Nursing school and arrest

  1. Help! I'm getting ready to apply for my schools nursing program. Before acceptance, I have to have a background check ran. I was arrested for theft over $1,00 (felony) but not convicted. I am on probation and judicial diversion, which means in December 2017 I can have it expunged from my record. Although I have never been convicted of a crime, I know the arrest will still show on my background check, especially if they run a criminal background check. My lawyer told me to answer "no" to the "have you ever been convicted of a crime" section of any background check, because I haven't been. However, I don't want to be dishonest at all. I honestly have no clue if it is even worth spending the time going through my prerequisites for the program, just to be turned away because of an arrest. Not only that, but say I DO get accepted and get through the program, only for the Board of Nursing to see it, and deny me licensing. Has anybody ever been through this before? I feel like I'm stuck and have no options.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    It's asking if you've ever been convicted - the answer is no. That's not lying.
  4. by   DanaBowers94
    But on a background check, my arrest will surely show. It will ultimately be expunged before I finish school and (hopefully) take my exam. But when I would be doing clinical, it would not be expunged and the clinical sites would see it and could very well deny me for clinical. I'm just scared to go through so many classes (if I even get accepted) just to get denied by clinical sites, and the board. I contacted the TN BON and she couldn't really give me answer, other than the bar for my specific arrest is 5 years, but that can always change within the upcoming years. It could go any number of ways. I just don't want to waste my time and money to be turned down for my dream career. I know I can go before the BON and explain everything and provide proof of expungement when the time comes, but it's worrisome that they could still deny me. Say I do somehow get through the program and clinicals successfully, and the board denies me, would I still have my degree? But no license? And if so, could I wait and then take the licensing exam?
  5. by   Devon Rex
    Hello!

    I know that any legal proceeding will show up on a background check... even divorces. So you will need to be prepare to demonstrate not only the "charge", but also the disposition of that charge/proceeding. This will typically represent a delay in processing your ATT (authorization to test for NCLEX), but not necessarily one that would end up in denial.

    The circumstances around the theft will have a great impact. If they have anything to do with controlled substances or fraud against vulnerable people (elderly and/or disable people)... you are out of luck. No BON will issue you a license to place you in a position to take advantage of them again.

    If your theft charges stem from poverty and a crime of "survival" (ex. food, health related), the board might be more lenient. Board of Nursings are pretty strict when nurses commit offenses and are not afraid of making harsh decisions.

    Taking your general education courses should be of no cause of concern. You can complete an Associates of Arts degree and take those credits to any other degree you decide to pursue. The most important step is figuring things out before you start nursing school. Many schools will be happy to enroll you... as their bottom line is $$$... but they can not guarantee the chance to taking the boards as they do not make those rules... the BON does.

    So the most accurate answer would be provided by your BON. Try to make an office appointment with your BON and have a frank discussion of your situation and what you need to do to be successful.

    Best wishes!
  6. by   DanaBowers94
    Thank you so much! The theft was over clothing with no intent to sell. My lawyer was pissed they wrote it off as a felony instead of a misdemeanor,which would have helped a little at least if it were only a misdemeanor. I've contacted the dean of my nursing program to ask her about this specific schools admittance policies, as well as the clinical sites this school uses for classes. So we will see! The BON said typically the bar for theft is 5 years (after schooling and all goes well, it would be 4 years post arrest- my second to last semester). I guess I will wait to see what the Dean says before I do anything else. I'm going to go ahead and take my core classes this summer anyways, just in case I do get accepted!
  7. by   Meriwhen
    I was going to say seek the advice of your attorney...but you already have.

    And then to talk the BON...but you already have.

    And then to talk to school...but you already have.

    So you've pretty much done what you should be doing. Just keep plowing forward and hope for good news from the Dean.

    One thing about expungements...in case the BON didn't mention it to you, you WILL have to report the expunged charges to most if not all BONs. That doesn't necessarily mean the end of your nursing career before it begins, but just be prepared to address it in more depth with the BON should they want to discuss it with you.

    Best of luck.
  8. by   DanaBowers94
    I'll do whatever it takes! The crazy thing is that I haven't even started any classes yet, I start the 25th for my prerequisites. I'm just already stressing about it so I'm trying to get my ducks in a row! I did contact an employment attorney and he said that he would honestly wait to do any of it until after my record is expunged. But I can't wait forever you know? Thanks for the help!
  9. by   meanmaryjean
    Also- if your username is your actual name- you might want to change it. Nothing like discussing your criminal background on the internet for everyone to see....
  10. by   Emjay274
    It may say "have you ever been arrested or convicted, regardless of adjudication." In Florida, you have to tell them, even if it was ajudication withheld. Also, usually, you can't have things expunged that quickly. You have to wait years.

    You may also want to check with your state board to see if you are even eligible to sit for NCLEX. In Florida, having plead guilty OR no contest to a felony, EVEN IF YOU ARE FOUND NOT GUILTY, it means you have 5-15 years before you can test. In your case, probably 10 years from when you finish your program since that would be a 3rd degree felony. See below for an example of what I mean. It may not just be up to the school.



    "1. Has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony under Chapter 409, F.S., (relating to social and economic assistance), Chapter 817, F.S., (relating to fraudulent practices), Chapter 893, F.S., (relating to drug abuse prevention and control) or a similar felony offense(s) in another state or jurisdiction unless the candidate or applicant has successfully completed a drug court program for that felony and provides proof that the plea has been withdrawn or the charges have been dismissed. Any such conviction or plea shall exclude the applicant or candidate from licensure, examination, certification, or registration, unless the sentence and any subsequent period of probation for such conviction or plea ended:
    For the felonies of the first or second degree, more than 15 years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
    For the felonies of the third degree, more than 10 years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
    For the felonies of the third degree under section 893.13(6)(a), F.S., more than five years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
    Has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony under 21 U.S.C. ss. 801-970 (relating to controlled substances) or 42 U.S.C. ss. 1395-1396 (relating to public health, welfare, Medicare and Medicaid issues), unless the sentence and any subsequent period of probation for such conviction or pleas ended more than 15 years prior to the date of the application;
    Has been terminated for cause from the Florida Medicaid program pursuant to section 409.913, F.S., unless the candidate or applicant has been in good standing with the Florida Medicaid program for the most recent five years;
    Has been terminated for cause, pursuant to the appeals procedures established by the state or Federal Government, from any other state Medicaid program, unless the candidate or applicant has been in good standing with a state Medicaid program for the most recent five years and the termination occurred at least 20 years before the date of the application;
    Is currently listed on the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s List of Excluded Individuals and Entities."
  11. by   Emjay274
    Quote from DanaBowers94
    The BON said typically the bar for theft is 5 years (after schooling and all goes well, it would be 4 years post arrest- my second to last semester). I guess I will wait to see what the Dean says before I do anything else. I'm going to go ahead and take my core classes this summer anyways, just in case I do get accepted!
    In Florida, it's 10-years from the date probation or anything else was completed, for a 3rd degree felony that is not related to medical fraud. You may also want to check how long you can wait after graduating to take your boards. In some places, after six months you have to take a refresher. A theft felony may mean issues with getting hired. You could have employers concerned about theft from patients or medicine, or whatever.

    A lot to think about before you invest years in training, and a lot of money.
  12. by   Kmatt568
    I just went through a similar situation .. when I applied to take my boards I said yes to the "Have ever been convicted .. " even though mine was a withhold of adjudication. You have to provide court documents & have a place to pretty much plead your case. I was fine & got my ATT to test a few days later.
  13. by   DanaBowers94
    I live in VA on the state line of TN, where I would be working if all goes well. The TN BON said it is 5 years. But I will definitely further my research and contact the VA BON as well.
  14. by   Khorsley07
    I have a 2nd degree theft felony in the state of Washington. My conviction was back in 2008 though so I've had a lot of time to research this subject area. Every state is different. In the Washington I am eligible for licensing and I pass a DSHS background check after 5 years from the date of conviction. But in the state of Arizona I couldn't ever enter into any of their nursing programs in a public school. None of the community college programs or the university programs. No felonies, EVER! and if I moved there and had my RN license in Washington and wanted to transfer it, I wouldn't be eligible for 5 years from the time I paid off my fines. So here I am, 9 years after conviction and I still couldn't be educated or licensed in the state of Arizona.
    When I was researching for programs in Washington though I contacted my BON and they had a very black and white rubric for which they decide whether to allow an applicant with a criminal record and my school just followed the same guidelines of the BON and the department of health and human services, which meant after 5 years I was eligible for everything! I currently hold a CNA license which has the exact same criminal records regulations in this state as an RN license holds so I know I can be licenses right now.

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