disclose it if AMCAS says he doesn't have to?
(https://www.aamc.org/students/download/182162/data/amcas_instruction_manual.pdf):

Felony
You must answer this question in the application: Have you ever been convicted of, or
pleaded guilty or no contest to, a Felony crime, excluding 1) any offense for which you we
adjudicated as a juvenile or 2) convictions which have been expunged or sealed by a court
(in states where applicable)
?

*****EDIT: OP, secondaries are where things get fuzzy. The question will probably sound like 'have you ever pled guilty or nolo contendere.' So even though your case did get dismissed, you did make a plea at some point. If you receive a secondary question with wording to that effect, I'd discuss this again with your lawyer.


Showed this to my attorney. He said not only have I never been convicted of a felony (only charged) my expunging my record, he shows my charge goes away.
 
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gyngyn

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Showed this to my attorney. He said not only have I never been convicted of a felony (only charged) my expunging my record, he shows my charge goes away.
If you are asked in a secondary if you have been charged with a crime what will you answer? This is where the rubber hits the road.
 
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brianfromhawaii

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If you are asked in a secondary if you have been charged with a crime what will you answer? This is where the rubber hits the road.

What is secondary? Is it like a secondary interview? By law, in the state of Hawaii, I was never charged with a crime. In fact, by law, the expungment will even erase my arrest record.
 

gyngyn

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What is secondary? Is it like a secondary interview? By law, in the state of Hawaii, I was never charged with a crime. In fact, by law, the expungment will even erase my arrest record.
In other states the definition of "charged" may be different.
A secondary is the application component from an individual school. As I have noted, schools with a government hospital affiliation may require as a condition of acceptance that you be capable of being trained in that hospital. These hospitals have access to juvenile and "expunged records. The combined problems of potentially not getting a badge and not fully disclosing could put you in legal limbo (at best).
 
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brianfromhawaii

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True - like in some states if you are charged with a felony, even if you get it expunged, you still arent allowed to own a gun, or vote, but in Hawaii, the law is pretty clear... I would assume that since the crime was in Hawaii, Hawaii law would apply. I am going to be spending some more money on it.

What exactly is "secondary" sorry, I am not getting it.
 

gyngyn

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True - like in some states if you are charged with a felony, even if you get it expunged, you still arent allowed to own a gun, or vote, but in Hawaii, the law is pretty clear... I would assume that since the crime was in Hawaii, Hawaii law would apply. I am going to be spending some more money on it.

What exactly is "secondary" sorry, I am not getting it.
The laws in the state where you apply (if accepted) are going to prevail.
See my edit above re secondaries.
 

brianfromhawaii

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I just got off the phone with an anesthesiologist friend and he told me that if the record is expunged, the record is expunged as far as medical schools and hospitals are concerned. He was like you have no idea how many of my peers have been charged with crimes, then had them expunged in order to renew their DEA license and get hospital privileges back.

One of the better lawyers in the state also told me this evening that if I was denied because of something expunged, or if anyone even mentioned something about something being expunged, I wouldnt need to work another day in my life as he has already won a law suit with something related, which is why those applications are so specific about NOT listing expunged crimes... I sure hope this works out. I am years away from this, but I am going to get my ducks in a row now.
 

brianfromhawaii

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I really appreciate the support I have gotten from all of you. I am a very loving and giving person (part of the reason I want to become a doctor and forgo my computer related career)

If any of you are ever in Hawaii, please message me, I am serious, I would love to show you around the island.
 

Goro

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Your primary application is via AAMCAS. Secondaries are the second set of applications you get from specific schools, providing you make the cut and aren't pre-screened out (for example, for having a GPA below the mandatory minimum for that school).

Secondary apps will ask things like "Why our school?" What are some of you biggest disappointments? What has been the biggest challenge you've faced" "is there anything else that's not in your app that you'd like to tell us?" "how will you add diversity to our Class?" and, specifically for you, something like "Have you ever been arrested?" Have you ever been convicted" if so, please explain?" ...stuff like that.

Note that the prompt may not care about expunged records.

So, Brian, the thing will be the wording on secondaries. You might want to ask in the U HI thread what specifically is asked in J Burns' secondaries.

What exactly is "promotion of a harmful drug"? Extolling the virtues of Laetrile?

True - like in some states if you are charged with a felony, even if you get it expunged, you still arent allowed to own a gun, or vote, but in Hawaii, the law is pretty clear... I would assume that since the crime was in Hawaii, Hawaii law would apply. I am going to be spending some more money on it.

What exactly is "secondary" sorry, I am not getting it.
 
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brianfromhawaii

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What do you mean that note that the prompt may not care about expunged records? As in, do not mention it? Mention it and they probably wont care, or they wont care that it was expunged and drop the hammer?

Promotion of a harmful drug is possession of a certain type. It does not mean intent to distribute, just different level of "screwed"

One attorney I just got off the phone with told me that my criminal record right now shows that I was arrested, but never charged, catch and release sort of thing. After I get it expunged (few months) he said my record will be totally clean.

He went on to say that sometimes federal agencies do not honor state level deferrals, particularly immigration. I hope this will not be an issue, I wish there was someone I could contact about this.
 

ciestar

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My younger sister's "expunged" juvenile drug possession charge showed up on a federal background check when she was looking at enlisting in the army. She was told the same thing...

It may show up on the federal level, even if it's expunged. The FBI can find out anything.
 

brianfromhawaii

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My younger sister's "expunged" juvenile drug possession charge showed up on a federal background check when she was looking at enlisting in the army. She was told the same thing...

It may show up on the federal level, even if it's expunged. The FBI can find out anything.

Did it prevent her from enlisting into the army though? Or did they just mention it to be bullies?
 

ciestar

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Which is standard. In the thick of the war, Army was giving some drug waivers, but that has all stopped now.

Even so, it still showed up on her record. She was convicted when she was 16 years old, it still was there. Nothing ever 100% goes away. (Which is what I was trying to say :p)
 
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brianfromhawaii

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I called my buddy who was a recruiter for the US Army, he said that with how many active members of the military they have, they can be pretty choosey.

Does anyone have any input on if the DEA will honor the state level deferral and expungement?
 

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Ciestar, you are correct. Nothing ever truly does go away. But by the time I will be applying for my DEA license, 12 years will have passed since I was arrested.... and I intend to continue to be a good boy, and contributing member of society.
 

ciestar

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That wasn't my point...
I could care less whether or not she was rejected from the army. The simple point was that it was a juvenile record that showed up on a background check as an adult. Granted, for her, it wasn't as great an amount of time, only about 3-4 years. Circumstances change over time.
 
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ciestar

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Well, I'm not sure exactly how the DEA would treat that, but from what I know from the pharmacy side of it, that pharmacies are required to follow the stricter law (be it state or federal). Completely unrelated, but I'm sitting here with a fever and coming up with dumb examples.

But seeing as the DEA is a federal agency, they'll be able to see your records. What they'll see is speculation.
 
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