When I was 19, I plead no contest to public intoxication. I was not officially "arrested" or so I'm told (all I received was a citation and was sent home with my parents). When I appeared in court for this claim they gave me my punishment (fine, service, suspension of license, courses, etc...) and told me that if I did not receive another alcohol-related offense before I turned 21, it would be expunged from my record. I didn't. Since then, I am finishing up medical school and applying to residency and filling out an application for my physician-in-training permit. On the application it says to disclose any arrests/convictions and states that "I though it had been expunged" is not a valid argument for finding something. Should I report this incident or deny any criminal background? Thanks!
On a note, I was doing some further reading and it says that it is my responsibility to find out if my record has been expunged. How would I go about doing this in a prompt manner? I need to submit this form in the relatively near future. Thank you so much for your help.
Banking Law Attorney
Congrats on moving to the next phase of your training. Assuming you are talking about a Texas citation, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) uses a TX DPS criminal record searches to screen candidates. You could start by creating an account and taking a look at the link provided. Its generally best to disclose when in doubt. Smaller offenses involving no "moral turpitude", are often given little weight in the decision making process... But if you don't disclose, and they find out later, it can call into question your honesty... which they can make a big deal about. If you need any further help with this, feel free to contact me. I frequently represent residents in San Antonio.
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DUI / DWI Attorney
I would say yes. Cases are never automatically expunged. Even if it was dismissed at the end of a deferred disposition, it will show up. You don't want to come across as lying if you fail to report it and they find out about it. I highly doubt it will matter to the Board.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
I doubt it will be that big a deal to them, unless they have some reason to think you have an ongoing ptoblem with alcohol. But di you know, what the court told you was not quite accurate, and your case records are almost certainly still around. Cases just don't get expunged "automatically".
To get that done, you'd have to go back to the court that the case was in, tell them what the situation is, that you're over 21 now, got no other alcohol-related convictions while a minor, and that you now need an expunction. There's a $30 fee, and it's an easy procedure.
That's all assuming it was a conviction--if you got deferred disposition, the judge may make you get the expunction from a district court, which is a lot more complicated. I know that doesn't make much sense, but that's the way the Code of Criminal Procedure and Alcoholic Beverage Code have things set up, and the only way to get a deferred disposition case expunged in JP or municipal court is for the judge to just say to hell with what the law says, you know, that's just dumb--we're gonna do it here. Some judges will, they're just not "supposed to". It's definitely worth asking for an expunction there first, though, because its a whole lot cheaper, easier, and faster. Good luck.