I have a simple misdemeanor (5th degree Theft, the lowest degree theft possible) on my record. As it happens, I didn't even really commit the act, I just happened to be shopping with someone who did commit it and I was charged as well - even though I had no merchandise on me that I didn't pay for, I was there and the store claimed that I could have used my friend's bag to steal items, so the items wouldn't be on my person. Whatever. I plead guilty because I was told by my lawyer (court appointed) that if my friend were found guilty, I would most likely be found guilty as well. They had video of her stealing (but not of me stealing, though I was in the video there wasn't any footage of me stealing) and even though I didn't see her stealing, I was still an accessory. I ended up being charged with 5th Degree Theft (714.2(5)). There is nothing on the record that states I was an accessory, it just says simple misdemeanor, 5th degree theft. The incident occurred and was sentenced in November of 2007. I paid my fines. I ended up being fingerprinted at the police station, but I wasn't arrested.
The school did several background checks before we started clinical - Dependent Adult Abuse checks, Child Abuse Checks, Sex Offender Checks, and and Iowa Criminal Record Check. All of my records came up clean - I know, because we were all allowed to see our own when they received them. Every one of them says, "No record found". I've also had a few employment background checks since then and they've all come up clean.
For the NCLEX, the state of Iowa does an FBI Criminal Background Check with fingerprinting. They also do a state check. Even though previous checks have come back clear, I'm pretty sure that this one won't.
So, I have to submit a copy of the court record along with a written assessment of my life before, at the time of, and after the conviction. I'm debating on what to say. If you didn't know me or this story, and you looked at the court record, you would think that I committed 5th Degree Theft - not that I was an accessory. So, I wonder if whoever reviews these things would think I was trying to lie or make myself look good if I told them what really happened? We all have heard that most criminals claim innocence - I'm afraid if I say that I never stole anything, that I was just at the wrong place and the wrong time, they'll just think I'm lying. Or, should I just avoid the subject and admit wrongdoing, but not actually say that I stole something. I don't want to admit to something I didn't do, but I don't want them to think I'm a liar and not allow me to sit for the boards.