I recently finished all my prerequisites for an ADN program. All I have to do now is wait to see if I made the cut for the class starting Fall 2005.
After coming so far, I've come upon a roadblock that I wish I'd known about before spending the last two years dreaming of becoming an RN.
When I was 20 years old, I was arrested and charged with felony CDV...criminal domestic violence. Sounds really bad, right? To make a long story short, I lived with my mother and brother at the time, and one night my mother hit me (not the first time). Instead of just walking away like I usually did, I slapped her back. It was the first and only time in my life I have EVER hit anyone. I don't even spank my child. It was something I did before even rationalizing what I was doing, and I immediately apologized to her for it. It wasn't a hard slap. It didn't even make a mark, but it did upset her a lot. She was so shocked that I would hit her back. So was I, for that matter.
My brother heard her saying "I can't believe you hit me" from the other room and he rushed in, all agitated. He called the police. Funny how he never did that all the times she hit us. But anyway, the police came. By that time, my mother and I had already forgiven each other, but I wasn't going to lie when they asked me if I had slapped her. Thank God I didn't mention that she had hit me first or they would have arrested her, too. By law, they were required to arrest me even though my mother begged them not to and refused to press any charges.
I spent the night in jail and was let out the next day. The judge let me go through pre-trial intervention so that the record would be expunged because I was so young and had no prior record whatsoever.
I completed pre-trial intervention and the record was expunged. I thought that was the end of it. I'm not a violent person and have never even had the inclination to hit anyone ever again.
I recently found out that the NC BON requires fingerprinting from graduates before they can even sit the exam. From my understanding, fingerprints are sent through the federal system and bring up everything... even expunged records. I pass criminal background checks with flying colors, but I won't pass fingerprinting.
I am so scared and so depressed because it seems like I might have wasted the last two years of my life. I've heard horror stories of graduates being denied licensure for much less than my offence, even for past misdemeanors. So I can only imagine what my chances are with a felony charge, expunged or not. It seems so unfair, that a one-time mistake so many years in the past can destroy your future.
I don't know what to do. I find out next month if I made it into the ADN program for next fall. Sure, I could go through the program, but it would be pointless if I won't be allowed to sit for the exam afterwards. I've worked so hard at being a straight-A student while working AND being a mom that I can't accept that it was all for nothing. I feel so lost and hopeless right now.
I'd appreciate any advice any of you can give...especially if you've ever been in the same kind of situation. I'd appreciate honesty. If you think it's a hopeless cause and that I should just give up, then say so... just be gentle, please. This is a really awful time for me.
Jan 28, '05
I would talk with you dean of students, and I would also contact the NC BON (www.ncbon.com
). I am sure they would both have some resources and the answers you needed. Good luck, hope everything works out for you. -Andrea
Jan 28, '05
Okay I live in Louisiana but I just had to reply. First when you first started down the nursing path didn't you know that fingerproniting is required? No matter. With expunged records, one of two things happen:
#1- Your record is just sealed, and no one can get into it except for law enforcemnet, and even then it takes a judge to give the go ahead, unless it is federal law enforcement. And usually they don't even call this expungement. They call it sealing a record.
#2- Your record is completely destroyed. Meaning shreded, burned, or another way of being destoyed.
So check in with your local courthouse for how they "expunge" records
And next you said you got charged with felony CDV. The question is were you convicted of it. There is a difference, and with your mom not wanting to press charges, I would assume she didn't and therefore you couldn't be convicted, because the action that the crime was allegedly commited against is not willing to participate. So please explain. You need to access your file to see if you were convicted, because it not you have nothing to worry about. Being charged is one thing, because charges can be dropped or dismissed. But a conviction is totally different.
Jan 28, '05
Thank you both for your responses.
New_Mom_LPN_Student, I was never convicted of the charge. Pre-trial intervention is a program of community service/counseling you go through, and if you complete the program, the record is expunged. And yes, the record is destroyed. The only thing not destroyed in most states are the fingerprints the police took from you when you were arrested. Although the record won't show up on background checks, it WILL show up on federal-run fingerprint cards. It will show up as an expunged record and not a conviction, but I don't think that matters because it is still on there as a prior arrest for a violent crime, even though there was no conviction.
I had seen the requirement for fingerprinting before, along with criminal background checks. But I didn't realize until a couple days ago what fingerprinting would mean. I didn't know until I looked it up online that it brings up all records of arrest, even expunged records. I guess that's why it's being done now, so that people can't lie when asked if they've ever been arrested before (I know here in NC a lot of job applications even ask about your past arrests, regardless of conviction or expungment). I've always felt comfortable saying I had no prior arrest in answer to those questions. In my point of view, that was why I went through the pre-trial program to get it expunged. The whole purpose of expungment is to get a second chance at a clean record, and I've never done anything to jeoporadize that second chance. I guess that's why this all feels so unfair to me right now.
I don't think the NC BON is really going to care whether it was a conviction or an expungment, especially when I admit that I DID commit it. I'm just so ashamed. I thought it was all behind me and I never even think about it because it was the worst eperience of my life. It feels awful to have to categorize myself yet again with spouse-abusers, etc. and I'm afraid that anyone I try to talk to about it will look at me that way. My friend's ex-husband once beat her so badly she had to go to the hospital. Can you believe charge he was convicted of was the exact same as mine?
Jan 29, '05
All of us understand that there is a big difference between being charged with a crime and being convicted of a crime.
I agree with Aneroo; the best thing you can do is be v. open and honest with the NC Board as soon as possible. Either you will get all of this cleared up and be able to move ahead with your plans, or you will find out that they will not be willing to license you and you can start working on alternative plans. Either way, the sooner you know, the better.
Best wishes --
Jan 29, '05
Don't talk to the dean or faculty at school about this situation, none of their business and information may be misunderstood. I would be willing to bet money that this situation will not follow you because you have passed criminal and background checks already. Just see an attorney & get clear on this and then put the whole situation behind you. I really doubt you will have trouble on this one.
Jan 29, '05
That doesn't make sense. She hit you first. Why wasn't she charged too by the police?
I'm gald to hear that they didn't pursue it any further.
Jan 29, '05
I am completely against fingerprinting, conservatives beleive in less government when social programs are at the forefront of debate but when it comes to security they are all about leashing the innocent and terminating the guilty. I hope that your situation works out for you. PM me if I can do anything to help.
Jan 30, '05
I didn't tell the police officer that my mother hit me. The first person he talked to at the door was my brother, who really didn't witness anything. He asked me if I had slapped her, and I told the truth. My mother jumped in and said that it was not a big deal, that she wished my brother hadn't called them. The police officer said that none of the circumstances mattered and that the only thing in question was if I did indeed slap her, and since I admitted to it, he was required to arrest me regardless. So, after learning that, I never mentioned that she had hit me first. She was crying and so upset. I could tell she thought it was partially her fault (although I'd like to point out that I DON'T consider it her fault at all. It doesn't matter what she did to me, my reactions are my full responsibility). I was not going to have my own mother put in handcuffs and carted to a holding cell along with me. When the judge who sets bail asked me the next morning what had happened, I think I just told him that we had gotten into a huge argument and I just lost my temper, that it had never happened before and would never happen again.
Anyway, I'm really surprised at all the positive responses to my thread. I can't tell you how much I appreciate them all. I think I will contact the NC Board of Nursing this week and see what they have to say.
Jan 31, '05
Yayyyy!! Here's the email I got from the BON today:
If the criminal record for this conviction was expunged, it should not
appear on the Criminal Background Check (CBC). When this expungement
occurred, you should have received a letter to that affect. If for some
reason it does appear on your CBC, you will need to send a copy of the
expungement letter. We do not consider convictions that have been
expunged and/or sealed. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR NURSING CAREER
I am so relieved. Sounds like even if they see it, it won't be a problem at all. Now I feel silly for being so pessimistic until I received the response from them. It was just so scary...
Oh well, all over now
Thanks a bunch for all of your advice!