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On an application form for PhD programs in Florida, they ask:

  • "Have you recieved disciplinary action?"
  • "Have you ever been arrested for, been convicted of, or entered a plea of "guilty" or "nolo contendre" (No contest) to a crime (excluding traffic offenses not involving death or serious bodily injury), or been adjudicated or required to register as a sex offender?

My friend that is asking was arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) with serious body injury. She is not sure if that is a Traffic Offense or a Criminal Offense.

Has anyone else experienced, or have good information pertaining to this question?

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    A traffic offense would typically be something that resulted in a ticket (e.g. speeding) that you pay or, perhaps, go to traffic court. A DUI is decidedly a criminal offense that you can be prosecuted for in real (non-traffic) court. – Jon Custer Sep 22 '15 at 18:17
  • Thats what where were thinking aswell. Thank you for the valuable comment. – Hector Sep 22 '15 at 18:17
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    The exclusion is strictly limited to offenses not involving death or serious bodily injury... Clearly your friend cannot use the exclusion, and therefore must report that arrest on the application. – Ben Voigt Sep 22 '15 at 20:38
  • @JonCuster Can you please turn this comment into an answer? – jakebeal Sep 23 '15 at 2:43
  • The answer to the question depends upon the specific state/jurisdiction where your friend was arrested. – Richard Erickson Dec 7 '17 at 13:48
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A traffic offense would typically be something that resulted in a ticket (e.g. speeding) that you pay or, perhaps, go to traffic court. A DUI is decidedly a criminal offense that you can be prosecuted for in real (non-traffic) court.

As an aside, when you have a security clearance you absolutely must report arrests, but usually they will also explicitly mention a dollar value for traffic tickets, above which you must also report.

Good luck to your friend. They will need to be able to clearly explain the situation and the resolution.

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    Believe it or not in Florida a DUI is a traffic offense. A very serious one that can carry jail time but still a traffic offense but your friend has the bodily injury component that will change facts as it clearly states bodily injury. Report. – If you do not know- just GIS Sep 24 '15 at 2:14
  • While I can understand at some level that a DUI is a traffic offense (its driving after all), I strongly suspect that that is not the intent of the question, though - the arrest for DUI (with bodily injury) is rather different from getting a ticket for 5 over in a 30 zone... – Jon Custer Sep 24 '15 at 15:49
  • As another counter example to "DUI is decidedly a criminal offense" is Wisconsin. The first OWI is (sadly) not a criminal offense. It's only a civil traffic violation. – Richard Erickson Dec 7 '17 at 13:47
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I'd check whether it was even legal to require this information (maybe it is, I don't know US law); in many states in the world it is illegal to require this information from people in a government-regulated organization except when strictly necessary.

If you can't get around it, tell your friend she can say "no". At worst she can claim to have made an honest mistake and you could take responsibility for having given her incorrect advice (to get her off the hook at her school).

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