How can I be sure what a criminal background check will turn up?

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How can I be sure what a criminal background check will turn up?

Approximately 3years ago I pled to charges under MCL 333.4711, and completed all probation asked of me. Around the same time, I also had a OWI and completed that probation as well (I got off early for good behavior). I’ve learned my lessen and cleaned up my act. Now I am going to school for my BSN, and need a background check for part of our RN licensure. What will a criminal background check show? I was told by my lawyer I can legally say “no” when asked if I was ever charged with any serious offenses. Is this true? I don’t want to lie and have the board think I have no ethics.

Asked on September 28, 2010 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should be very proud of yourself for coming this far and turning your life around and you are so right to be thinking of the future and what will appear from your past.  The best way to find out what will show up on a background check is to run one on yourself.  It is really that simple.   Once you have that information take the printout to a criminal defense attorney that specializes in "exungement" or sealing records and see if your offenses qualify for the procedure at this point in time.   Rememebr that arrests also need to be expunged or sealed and not just convictions or plea bargains.  And also remember that certain organizations can see prior criminal activity even after it is sealed or expunged. Background checks by State Education Departments that certify teachers is one institution that comes to mind.  And it would not surprise me that the department that certifies nurses - who deal with people all te time - was another.  I would think long and hard about how to couch what happened in a positive light and consider letting the board know.  But you should discuss this with the attorney as well. Good luck. 


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