Apr 16, 2020
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Hello all,

I am currently a MS-2 (DO) who wants to apply to Internal Medicine or Neurology. My academic average is 90+ (while doing step 1/ COMLEX prep) and I should be able to get to a 240+ on Step One. My did a summer research elective that will give me 2 oral presentations; one local, one national; I still have time to obtain more research. I am also a tutor and have a e-board position.

Here are my red flags:
I have to disclose 2 prior arrests (October 2015 + April 2017) when it comes to my ERAS app (Both are marijuana possession charges). These happens 7-6 years from when I will apply to residency. Both charges were dismissed (so no conviction). I will probably disclose this on ERAS. I no longer use pot and I realize that continued use will destroy my career/future.

My question: I want to get a feeling on how realistic it is to match IM or Nuero? OR Should I just be focusing on FM? Could I potentially explore more competitive specialties?

Please note I am well aware that this matter should be discussed with school advisers and that information on this forum needs to be taken with a grain of salt (not to imply your input is or meaningless unappreciated). I want to collect as much input as possible for informed decision, this post a small piece of that process.
 

BacktotheBasics

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You haven't really given us any important data (board scores, clinical performance) so its hard to say but assuming you score 240 on Step 1 like you project and therefore around 250 on Step 2 CK, and then get Honors/HP in IM and/or Neuro (which puts up there among even good DO applicants) and have no further run ins with the law, I think IM/Neuro are realistic if you apply broadly. Also, its hard to say without someone with actual experience in recruitment weighing in.

Talk to a lawyer first, then your advisors about how to disclose this on your ERAS applications to make sure everything you're doing is in your best interest. I remember the terminology on the residency application being pretty technical so it may be good to have a legal counsel on how to word it to remain truthful while framing it in the best way possible.
 
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Apr 16, 2020
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Yeah legally I don't have to say anything. I did talk to lawyer about it. However, after the match they will run a background check on me and it will come up. I have not spoken to match advisors about this and it's certainly on my to-do list.

You are correct, there is very little data to go off. I guess I should frame it as: I have two arrest (but not convictions) for simple marijuana possession and it's hard for me to gauge what doors are open/closed.
 
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BacktotheBasics

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Yeah legally I don't have to say anything. I did talk to lawyer about it. However, after the match they will run a background check on me and it will come up. I have not spoken to match advisors about this and it's certainly on my to-do list.

You are correct, there is very little data to go off. I guess I should frame it as: I have two arrest (but not convictions) for simple marijuana possession and it's hard for me to gauge what doors are open/closed.

Don't be stressed out about this. It won't help things. Apply to IM/Neuro regardless and you can always apply to FM as well. I would say that given that you were accepted into medical school it would be reasonable to assume that applying to a primary care field (IM) would not be out of the question. Good DO students routinely match ACGME IM. There are also many programs.
 
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enhance

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Wish you the best but I think it’s a sad state that 2 arrests with dismissed charges (and no lesser charge?) can hurt you. I mean, what happened to innocent until proven guilty and all that. Talk to a lawyer, your best option may be focusing on the right programs in the right locale. Good luck and if you actually were guilty stay off the drugs.
 
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Wish you the best but I think it’s a sad state that 2 arrests with dismissed charges (and no lesser charge?) can hurt you. I mean, what happened to innocent until proven guilty and all that. Talk to a lawyer, your best option may be focusing on the right programs in the right locale. Good luck and if you actually were guilty stay off the drugs.
Thanks man! I'm sure some of these PD's will see it that way. It is what it is as this point.
 
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If you do match and I expect for you to match if you get those project scores, you're going to be one of those special residents who will get a UA every month for drug.
 

mistafab

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Two non-violent arrests without conviction that pre-date med school, with a clean record since then, would not cause me to bat an eye on your app.
 
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Domepiece

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The verbiage of the question on ERAS asks if you have been convicted of a crime. If the information you have provided is correct, you have not been convicted of a crime, therefore you would select no. If you were convicted of possession then expunged the offense, you would likely select yes. There is a second question asking something vague like "is there any additional in your background which may impact your ability to obtain a license". Given that these are dismissed charges, the likely answer to this question is also likely no.

Speak to a lawyer to discuss well in advance of preparing your application who deals in state licensing law, and then when they confirm this advice, do not include this information unnecessarily on your application.

Questions on applications for state licensure may ask about arrests, plea deals, etc. These are state specific and impossible to anticipate for your specific matched institution at the time of ERAS submission. Do not lie to state licensure boards when the time comes, but I would urge you to employ a licensure attorney at that time to ensure you are disclosing all required information while not disclosing unnecessary details which can be misconstrued.
 
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The verbiage of the question on ERAS asks if you have been convicted of a crime. If the information you have provided is correct, you have not been convicted of a crime, therefore you would select no. If you were convicted of possession then expunged the offense, you would likely select yes. There is a second question asking something vague like "is there any additional in your background which may impact your ability to obtain a license". Given that these are dismissed charges, the likely answer to this question is also likely no.

Speak to a lawyer to discuss well in advance of preparing your application who deals in state licensing law, and then when they confirm this advice, do not include this information unnecessarily on your application.

Questions on applications for state licensure may ask about arrests, plea deals, etc. These are state specific and impossible to anticipate for your specific matched institution at the time of ERAS submission. Do not lie to state licensure boards when the time comes, but I would urge you to employ a licensure attorney at that time to ensure you are disclosing all required information while not disclosing unnecessary details which can be misconstrued.

I understand this point of view. However, I think that they would eventually find out if I say nothing and that might bring me more trouble (or it may not). Lawyers in my state at least have told me not to say anything. However, I would need to find basically ask lawyers in any state that am applying to.
 
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I understand this point of view. However, I think that they would eventually find out if I say nothing and that might bring me more trouble (or it may not). Lawyers in my state at least have told me not to say anything. However, I would need to find basically ask lawyers in any state that am applying to.
my thing is that even if they do find out literally nothing happened. the charges were dropped. this is something more related to disclosing when you apply for your medical license. I know that for that you have to give all the info but since the charges were dropped there's no reason for any board to deny a license. I would also look into getting the arrests expunged. if you were able to do that, depending on which state youre in, you can say no to any questions asking you if you were arrested on ERAS. This expungement wouldn't apply to your medical license (you have to disclose everything for that but it won't hurt you) but at least it won't show up at all on any background check that ERAS or your residency does. One more thing, remember that when you applied to med school your admin saw the arrests. they wouldn't accept someone who wouldn't qualify for a medical license or who wouldn't be able to match
 
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You can get arrested for walking down the street. Charges dropped/found NG/etc means you did nothing wrong in the eyes of the law. Definitely talk to a lawyer.
 

MedScat

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I understand this point of view. However, I think that they would eventually find out if I say nothing and that might bring me more trouble (or it may not). Lawyers in my state at least have told me not to say anything. However, I would need to find basically ask lawyers in any state that am applying to.
Don't say anything if the question is asking about convictions and your charges were dismissed, in my opinion that is a silly decision.
I have charges that were dismissed and for med school apps and for ERAS that only ask about convictions, your honest answer is NO
I'm not sure what license applications ask but don't disclose these type of thing unless you absolutely have to...because why do otherwise?? If they start asking about arrests and things like that it might be worth talking to a lawyer when you fill out that app because many times, when charges are dismissed, arrest records for those charges are thrown out as well.
 

Domepiece

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I understand this point of view. However, I think that they would eventually find out if I say nothing and that might bring me more trouble (or it may not). Lawyers in my state at least have told me not to say anything. However, I would need to find basically ask lawyers in any state that am applying to.
I am not a lawyer, so please confirm any advice with a licensed attorney, but the suggestion in your reply sounds unnecessarily burdensome in both time and financial strain, especially if you apply broadly. If you have conferred with licensure attorney in your state, I would presume you can operate in good faith in following their suggestion with regards to disclosure on ERAS.
my thing is that even if they do find out literally nothing happened. the charges were dropped. this is something more related to disclosing when you apply for your medical license. I know that for that you have to give all the info but since the charges were dropped there's no reason for any board to deny a license. I would also look into getting the arrests expunged. if you were able to do that, depending on which state youre in, you can say no to any questions asking you if you were arrested on ERAS. This expungement wouldn't apply to your medical license (you have to disclose everything for that but it won't hurt you) but at least it won't show up at all on any background check that ERAS or your residency does. One more thing, remember that when you applied to med school your admin saw the arrests. they wouldn't accept someone who wouldn't qualify for a medical license or who wouldn't be able to match
Good advice. To clarify, however, the current verbiage of the ERAS question as of 2020 asks about convictions, not arrests, which is a key distinction when considering disclosure in the case of a dismissed case/charge.
 
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my thing is that even if they do find out literally nothing happened. the charges were dropped. this is something more related to disclosing when you apply for your medical license. I know that for that you have to give all the info but since the charges were dropped there's no reason for any board to deny a license. I would also look into getting the arrests expunged. if you were able to do that, depending on which state you're in, you can say no to any questions asking you if you were arrested on ERAS. This expungement wouldn't apply to your medical license (you have to disclose everything for that but it won't hurt you) but at least it won't show up at all on any background check that ERAS or your residency does. One more thing, remember that when you applied to med school your admin saw the arrests. they wouldn't accept someone who
wouldn't qualify for a medical license or who wouldn't be able to match
My school only asked for convictions so it didn't matter then; anyways that's here nor there. You make a good point there that it shouldn't count. Disclosing will be overly cautious but perhaps worth it according to come. To anyone reading this... stay out of trouble.
 
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