Pending conversion charge in Indiana?

  1. I'm currently a hair stylist in Indiana and considering switching careers and going to nursing school. I feel a calling and am really excited to go. The only thing holding me back is a pending "criminal conversion" charge (petty theft) from over a year ago that I'm still fighting. (My lawyer said I could either wait it out to get it knocked down to an ordinance violation or go into a deferral program, where it would still be pending for a year).

    I was arrested for stealing a swim suit (arrested for "theft" which is a felony, the next day it was knocked down to "criminal conversion" which is just a misdemeanor).... it was a reeeeaaaally stupid thing to do and I regret it terribly almost every day since it happened. I'm so scared to even start school after reading these threads about how hard of a time it is for someone with a criminal background to get hired or even licensed. My sister just graduated with her RN and thinks that as long as it wasn't anything drug-related I should be okay. But it seems like I'll have to jump through hoops either way just to get my license and even still may not be able to obtain a job.

    Should I even begin nursing school? I'm so tired of being just a hair stylist and want a career where I can make a real difference in the lives of others. I just feel so held back from one completely stupid mistake that I'm paying greatly for already. Can anyone out there help me or offer any advice?
  2. Visit karaelaine profile page

    About karaelaine

    Joined: May '11; Posts: 1


  3. by   Tiger747
    A fellow Hoosier!

    I have to tell you, do not even think about going to nursing school until this criminal charge is finalized.

    I can tell you for a fact that if you get stuck with a misdemeanoryou will most likely have to appear before the ISBON before they will let you take your NCLEX. They will probably have no problem letting you take the NCLEX and you will receive a probationary license when you pass your boards.

    Here is the problem: finding a job. If you get stuck with a probationary license, forget it unless you know someone with enough pull to get you hired. Even without a probationary license, I am not so sure in this economy and with the changing perceptions of misdemeanors (I'll explain in a minute) most places will even hire a nurse (or a cashier) in Indiana with any kind of criminal past.

    I am telling you all of this from hard, cruel experience, as I have a misdemeanor battery from 2001 and graduated at the top of my nursing class; and yet, after 8 months and 150+ applications have only had 3 interviews. I am presented of my neighborhood committee, a substitute teacher for all the local schools,and an established tax preparer. Owned the same house and phone number for 25 years and always paid my bills. Stable, but who cares.

    I consulted many attorneys. Nothing to do. Indiana no longer allows expungements, period. So that is out. My personal attorney told me it was a waste of time even looking for employent as a nurse, especially with a probationary licenses. The most important thing I wish to communicate to you is this: the premier attorney in downtown Indianapolis for expungements in the past who I approached to see about a governor's pardon told me that employers currently see misdemeanors as felonies. In other words, "But it's only a misdemeanor" no longer holds true. This is not so in Germany, for example, where the majority of my family lives, or maybe even in some U.S. states....yet. But it is coming fast.

    With gun to head under threat of death, the only job I think of one could get with any kind of criminal past, is trucking. Perhaps bartenders, strippers, tattoo artists. You see my point.

    I wish you the best of luck, my friend. The only thing worse than not becoming a nurse if you want to be one is becoming one and not being able to find a job. Why? Because you have to spend every day explaining to everyone around you what is wrong with you that you are'nt working as a nurse.
  4. by   ParkerBC,MSN,RN
    I would encourage you to visit the Indiana State Board of Nursing's website. If you look for the "Board Meeting Minutes", you will see all of the individuals who appeared before the board along with their criminal history information. This will help you get a feeling of how our board decides cases. Don't forget that they are decided on an individual basis. Don't forget too that although you may be able to participate in a conversion program, you will still be required to check "yes" on the application. The reason is because you technically pled guilty to the charge.
    Good luck to you!
  5. by   BirdylouRN
    Hello, I would like to share my own story because when I got into a mess I read so many post that lead me to believe there wasn't hope. About a year into Nursing school I got a theft charge. I had never been in trouble in my life and prided myself on what a good citizen I am.. .lol I had stopped and picked up 13 bricks from the edge of town that had been sitting for years and were covered in dirt and grass. I thought it was a shame and sought to make something of them. I was going to make a flower bed in my back yard. It was the middle of the day and my actions were out in the open. A police man came by and said that the bricks were the cities and charged me with theft. I felt my world was over and after reading everyone's post on message boards was certain of it! Eventually the charge was dismissed and I had the charge expunged. Again the internet and persistent Googling led me to believe just having a charge made me hopeless and even though it was expunged the board would see it.

    Happy Ending - The board never saw my charge! It didn't even show up on the FBI and BCI background check. I received my Approval To Test and an offer for a great job before I was even licensed in Ohio.

    If God put it on your heart to be a nurse then you should be a nurse. Pray about and take the legal steps you can to make good on your actions and God will see you through!!
  6. by   Meriwhen
    I agree: get your criminal case settled first before you even attempt nursing school, both for your own piece of mind as well as to get your record to the best position that you possibly can. If you don't want to feel like you've wasted a a year waiting, you can take some of your pre-reqs now.

    Best of luck.