Advice on addendum to arrest

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leonw
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Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby leonw » Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:55 pm

I would like to ask for advice on my addendum for an arrest charge. I have yet to apply and incorporate this into my essays (still debating on whether or not to do so), but I figured since I will be asked about this, I should have this prepared in advance. I'm terrified that because this charge was relatively recent, this would completely disqualify me this year, but I'm hoping that because it was an honest mistake and because it has been dismissed and will be expunged, it won't be too big a problem. I remain completely truthful in my addendum and expect to remain truthful while filling out the rest of my application. If I could get some help on getting this across in my addendum/application in general, I would truly appreciate it:

On November xx, 2009, I was arrested and charged of theft. I had gone to the store to pick up last-minute items and food for a party. Because I did not find a cart readily available, after I made my selections, I put a few of the smaller items in a tote that I had carried into the store and, in my haste, forgot to pay for them while paying for the other items I had in my arms. It was not until I was stopped at the door that I realized I had neglected to pay for the smaller items in my tote.

I explained the events to the DA and my attorney. The DA agreed to dismiss the charge completely upon my successful completion of a few terms, including performing community service. The charge has since been dismissed, and I am currently in the process of having the arrest and charge expunged. I accept responsibility for my careless action and am extremely sorry for my poor judgment. This painful experience has taught me that I must be more aware and more careful of my actions and how they represent me. I have also learned that the comission of any crime, even those that are unintentional, have very serious consequences that can put my dreams and aspirations as a future professional in jeopardy and can question my honesty and integrity. Thus, this mistake is and will remain an isolated incident.


I'm not sure how much more detail I should go into this. I thought about adding specific information about my work with underprivileged children as part of my community service, but I am still working on adding that in more fluidly. I am truly remorseful for having shoplifted, but since it was completely unintentional, I'm not sure how to address it any further than this.

Thank you for any helpful input.
Last edited by leonw on Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

PoliticalJunkie
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:58 pm

Disclose.

leonw
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:48 pm

Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby leonw » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:02 am

PoliticalJunkie wrote:Disclose.


Oh I have every intention of disclosing this when asked about a charge or arrest. I'm just wondering if I should bring attention to this in my personal statements and essays.

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gardners2
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby gardners2 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:05 am

leonw wrote:
PoliticalJunkie wrote:Disclose.


Oh I have every intention of disclosing this when asked about a charge or arrest. I'm just wondering if I should bring attention to this in my personal statements and essays.


Your personal statement is a place to bring out anything positive. Put it in an addendum. That addendum will be asked of you anyway on any law school application.

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philip.platt
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby philip.platt » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:11 am

change "tote" to "bag"

tote is a word that really sticks out - - you want to be fluid in those comments

leonw
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby leonw » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:13 am

gardners2 wrote:
leonw wrote:
PoliticalJunkie wrote:Disclose.


Oh I have every intention of disclosing this when asked about a charge or arrest. I'm just wondering if I should bring attention to this in my personal statements and essays.


Your personal statement is a place to bring out anything positive. Put it in an addendum. That addendum will be asked of you anyway on any law school application.


Thank you! I will leave this out of my personal statement then.

I would like to work on this addendum so that it best represents the event and my true character.

And thank you, I will change 'tote' to 'bag'.

Lolschool
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby Lolschool » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:23 am

why are you saying that you were hosting a party? seems like unnecessary information that could possibly be misconstrued. you could just as easily say you were tight on time

leonw
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby leonw » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:28 am

Lolschool wrote:why are you saying that you were hosting a party? seems like unnecessary information that could possibly be misconstrued. you could just as easily say you were tight on time


I see how this could be misconstrued. It was actually a family get-together, and I decided to go into specifics because I felt that by saying I was tight on time would be more of an excuse than an explanation of the circumstances. I will replace 'party' with 'family event'.

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goawaybee
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby goawaybee » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:32 am

leonw wrote:. I will replace 'party' with 'family event'.

wise move IMO.

leonw wrote:On November xx, 2009, I was arrested and charged of theft. I had gone to the store to pick up last-minute items and food for a party. Because I did not find a cart readily available, after I made my selections, I put a few of the smaller items in a tote that I had carried into the store and, in my haste, forgot to pay for them while paying for the other items I had in my arms. It was not until I was stopped at the door that I realized I had neglected to pay for the smaller items in my tote.

I explained the events to the DA and my attorney. The DA agreed to dismiss the charge completely upon my successful completion of a few terms, including performing community service. The charge has since been dismissed, and I am currently in the process of having the arrest and charge expunged. I accept responsibility for my careless action and am extremely sorry for my poor judgment. This painful experience has taught me that I must be more aware and more careful of my actions and how they represent me. I have also learned that the comission of any crime, even those that are unintentional, have very serious consequences that can put my dreams and aspirations as a future professional in jeopardy and can question my honesty and integrity. Thus, this mistake is and will remain an isolated incident.


----my take----

I had gone to store to pick up last-minute items for family get together. I was pressed for time and ran through the store as fast as possible. Upon exiting the store I was stopped at the door and realized I had neglected to extract items from a tote I had placed them in since I forgot to make use of cart/hand basket due to being preoccupied with time.

not that what I have written above is what should be submitted but I would give a little background as to the sequence of events and not stick all the guilt/excuses up front. Walk them through the process just as you went through it. Comes off a bit more natural IMO and not like it was as calculated.

-
in this portion stress knowledge gained and how it is NOW applied in your life and may aid you in your career.

After working with my attorney and DA who were both understanding blah blah. I now realize that even unintentional acts can have extremely negative outcomes (or something to that effect) I think by stressing MY dreams and aspirations you are limiting this to YOU. The overall take away should be focused on the impacts of any similar action and how it can result in a negative outcome for you or any member of society yadda yadda. May seem harmless but I am now much more aware and have learned to slow down and be conscious of each and every action and potential outcome. Def. point out how it can take a person who is ultimately honest/with great deal of integrity and put them in a negative situation when examined by outsiders, you have now been on that side of the line...

I would attempt to focus on the big picture and how YOU have learned, moving forward it may aid you in your career, by being a victim of my own lack of self-awareness or some such.

just a few puntos.

LoyolaLaw2012
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby LoyolaLaw2012 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:46 am

Definitely put in an addendum. I think you wisely took full responsibility.

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CG614
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby CG614 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:53 am

Something is a little off to me. Did you try to explain this to the store manager and pay for the items? Why were charges formally pressed? I bring up these questions that I have because Adcoms may have them too. I think you do a good job taking responsibility, but they may question the circumstances. So maybe add a line about how you tried to explain the mistake to the store manager, but he decided to press charges anyway... I don't know.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:17 am

The addendum in your original post reads well & shows honesty, remorse and acceptance of responsibility. I would not change a word as sincerity is an important aspect of this disclosure.
As for the DA imposing a penalty of community service for a "dismissed" charge, it is inappropriate if the finding was either an outright dismissal or a pretrial determination of "not guilty". Reads as if you plead "nolo contendre" & received a first time offender sentence which included dismissal & expungement after completing your sentence of community service.
As a sidenote : There are attorneys that specialize in shoplifting cases. Based upon the facts shared in your post, your case might have been easily dismissed as intent is an element of this crime in most or all jurisdictions. Although not contained in the posted facts, it might complicate matters if the items in your tote were the most expensive items that you "purchased", especially if you did not have adequate funds on your person at the time.

leonw
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Re: Advice on addendum to arrest

Postby leonw » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:54 am

Thanks for all the advice so far. You have all been extremely helpful.

To CG614: I explained it to the store manager and the loss prevention officers who stopped me. They were polite but told me that because they saw me purposefully put items in my tote "as an act of concealment," there was nothing they could do, and policy dictated that they press charges. I'm not sure how to work this into my addendum without drawing even further negative attention to my actions though so I left it out.

To CanadianWolf: It was part of a pretrial diversion agreement between the DA and me. I would perform 24 hours of community service and informally check in with a member of the court every month. I also took an anti-shoplifting course. I know this sounds suspiciously like a deferred adjudication which would result in a guilty plea that was adjudicated, but my contract with the DA specifically states that I am not found guilty at any time, that taking this agreement is not an omission of guilt, and that I will be eligible for expunction after a certain period of time. I had not entered a nolo contendre plea - I pled not guilty.

I actually had more than enough, both in my bank account and on my person, to pay for the entire transaction. I had considered taking my matter through to trial, but given that I did in fact conceal items, my lawyer and I thought a pretrial diversion served in my best interest. The DA had specifically come to me with this agreement and told me that this was the best her superiors would allow her to offer.




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