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How do I "correctly" disclose an ACD that was dismissed over 10 years ago?

New York, NY |

I was charged for petit larceny at my prior university. I will be applying for professional licensure; physician. The questions on the application require that I report only convictions but obviously they will find out about the ACD being a government agency. I am thinking to include the certificate of disposition with an explanation. The PROBLEM:

1.) In the explanation do I admit to guilt: (Even though an ACD is NOT an admission of guilt OR innocence) Making me look like I am owning up to the problem but potentially as someone lacking moral turpitude. OR

2.) Explain it as a misunderstanding: Potentially making me look like I am not owning up to it.

I WILL seek legal advice but in the mean time I would appreciate some peace of mind. Thank you for your help.

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Attorney answers 5


I know you WILL seek legal counsel, but you really should be doing that as a first course. My reflexive answer would be to disclose and explain, rather than explain later why you did not disclose, however, an attorney experienced with this particularly licensing procedure might well have a different (and more correct) opinion. If it makes you feel better, I don't think this issue will be a major obstacle to licensure, but I wouldn't want to you screw it up, so best to get an attorney to walk you through it. May be the best money you ever spent.


Employment attorneysay have a different view but you should respond to questions asked. If there is no question pertaining to the issue it would seem a viable option is to keep the matter to yourself. Good luck.

I have been a criminal attorney in New York for almost 25 years. website: Phone #: 718-208-6094 email: This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.


I'm not sure a governmental agency will see the case. It is sealed and the only exceptions in the statute are applications to become a police officer or for a gun license. That said, a truthful explanation is that you got arrested and the case was dismissed.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


Frankly, you've meandered with these questions for a couple of weeks now on this site, and you should really seek the advice of an attorney who does professional discipline cases. S/he will be able to drill down to your situation and know from experience what to do. You should not be "shot gunning" for such an important matter.

If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.


The question being asked on your application concerns convictions, not accusations. You should simply answer the question honestly by saying "No".

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