Jan 29, 2014
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Pre-Medical
Hello everyone,

I just had a question regarding a reckless driving misdemeanor charge that I got. When I was in high school, I got in to an accident on a highway that involved 2 other people. I was cut off by an individual (my front bumper was essentially lined up with his/her back bumper at this time), and being a pretty inexperienced driver at the time, my first instinct was to brake and swerve. I lost control of my car and caused an accident with two other individuals. Unfortunately, I got a reckless driving ticket for this.

I guess what really bugs me is the "reckless" aspect of it. I'm far from reckless, but can't help but think that individuals might get that impression with such a ticket on my record. I took an Alive at 25 driving course afterwards and I completed some community service hours to pay back my dues as well. I don't have anything else on my record, and my driving has been fine since.

I was 17 when the accident occurred so whenever anyone tries to run a background check on me, for some reason it never shows up (possibly because I was a minor?). I've ordered a background check on myself and I've seen the background check that my university has run on me (when I was hired to be an employee), and the only way individuals figure out is because I write it on my applications.

I have no problem talking about it and what I learned from the incident. It's been brought up in an interview before and I had no problem talking about it at that time either. I just don't like the idea of someone getting the wrong impression prior to meeting me and taking me as a reckless individual that would potentially make for a reckless doctor.

Any help would definitely be appreciated! Thank you!
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
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Somewhere west of St. Louis
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Won't be an issue.

Hello everyone,

I just had a question regarding a reckless driving misdemeanor charge that I got. When I was in high school, I got in to an accident on a highway that involved 2 other people. I was cut off by an individual (my front bumper was essentially lined up with his/her back bumper at this time), and being a pretty inexperienced driver at the time, my first instinct was to brake and swerve. I lost control of my car and caused an accident with two other individuals. Unfortunately, I got a reckless driving ticket for this.

I guess what really bugs me is the "reckless" aspect of it. I'm far from reckless, but can't help but think that individuals might get that impression with such a ticket on my record. I took an Alive at 25 driving course afterwards and I completed some community service hours to pay back my dues as well. I don't have anything else on my record, and my driving has been fine since.

I was 17 when the accident occurred so whenever anyone tries to run a background check on me, for some reason it never shows up (possibly because I was a minor?). I've ordered a background check on myself and I've seen the background check that my university has run on me (when I was hired to be an employee), and the only way individuals figure out is because I write it on my applications.

I have no problem talking about it and what I learned from the incident. It's been brought up in an interview before and I had no problem talking about it at that time either. I just don't like the idea of someone getting the wrong impression prior to meeting me and taking me as a reckless individual that would potentially make for a reckless doctor.

Any help would definitely be appreciated! Thank you!
 

efle

not an elf
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Apr 6, 2014
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No kidding? I thought the definition of expunged was "no longer needs to show up on background checks/be reported". After all, if he lied and said he'd never had criminal charges, how would you ever find out otherwise if a background check showed nothing?
 
Oct 14, 2013
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No kidding? I thought the definition of expunged was "no longer needs to show up on background checks/be reported". After all, if he lied and said he'd never had criminal charges, how would you ever find out otherwise if a background check showed nothing?
This is a common question. I am not a lawyer, so take the following with a grain of salt:

There is no "right" answer, per se. First of all, expungement is a state specific issue. Each state has specific rules about what can be expunged, how it is expunged, and what "expunged" actually means. So, it's impossible to know exactly what to do without knowing what state you had this legal problem in, and what was "done" about it.

That being said, in general you're going to need to disclose it even though it's expunged. Here's why:

You probably are on good legal footing by not disclosing an expunged record to hospitals looking to hire you for a residency position. Hospitals will almost certainly do a background check as part of the hiring process, and if your record has been expunged, then the commercial background check that they do should show nothing, and you'd be fine.

But, there's a catch. Actually, there are two catches:

1. When you apply for a license, you will almost certainly have to disclose this. Most (if not all) expungement systems have an exception for state licensing procedures. Even if the state where you had your record expunged does not, if the state where you are getting a license does, it's possible that they would find this. This might not be a problem if you were actually applying for a license -- but you're not in most states. Most interns will start with a training license, and your residency program applies for that in your name. Hence, your residency program is very likely to find out about your expunged record. When they do, they may be quite angry. They will be very angry if it delays, or prevents, you from getting a licence.

2. If you match to a program that has a VA, all bets are off. All VA's do a background check through the DOJ. No expungement will hide anything from this type of check. Trust me, they'll know about everything, and it is almost certain to get reported to your PD. If you fail your VA background check, you'll be terminated.

Since you only have one ERAS application, you have to choose to disclose to everyone, or no one. It's possible that you could find a program in a state that won't trigger either of these two catches, but they are going to be few and you won't be able to be certain that you will match there.

Hence, although you may not be legally required to disclose an expunged record, it is very likely in your best interest to do so anyway. This may cause you to lose some interview invites -- some PD's may see this as a "red flag" on your application and pass; some may recognize that you'd fail a licensing app / VA credentialing process. You won't be able to tell -- if you're rejected, you won't know if it's because of the misdemeanor or just your overall competitiveness.

One last point is that if you don't disclose, you will be sweating it from match day to the start of residency. This should be a happy, carefree time.

One last option would be to not disclose it on your ERAS app, match, and then immediately disclose it to your program. If it doesn't create a problem with your license nor with VA credentialing (which most expunged misdemeanors will not), now at least your PD won't be taken by surprise if/when it shows up. Still, you have to ask yourself if the first communication you have with your new PD after you match is about your legal history that you "hid". This would be completely legal, but could start things on a sour note.
 

yankees527

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Aug 5, 2013
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What about reckless driving that was reduced to speeding? Does the charge show up on a background check?
 

gyngyn

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If you are asked in a secondary if you have been charged with or convicted of a crime, you will be given an opportunity to explain. "Expunged" and juvenile records will still show up on background checks conducted by state, county and federal hospitals that may be affiliated with the school that interviews you.
 

Fedekz

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Jul 25, 2008
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It may also depend on what state it occurred in, and where the school requesting the background check is. I'm not familiar with what system they use, but I'm a police officer and when I pull someone's background from my computer, if the charges are from the same state as me, I see everything... Even if expunged, deferred, reduced etc. It shows the entire process beginning with what you were initially arrested for, charged with, and the process after that.

But if you were to be out of state of me, id only be able to see the final result, so if it got expunged I wouldn't be able to see it.

Not sure if this helps, but something to consider.
 

Spirit of the Student Doc

Worrying will never change the outcome
Mar 24, 2014
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I still disagree, on the basis he was a minor. (Except in the case of a government entity, ex: V.A.)

Impact of Sealing Juvenile Records
If the court approves the petition and seals the juvenile records, the court then treats the juvenile court proceedings as if they never occurred. In most states, this means that if you're asked whether you have a criminal or juvenile offense history, you can legally say no. Likewise, if an employer, educational institution, government agency, or other entity does a background check on you, your juvenile court history will not come up. So having your juvenile record sealed can have tremendous advantages when you're applying for a job or professional license or in any other situation that might involve inquiries about your criminal history.

The sealing is not absolute, however. In certain circumstances, the expunged juvenile record may be accessible. For example, if you apply for a job with a law enforcement agency, chances are your record will be visible to that agency when they run a background check on you. If your juvenile record contains a vehicle-related violation, an insurance company may be able to access a record of that offense when you apply for car insurance. Finally, juvenile offenses that are expunged from a record may still be used to increase the severity of a sentence that's handed down after a later juvenile offense or criminal court conviction.
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/sealing-juvenile-court-records-32228.html

By State List if OP is interested
http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/topics/expunging-or-sealing-a-juvenile-court-record
 
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Spirit of the Student Doc

Worrying will never change the outcome
Mar 24, 2014
987
233
It may also depend on what state it occurred in, and where the school requesting the background check is. I'm not familiar with what system they use, but I'm a police officer and when I pull someone's background from my computer, if the charges are from the same state as me, I see everything... Even if expunged, deferred, reduced etc. It shows the entire process beginning with what you were initially arrested for, charged with, and the process after that.

But if you were to be out of state of me, id only be able to see the final result, so if it got expunged I wouldn't be able to see it.

Not sure if this helps, but something to consider.
Yeah, but I doubt you see someones record from when they were 17. Right?
 

Doug Underhill

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I'd be really surprised if juvenile records showed up on med school background checks.
 

Lysinee

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VA is one of the worst states for speeding - can't use a radar detector and above 80mph is a misdemeanor (reckless driving).
 

Spirit of the Student Doc

Worrying will never change the outcome
Mar 24, 2014
987
233
VA is one of the worst states for speeding - can't use a radar detector and above 80mph is a misdemeanor (reckless driving).
You have to realize it's a funding issue, they need to employ officers and keep the highways in shape somehow. Now you lose liberties in the process and there are those who feel justified in demonizing you for standing up. But it's just part of life, unfortunately.

By mindlessly obeying authority,

“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process.” (Milgram, 1974)

-In its most extreme this is how the holocaust happened, on the lesser side this is why your grandparents drove 90+ in deathtraps but you (can) go to jail and have your life destroyed for doing 85 in 55 (which was a former 90mph prior to Nixon).
 
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Lysinee

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You have to realize it's a funding issue, they need to employ officers and keep the highways in shape somehow. Now you lose liberties in the process and there are those who feel justified in demonizing you for standing up. But it's just part of life, unfortunately.
Just making a point that speeding can be worse in some states. Let's say you are driving through a few states.

"Going 80 mph or more, no matter what the speed limit, is also reckless driving.That's a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia law, punishable by a jail term of up to a year and a fine of $2,500. A conviction on that charge will go on your criminal record - permanently. Your driving privileges in Virginia can be suspended for six months - potentially jacking up your insurance rates. If you hold a commercial driving license or a security clearance, your career could suffer."

"Let's say you're cruising down Interstate 95 doing 84 mph in a 65 mph zone. If you're in Maryland, you're looking at a $160 fine and two points for exceeding the limit by 10-19 mph. If you get a kindly judge, you might walk off with probation before judgment and no points. There's no need to get a lawyer"

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2009-03-30/news/0903290066_1_reckless-driving-speed-limit-driving-speeding

Plus, there are more profitable ways for the police to make money like drug busts, drug money, and stop and seize.
 

Spirit of the Student Doc

Worrying will never change the outcome
Mar 24, 2014
987
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Just making a point that speeding can be worse in some states. Let's say you are driving through a few states.

"Going 80 mph or more, no matter what the speed limit, is also reckless driving.That's a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia law, punishable by a jail term of up to a year and a fine of $2,500. A conviction on that charge will go on your criminal record - permanently. Your driving privileges in Virginia can be suspended for six months - potentially jacking up your insurance rates. If you hold a commercial driving license or a security clearance, your career could suffer."

"Let's say you're cruising down Interstate 95 doing 84 mph in a 65 mph zone. If you're in Maryland, you're looking at a $160 fine and two points for exceeding the limit by 10-19 mph. If you get a kindly judge, you might walk off with probation before judgment and no points. There's no need to get a lawyer"

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2009-03-30/news/0903290066_1_reckless-driving-speed-limit-driving-speeding

Plus, there are more profitable ways for the police to make money like drug busts, drug money, and stop and seize.
Uh, how do you think they get most drug busts. At least for the state patrol they pull over so many people they just happen to get a few (not all drug busts are done in this manner).

-As for the law, I have my views that might actually agree with yours. I think we should be based on how to get people efficiently from A to B. Like most of W. Europe is. Not punishing behaviors like Russia, Iran, China, N. Korea, etc. is. The left lane is for passing, getting up on someone's bumper is a problem, be more aware of your surroundings etc. But that's not the system we have or will ever have. But I don't think we're in the pre-med category anymore;).

Just another injustice in life, like so many others. :cryi:

It sounds like schools don't really care about this, so we should be good there.
 
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Sep 30, 2014
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Hello everyone,

I just had a question regarding a reckless driving misdemeanor charge that I got. When I was in high school, I got in to an accident on a highway that involved 2 other people. I was cut off by an individual (my front bumper was essentially lined up with his/her back bumper at this time), and being a pretty inexperienced driver at the time, my first instinct was to brake and swerve. I lost control of my car and caused an accident with two other individuals. Unfortunately, I got a reckless driving ticket for this.

I guess what really bugs me is the "reckless" aspect of it. I'm far from reckless, but can't help but think that individuals might get that impression with such a ticket on my record. I took an Alive at 25 driving course afterwards and I completed some community service hours to pay back my dues as well. I don't have anything else on my record, and my driving has been fine since.

I was 17 when the accident occurred so whenever anyone tries to run a background check on me, for some reason it never shows up (possibly because I was a minor?). I've ordered a background check on myself and I've seen the background check that my university has run on me (when I was hired to be an employee), and the only way individuals figure out is because I write it on my applications.

I have no problem talking about it and what I learned from the incident. It's been brought up in an interview before and I had no problem talking about it at that time either. I just don't like the idea of someone getting the wrong impression prior to meeting me and taking me as a reckless individual that would potentially make for a reckless doctor.

Any help would definitely be appreciated! Thank you!
You don't have to report juvenile offenses to schools. I got accepted with 2 offenses (non juvenile, had to report them) PM me if you want more advice/detail. It is possible
 
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