How would a criminal record (while obtaining a Phd) affect one's academic career, if any at all?
Schools are in the business of selling their product, which is a package of training (courses) that should eventually lead to a degree that will enhance your employability. Unless you pose a threat to others, it is unlikely that they will turn down your money. Employers, on the other hand, will be more hands-off if a background check turns up criminality, and your degree may be severely diminished in value. Certainly, a school board would be unlikely to hire a teacher with past drug convictions, for example.
If the criminal record consists of victimless misdemeanors, it might be a good idea to consult with the state's clemency board to see if it would be possible to be pardoned and/or have the record expunged. This can take a lot of effort, but might be well worth it.
You should consult an attorney.
I was specifically thinking about gaining a career path into professorship with a criminal record at the start of their career. How damaging would that be? First it might restrict their travel to other countries which would be a big handicap to start with?
That's tricky. Before embarking on a doctorate with all the work and associated costs, it would be a good idea to consult a lawyer as TVP45 suggested and inquire about the feasibility of securing pardon/expungement of that criminal record. That can be an arduous task, unless you have connections to cut through the political red-tape. Violations of state law can be pardoned by Governors, but even then, the violations remain on the records (I believe) unless the records are expunged. You'll need a good lawyer to navigate your state's rules and regulations.
You're right to be concerned about travel restrictions. If you're in the US, and have a conviction for drunk driving, you might not even be allowed into Canada.
Define criminal record.
A record which says you have committed a crime. If you haven't committed any crimes according to the country you are in then you don't have a criminal record.
It can be be very bad. We had a professor who 10 or 20 years ago committed a sexual crime, went to prison, and then went to graduate school. He got two jobs easily enough, but recently, some people in the community found out about his record and demanded that he be moved to an office away from a local grade school.
He didn't lose his job, but he had to give up teaching, and now works in a downtown office doing admin stuff.
Why do you people say a lawyer is so important?
Are you suggesting a professor from the US with a conviction for drunk driving cannot travel to Canada to attend a day seminar?
A lawyer is essential for navigating the intricacies of each state's clemency program. It is probably a good idea to hook up with a well-connected lawyer who can cut through the political red-tape. He or she might need to be in tight with political functionaries, party leaders, and others to get a clemency appeal before the clemency board in a timely fashion, and to push for a favorable recommendation from that board to the governor. It really helps if the person on whose behalf the appeal is filed has been a model citizen and has been a stable productive member of society.
The reason to consult an attorney is this:
Many times the question will not be "Do you have a criminal record?", but rather "Have you ever been arrested?" or "Have you ever been convicted?". In at least some instances, a pardon (rare) or expungment (more common) does not free you from an answer of yes. Now, if in the process of employment, you wind up in military-related research and need even a minimal clearance, you may be subject to a felony charge for not answering the questions correctly. This is all tricky and complicated - thus the need for an attorney. People do recover from criminal records, but make sure you don't dig the hole deeper.
I am a very nieve person but why not just say everything honestly as what you think happened (without a lawyer) and let the judges judge?
Or are you people all talking about after being convicted and need a lawyer to clear the past history in some way or another?
Still I don't see why one would need a lawyer in a court. You will need them if you want to lie I guess. Sometimes the matters may be too complicated with the number of people involved that you need a lawyer because in that case everyone can cheat and easy to get away with especially if they have a good lawyer.
You have posed this problem without clarifying the situation. Tighten things up, and you may get better advice, though the advice you've gotten so far is pretty darned good.
Okay, since the OP isn't being very specific, how about we use this hypothetical situation until he clarifies.
What if a minor is caught in possession of alcohol at a busted house party? Or marijuana? How would these (common) cases affect one's future in academia?
for a minor and the "crime" isn't so serious that it's bumped into the adult criminal justice system, the answer is zero. your juvie record is not accessable to anyone doing a criminal background check.
Well. Sorry about that, I meant minor as in over 18, but not yet 21. So he would get an adult charge, and record.
i guess so.
because, at least in the U.S., our court system is adversarial. the other lawyer is interested in winning, not so much interested in justice (unless, of course, the two are equivalent in the case at hand).
you need a lawyer to make sure that the lies from people who want to screw you do not go unchallenged.
i once had a simple accident at an intersection in Burlington VT with 4-way stop signs for everyone. i pulled up to the stop sign, waited my turn, and then scooted (knowing that getting through the intersection would save everybody time). but the person (a 17 year old high school girl with a big important daddy) to my left thought it was her turn. she was on my left and plowed into the drivers side (right in front of my door). also, my car was clearly deflected from the straight path through the intersection and her car was not deflected hardly at all (do the ballistics on that, assuming little friction, or at least equal friction of sliding). and i had photos of the cars at the intersection before they were moved. on top of that she told the cop (who also asked her why she didn't yield) that she didn't see me because the sun was in her eyes, which was very plausible at that time of day.
but later (because of her own insurance issues) she lied her head off, including about the statement she made to the cop (who had left the Burlington PD after the accident and before the trial, but i got a statement from him) and, of course, who was in the intersection first. her insurance company (Nationwide) at first offered half (like it was equal fault) and then reneged on that. i took it to Small Claims Court thinking that no judge able to do any physics at all (or read the cop statement) could conclude that she entered the intersection before i did. and it would have to be significantly sooner, since i was on the right and she on the left.
now, by definition, the moment of impact was the same for both cars. my car was deflected a lot more than hers. so who was going faster at the instant of impact? what would that suggest regarding the average speed before impact (who had the faster average speed from stop sign to impact)? if the distances from stop sign to center of intersection are the same (they were), what does that tell you about who was in the intersection first?
but the judge (an older woman) didn't seem to care about physics or the fact that this kid's claim of "I don't know where they ever came up with that" (her "sun in my eyes" statement). she (her insurance company) had a lawyer and i did not. and even though the case shouldn't even have gotten to court (her insurance company should have simply paid me for my totalled car and been grateful that i didn't try to trump something up with bodily injury), i lost the case simply because of who's story the judge chose to believe.
that's why you need a lawyer. even for Small Claims. but especially for criminal court (unless it's small potatoes, like possession of cannabis, and you'll just plead it out). only if you like getting your anus reamed out should you go into the criminal justice system without a decent lawyer.
that's an interesting point i hadn't thought of. i'm 52, and growing up in North Dakota (which was always 21) close to Minnesota, they bumped the drinking age down to 18 when i was in high school.
anyway, that differential in age of responsibility is soooo problematic in the law (and it was even worse when 18 year olds couldn't vote). how can someone be a minor (a "child") under the law so that, solely because of their youth they cannot be entrusted to drink responsibly, yet, if they infract that law, they be treated as an adult?
i can think of so many other evils in the law, but none of us have the time.
Gotta love a justice system where justice happens only as a happy accident.
Especially when it's riddled with this nonsense.
I assume the chances of the two being equivalent is very rare?
So that is why you need a lawyer. However I suppose if you are dead honest then how can the lieing lawyer screw you up?
well, if it is the case that one party is "right" and the other "wrong", then the lawyer representing the "right" party is both seeking justice and what is in that party's interest. what is rare is when the lawyer, recognizing that his client (or the state, if he/she is a prosecuting attorney) is in the wrong, actually seeks justice. in the case where the lawyer is representing a person or private party (not the state), that lawyer's primary responsibility is to the client, but in the case of a criminal prosecution, it does society no good for the court to convict and punish the innocent, so a prosecuting attorney really is supposed to act to benefit the defendant ("in the interest of justice") when he/she realizes that such defendand is not guilty. but, usually, they are so caught up in their POV of the case that they can't bring themselves to admit their error.
how did OJ get off? how does a lying presidential candidate (W) get elected? they find ways.
I'm just saying that if you know you have done nothing wrong and stick to the facts then you will not be innocently declared guilty in every case. Correct?
I admit that the ones that know they broke the law and lied may get away.
Not correct. Also not very coherent.
Justice system is configured to: protect interests of wealthy/powerful parties, provide appearance of "correct/ideal" function to promote domestic tranquility. Neither of these is compatible with having a very high success rate of protecting the public, "reforming" actual criminals, or protecting the accused. The assumption is that arrested = guilty. You may have read cases occasionally where someone *condemned to execution* was proven innocent through DNA or the eventual confession of the actual guilty party. If you're innocent, you still need a competent lawyer to have a good chance of proving it.
It's a step up from mob justice and use of torturers, but it's hardly up to the ideals it purports to follow.
Absolutely not. I seem to have a generally higher opinion of the legal system than many here, but you should still go read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Earl_Gideon to see why having a lawyer is important and why you now have the right to insist that one be provided for you.
I've also been worried about this issue. I got a DUI last august. I spoke to my lawyer, and he said there was no way to get it taken off my record. I'm worried about it affecting my chances of getting into a good grad school. DUI is a misdemeanor, and (sadly) not extremely rare nowadays. I haven't had any other criminal violations. Do you think this would seriously bump me down on the list, or do graduate schools consider things like this minor?
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