Sordid history - disclosure advice

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sordidhistory
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:43 pm

Sordid history - disclosure advice

Postby sordidhistory » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:16 pm

Hi all, long time lurker here hoping to get some advice from you all on how to disclose to schools I've already applied to. As a juvenile I was caught shoplifting and my case was dismissed after a deferred adjudication. No criminal record or convictions. At first I didn't disclose this on any of my applications since most just ask for convictionrs. Re-reading though, I noticed that Columbia says that you must also include diversionary programs. Though I'm not sure if what I got is a diversionary program (am going to call the county court Tuesday), I really think I need to disclose. But the problem is I already sent in my app. Ugh. I know when in doubt always disclose, but I was not in doubt until now. From the moment I got the disposition, all law enforcement and lawyers have told me it's not a conviction and was not something I should disclose.
I know this sounds bad, but is there any way I can recover from this? Send addendum now, and get rejected from trying to cover up in the first place? Send addendum after I get admitted, if at all, and get my offer rescinded? Looks like I put myself between a rock and a hard place. Maybe I will best be a cautionary tale for future applicants. Also, off chance anyone out there knows the difference between a deferred adjudication and a diversionary program? Is the former a kind of the latter? Appreciate your thoughts.

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Rowinguy2009
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Re: Sordid history - disclosure advice

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:25 pm

I would say call your county court as soon as possible to find out if what happened to you counts as a diversionary program. If it does not, then I think it is safe to assume you don't have to disclose. If it does, send an addendum as soon as possible saying that you didn't understand that your incident qualified as a diversionary program, apologize, and things will probably be alright.

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Vincent Vega
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Re: Sordid history - disclosure advice

Postby Vincent Vega » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:27 pm

You should disclose whether you are required to or not. A dismissed shoplifting charge from your youth will not prevent you from getting you in anywhere.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Sordid history - disclosure advice

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:31 pm

Deferred adjudications and diversionary programs are similar, but not always the same.

In a deferred adjudication, you plead guilty, but the court defers sentencing and basically says if you don't get in trouble over the next six months, one year, or whatever, that it will be dropped from your record.

A diversionary program is similar (i.e., you plead guilty, but any jail or probation is suspended), but in addition you are obligated to complete some sort of counseling program (drug treatment, anger management, defensive driving, etc).

I don't know which apps require you to disclose what, but the answer is when in doubt, disclose. I'm not an expert and you should probably get another opinion, but I could see how either of the above could be considered a "conviction."

I would recommend sending in an addendum ASAP to all schools explaining that when you were applying you did not understand that your shoplifting arrest might count as a conviction for disclosure purposes, and then briefly explaining what happened. It's such a minor incident so far in the past that I can't imagine anyone would make a fuss about it.

sordidhistory
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:43 pm

Re: Sordid history - disclosure advice

Postby sordidhistory » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:40 pm

Appreciate the solid advice so far, everyone. Seems clear that I need to disclose to be on the safe side regardless of the legal definition of things. Will try to amend this by sending an addendum.

Do any of you know what kind of detail I am supposed to include when it's something like shoplifting? (i.e. date, dollar amount, city/town, type of store). Sorry to bombard with questions; my search on this was not too helpful.

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kn6542
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Re: Sordid history - disclosure advice

Postby kn6542 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:47 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:Deferred adjudications and diversionary programs are similar, but not always the same.

In a deferred adjudication, you plead guilty, but the court defers sentencing and basically says if you don't get in trouble over the next six months, one year, or whatever, that it will be dropped from your record.


It's not "dropped from your record" (that would be an expungement), but you are allowed to withdraw your guilty plea when the deferment period is over and there is no conviction. You may or may not be able to expunge proceedings from the record at that point.

imchuckbass58 wrote:A diversionary program is similar (i.e., you plead guilty, but any jail or probation is suspended), but in addition you are obligated to complete some sort of counseling program (drug treatment, anger management, defensive driving, etc).

I don't know which apps require you to disclose what, but the answer is when in doubt, disclose. I'm not an expert and you should probably get another opinion, but I could see how either of the above could be considered a "conviction."
it.

No, it's not. A deferred judgement is not a conviction. I repeat. it is, simply, NOT a conviction. If the app just asks for convictions, it needn't be disclosed. It MIGHT be considered a "diversionary program" if you had any conditions placed upon you, i.e. restitution, counseling, etc. However, not all jurisdictions have these programs, and chances are, if you never heard the word "diversion" during your short sprint through the system, it wasn't a diversionary program. Communities that have these like to babble on about them at great length. You would've heard about it.

You may want to disclose regardless of whether it's required, however, because when the bar does it's C&F, they WILL have access to expunged records, any record of deferred adjudications proceedings, etc. They will then ask you about it, and you might just feel more at ease knowing you disclosed it on your app and aren't behaving as if you have anything to hide. It isn't likely to give you any trouble. At least I don't think so, but I tend to assume that most people have shoplifted some stupid thing at some time in their youth. I also think everyone has lived in their car at least once, so what do I know?




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