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Long time lurker, first time poster here.

I'm filling out ERAS right now and I was wondering if a reckless driving ticket needs to be disclosed. Basically, I got the ticket during medical school, and there were no accidents or property damage involved. It's not a misdemeanor in the state in which I got the ticket, but instead, it's only a traffic ticket. I've been told that it will only show up on my DMV record and not a background check.

I'm not sure about what to do. I obviously would say "no" for the misdemeanor question. But there's the question on ERAS which asks if you have anything in your past which will limit your ability to get a medical license or hospital privileges, and I was wondering if I would need to disclose this here. Even though it's not a misdemeanor in my state, I know that it is in other states and am worried that it may be viewed that way by residency committees (and thus, if it would be expected to disclose this on ERAS because it is a misdemeanor in their state).

I know that state licensing applications ask for even traffic convictions (and I will definitely disclose it on there), but I was wondering if I should put this on ERAS if it's not a misdemeanor and (most likely?) not going to affect medical licensing/hospital privileges.

P.S. Just to throw it out there, I do feel bad about this ticket, and I drive way more responsibly now :)
 

aProgDirector

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There's no right or wrong answer here. If you disclose it, then you no longer need to worry about it. It's out there, no one will be surprised if it shows up in a background check. But it's possible that some residency programs might see it and decide to consider it a negative factor in your evaluation. Or, you can not disclose it, not worry about negative factors, but then worry about whether it actually will show up. And if it does, then you need to explain that to your PD, and it will be their call whether you lied or not.

There's no way to "check your background check". Programs use different services. VA privileging requires a govt/FBI background check.

Pick your poison. My personal advice is to disclose it -- that's the safest option. I'd rather live with the worry that some program decided not to interview me because of it rather than worry that my whole career is in jeopardy if it shows up in the future. But that's my opinion, and others may disagree (and not be wrong)
 
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Thank you for your response. So just to clarify, if I don't disclose it but it shows up in a background check, then the program has the ability to penalize me for it if they wish to, right? I haven't done a background check on myself, and I am aware that programs use different services. I was just saying that I've been told by my traffic lawyer that it wouldn't show up (although as you pointed out that there are many different services, so who knows).

If I list it, how much of an impact would it have? I'm sure it varies by program, but overall, will it be a big hit to an otherwise decent application?

And If I disclose it, what's the best way to describe it? Should I just say something along the lines of how I was ticketed for driving recklessly and felt really bad about the ticket, but since then, I have been more mindful and responsible with my driving and obeyed all traffic laws?
 
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Raryn

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Long time lurker, first time poster here.

I'm filling out ERAS right now and I was wondering if a reckless driving ticket needs to be disclosed. Basically, I got the ticket during medical school, and there were no accidents or property damage involved. It's not a misdemeanor in the state in which I got the ticket, but instead, it's only a traffic ticket. I've been told that it will only show up on my DMV record and not a background check.

I'm not sure about what to do. I obviously would say "no" for the misdemeanor question. But there's the question on ERAS which asks if you have anything in your past which will limit your ability to get a medical license or hospital privileges, and I was wondering if I would need to disclose this here. Even though it's not a misdemeanor in my state, I know that it is in other states and am worried that it may be viewed that way by residency committees (and thus, if it would be expected to disclose this on ERAS because it is a misdemeanor in their state).

I know that state licensing applications ask for even traffic convictions (and I will definitely disclose it on there), but I was wondering if I should put this on ERAS if it's not a misdemeanor and (most likely?) not going to affect medical licensing/hospital privileges.

P.S. Just to throw it out there, I do feel bad about this ticket, and I drive way more responsibly now :)
I'll quote what I said in a very similar recent post (with some minor edits:

Now, I certainly don't have access to ERAS 2018, but from what I recall in previous years, there are two questions that you might need to report this on.

The first asks about being convicted of a crime. If your violation was neither a misdemeanor nor a felony, this one is simple. You answer "no", quite truthfully, and move on.

The second question is a bit more nebulous. It asks whether there is anything in your history that may limit your ability to be licensed...

Here we get into a conundrum. Given that your violation was not a crime, you might very well be justified in answering "no" here and moving on. But, there do exist medical licensing boards (ex: CA) that want to know about even traffic violations. Without a pattern of behavior, it's very unlikely they'd ever deny you a license for something like this. If you were exceedingly conservative, you might answer this question yes. If so, you leave a short explanation stating that there was a violation, list the title and date, that you don't personally feel it will limit your ability to be licensed but you want to be honest up front about it, and don't give any more detail than you have to.

That said, I would honestly just leave it off the application completely. With the major exception that if it was reported to your school and *they're* going to bring it up on the dean's letter? No way in hell should you leave it off.
 
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I'll quote what I said in a very similar recent post (with some minor edits:

Here we get into a conundrum. Given that your violation was not a crime, you might very well be justified in answering "no" here and moving on. But, there do exist medical licensing boards (ex: CA) that want to know about even traffic violations. Without a pattern of behavior, it's very unlikely they'd ever deny you a license for something like this. If you were exceedingly conservative, you might answer this question yes. If so, you leave a short explanation stating that there was a violation, list the title and date, that you don't personally feel it will limit your ability to be licensed but you want to be honest up front about it, and don't give any more detail than you have to.
See that's what my thought process was. I know that I'll have to report it on licensing applications, but they even make you list simple speeding tickets (which you wouldn't have to list on ERAS). The question on the ERAS application doesn't ask if there's anything that I'll have to report on the licensing application per se, but rather, is there anything that I would have to report on the licensing application AND that will possibly limit my ability to get a license. I can't imagine why reckless driving would limit my ability to get a license (especially if not a misdemeanor) which was why I was thinking of not disclosing it in the first place. But given that it is a relatively serious traffic offense, I'm starting to think that maybe programs would prefer for stuff like this to be disclosed (even if it probably won't "limit my ability to get a license").

To put it another way, one would report simple speeding tickets on the licensing application, but those kinds of tickets would not have to be reported on ERAS. But reckless driving is more serious than a simple speeding ticket, and I was wondering if it crosses the threshold for which I should report it. Basically, at what point does something like a non-criminal traffic ticket become reportable on ERAS?

But aProgDirector's response stuck with me, and I'm starting to think that the peace of mind might be worth it and should just disclose. Welp.
 

Crayola227

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I'd leave it off ERAS

I'd only report it on licensing forms that asked about traffic violations

I don't think you need to worry about the fact it's a misdemeanor in *other* states

just my opinion on what I'd do
 
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mvenus929

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See that's what my thought process was. I know that I'll have to report it on licensing applications, but they even make you list simple speeding tickets (which you wouldn't have to list on ERAS).
I'm fairly certain I did not have to report minor traffic violations (including speeding tickets). I had a moving violation when I was in high school that I questioned whether or not I had to disclose, but I was told by my program coordinator and everyone else that I spoke with that I did not have to report it.

Some states may require you to report that, but it is not universal.
 

Raryn

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I'm fairly certain I did not have to report minor traffic violations (including speeding tickets). I had a moving violation when I was in high school that I questioned whether or not I had to disclose, but I was told by my program coordinator and everyone else that I spoke with that I did not have to report it.

Some states may require you to report that, but it is not universal.
California does for sure. The handful of other states I looked at don't unless it was a misdemeanor or felony.

That said, I know quite a number of CA physicians with speeding tickets and none had any trouble getting licensed
 
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TeddyBoomBoom

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What in the world are you guys talking about?

A driving ticket will in no way limit your ability to get a license…
 

xffan624

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No, but certain boards require you to disclose everything, including the speeding tickets.
Time limit? I mean I have some that were about 15 years ago. I hope I'm not expected to remember significant details about it.
 

psych md jd

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There are 50 states and 50 different vehicle codes.

Code will determine the legal classification of the act. In general, traffic offenses can be defined as infractions, misdemeanors, or felonies, depending on the nature and extent of the seriousness or resulting damage.

With a "reckless driving ticket" one usually has the option to plead guilty and pay the fine or go to court. Pleading guilty and paying the fine is usually considered a conviction that goes on your driving record. Your driving record is usually separate from your criminal record [the proverbial "rap sheet" detailing your arrests and prosecutions.]

Is this something to disclose or not?

If I were in this situation, I would contact the ERAS applicant helpdesk [202-862-6264] and get an answer from the source [noting in my personal files the day/time I called and who I spoke with]. That way, if there are repercussions in the future, I could state in good conscience that I called and followed their advice to disclose or not.
 
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aProgDirector

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If I were in this situation, I would contact the ERAS applicant helpdesk [202-862-6264] and get an answer from the source [noting in my personal files the day/time I called and who I spoke with]. That way, if there are repercussions in the future, I could state in good conscience that I called and followed their advice to disclose or not.
Although I agree with the rest of your post, I'm going to respectfully disagree with this.

I fully expect that ERAS will tell you that it's your decision whether to disclose or not. It all depends upon the nature of the issue, and the states which you are considering.

Personally, as long as alcohol wasn't involved, no one was injured, and this is in the distant past, I don't care. But let's pretend for a minute that alcohol was involved and it was recent, for the sake of argument -- so now I might care quite a bit. And let's say that you called ERAS and they told you that you didn't have to disclose it, so you don't. You match to me, and it comes up in licensing. If you tell me your excuse is "I spoke to XYZ at ERAS and they told me not to disclose it", I could care less. Same as if you tell me "I spoke to my lawyer, and they told me not to disclose it". I am holding you responsible for what's in your application. No one else. Other people can advise you what to do, but at the end of the day you're the one who signs your application.

This doesn't change my assessment of the situation above. It's your call whether you want to disclose it or not. But you have to live with the repercussions of that choice, not blame them on someone else.
 
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psych md jd

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One could see it as avoiding blame or blaming another OR another view would be reliance on another in making the choice. I would see it as the latter.

Of course, the OP in the end will decide the question. But when he/she is faced with a question that is vague and ambiguous, which requires an answer that is definite and certain in all 50 states, and faces potential dire consequences, and then reaches out for clarification and guidance in answering the question, and relies on such, I'd say that is a reasonable approach and give the OP credit.

If I were a PD and the OP matched to me and the issue arose during licensing, I would care about what the OP said and thought. I would see the vagueness and ambiguity in the question, the difficulty in answering it, and support my resident.
 
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The reason for asking was because this is more than just a simple speeding ticket. I wasn't drunk and I didn't get into an accident. I just drove really fast.

I'm leaning towards disclosing it, mainly for the peace of mind. That being said, they ought to make this question more clear for future applicants and bring up things that should be reported. 4th year med students don't know much about medical licensing, and while we can think of a few obvious things that should be reported, there's a lot of things which we wouldn't even think to mention. For example, it seems like some states even prefer applicants to mention if they've been treated for mental health stuff like depression/anxiety, but there's no way the average med student would think to list this.
 

psych md jd

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S'all good, man.
 

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No, but certain boards require you to disclose everything, including the speeding tickets.
I couldn't even begin to remember when and where my speeding tickets are and I suspect I'm not alone. I haven't applied for a license in all states of course, but every state I've worked in has excepted traffic violations.

The reason for asking was because this is more than just a simple speeding ticket. I wasn't drunk and I didn't get into an accident. I just drove really fast.

I'm leaning towards disclosing it, mainly for the peace of mind. That being said, they ought to make this question more clear for future applicants and bring up things that should be reported. 4th year med students don't know much about medical licensing, and while we can think of a few obvious things that should be reported, there's a lot of things which we wouldn't even think to mention. For example, it seems like some states even prefer applicants to mention if they've been treated for mental health stuff like depression/anxiety, but there's no way the average med student would think to list this.
Yeah, in my home state "reckless driving" 25+ MPH over the speed limit is more than a simple traffic violation it's a misdemeanor and would 100% need to be reported.
 
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TeddyBoomBoom

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I'm going to reiterate that this is a stupid argument.

The question is: "is there anything in your past that might limit your ability to get a license."

It's not: " is there anything that would show up on a background check? "

A reckless driving charge is in no way going to limit your ability to get a medical license. So you can safely answer no.
 

aProgDirector

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I'm going to reiterate that this is a stupid argument.

The question is: "is there anything in your past that might limit your ability to get a license."

It's not: " is there anything that would show up on a background check? "

A reckless driving charge is in no way going to limit your ability to get a medical license. So you can safely answer no.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

Let's say you were drunk and driving 90 in a school zone. You get pulled over, and they plan to send you to jail. But something happens with the evidence, so now they can't prove the serious crime this is. So you end up with a reckless driving charge. I expect that might have an effect on your licensing -- at a minimum, slowing the process down significantly.

The question is vague. It's by design, because laws / boards are all different and it's impossible to write a precise question that will cover all contingencies. If you disclose some minor issue that happened in the far past, it's very unlikely that it would affect any program's assessment of your application.
 
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TeddyBoomBoom

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Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

Let's say you were drunk and driving 90 in a school zone. You get pulled over, and they plan to send you to jail. But something happens with the evidence, so now they can't prove the serious crime this is. So you end up with a reckless driving charge. I expect that might have an effect on your licensing -- at a minimum, slowing the process down significantly.

The question is vague. It's by design, because laws / boards are all different and it's impossible to write a precise question that will cover all contingencies. If you disclose some minor issue that happened in the far past, it's very unlikely that it would affect any program's assessment of your application.
I hadn't thought of it like that.

In case like that, I can see where it could of course be an issue.


Thanks for explaining.
 
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