I have a misdemeanor for marijuana possession from the year 2007. I am currently in medical school and would like to know if I get the misdemeanor expunged, will my expunged record show up on background checks done by Residency Programs when I look for residencies?
Criminal Defense Attorney
You need to understand expungement.....it is NOT "legal white-out." Your record currently shows an arrest and a conviction. If you apply for and obtain an expungement pursuant to 1203.4PC, of the conviction, your record will show that the conviction was withdrawn, and that the plea is now one of "not guilty", and, with a "not guilty" plea entered, the case is now "dismissed" in the interest of justice, pursuant to 1203.4 pc. So your record will show ALL OF THAT. The last computer imprint on your "wrap sheet' will show that the charge was dismissed in the interest of justice, with a "not guilty" plea on the record, so that your record will now reflect that you were not convicted of the charge. That's all ON THE RECORD, so anyone who can obtain your record, will see ALL THAT. I hope that helps............David Wallin
Criminal Defense Attorney
Typically, an expungement would only add a notation that your conviction has been dismissed to your record and your medical school would definitely know about it. However, marijuana possession records are automatically destroyed after two years, without you doing anything, pursuant to Penal Code section 11361.5 and even if they didn't properly destroy your records, no agency can use them against you pursuant to 11361.7. So, if your conviction was for simple possession and not possession with intent to sell, then you don't have do anything and you don't have to disclose the arrest or conviction. Good luck to you.
I concur with Mr. Pullman's analysis and write only to caution that you may not rely on CA law in any application for residency programs that will be submitted, distributed, or relied upon by programs outside of the state of CA. Other states are not bound by the laws re mj in CA, and most other states' statutory schemes do not share the features of the CA statutes that Mr. Pullman cited. You need to either limit the states in which you apply for residencies (and, as I understand the national application, selection and offer system, that may be difficult) or you will need to conform your application to the most exacting requirements of the various states. You do not want to be in a situation where you answer "no" as to convictions based on a provision of CA law, and then have other states conclude that you were fraudulent in your application. Your med school residency program coordinator or advisor is likely very familiar and experienced with this issue and can consult with you in detail about the usual practice for managing this issue.
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