Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

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monkeyboy
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Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby monkeyboy » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:54 am

A couple of speeding tickets, a couple of seatbelt tickets, and a fender bender over the course of a decade. Should explanation be necessary?

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chango
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby chango » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:09 am

monkeyboy wrote:A couple of speeding tickets, a couple of seatbelt tickets, and a fender bender over the course of a decade. Should explanation be necessary?



Yeah, I applied to a law school that asked about traffic violations too. I marked no, since they're no longer on my record, and really, wtf?

It was almost enough to scare me away from applying. What fracken busy-bodies. If they're worried about minor infractions, it makes me wonder what campus security there must be like.

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nick637
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby nick637 » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:14 am

Not sure how it is for your schools but I had a seatbelt and speeding ticket and had to disclose both with an addendum both are no longer on my record but still

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vanwinkle
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:18 am

They're not concerned about whether you had an accident, they're concerned about whether you broke the law. The law is ultimately about ethics and trust; whether you can be trusted with other people's money and other people's lives. In order to pass the bar there's a Character & Fitness (C&F) section that looks at your criminal history, including anything that's "off your record" or "expunged". They can and will find it!

What they're looking for is whether you were honest about your past, as a way of gauging whether you can be honest in the future. They don't care that you broke the law, they care about whether you can be honest about the fact that you broke the law when you did.

If you don't disclose to the school, then the bar will want to know why you lied to them (not answering a question, when you know an answer is expected, is a lie).

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monkeyboy
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby monkeyboy » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:22 am

vanwinkle wrote:They're not concerned about whether you had an accident, they're concerned about whether you broke the law. The law is ultimately about ethics and trust; whether you can be trusted with other people's money and other people's lives. In order to pass the bar there's a Character & Fitness (C&F) section that looks at your criminal history, including anything that's "off your record" or "expunged". They can and will find it!

What they're looking for is whether you were honest about your past, as a way of gauging whether you can be honest in the future. They don't care that you broke the law, they care about whether you can be honest about the fact that you broke the law when you did.

If you don't disclose to the school, then the bar will want to know why you lied to them (not answering a question, when you know an answer is expected, is a lie).


This makes sense. It's a test of one's ability to be forthright. OK.

An average of one infraction every 3 years isn't too ridiculous, but it certainly doesn't make me look good.

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chango
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby chango » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:22 am

nick637 wrote:Not sure how it is for your schools but I had a seatbelt and speeding ticket and had to disclose both with an addendum both are no longer on my record but still



Yeah, they wanted me to disclose it too, but I chose to pretend like they couldn't possibly want to know about an infraction that happened 15 years ago that didn't even appear on my insurance because I went to traffic school. And it's not like they could contradict me given that there's no record of the infraction.

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PDaddy
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby PDaddy » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:23 am

monkeyboy wrote:A couple of speeding tickets, a couple of seatbelt tickets, and a fender bender over the course of a decade. Should explanation be necessary?


Wisco and GWU make you disclose all, even though minor traffic offenses are not "crimes", they are "infractions". There are probably others, but not many.

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PDaddy
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby PDaddy » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:25 am

monkeyboy wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:They're not concerned about whether you had an accident, they're concerned about whether you broke the law. The law is ultimately about ethics and trust; whether you can be trusted with other people's money and other people's lives. In order to pass the bar there's a Character & Fitness (C&F) section that looks at your criminal history, including anything that's "off your record" or "expunged". They can and will find it!

What they're looking for is whether you were honest about your past, as a way of gauging whether you can be honest in the future. They don't care that you broke the law, they care about whether you can be honest about the fact that you broke the law when you did.

If you don't disclose to the school, then the bar will want to know why you lied to them (not answering a question, when you know an answer is expected, is a lie).


This makes sense. It's a test of one's ability to be forthright. OK.

An average of one infraction every 3 years isn't too ridiculous, but it certainly doesn't make me look good.


They don't even want to know whether or not you broke the law in most cases, but whether or not you will be forthright about it. That provides a window into trustworthiness.

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Lonagan
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby Lonagan » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:42 am

I have a hard time believing that minor traffic offenses will ever have an impact on C&F. I also doubt that traffic records provide a meaningful means of comparison between applicants. Requiring their disclosure is simply obnoxious.

Should we conclude that the vast majority of schools that do not require traffic violation disclosure are being negligent about C&F?

It would be reasonable for them to ask about suspended or revoked licenses. It is pretty hard to get your license suspended without engaging in either a pattern of irresponsible acts or a single very irresponsible act. That would be information that might have some reasonable bearing on either C&F or the comparative merits of applicants.

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existenz
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby existenz » Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:36 am

vanwinkle wrote:They're not concerned about whether you had an accident, they're concerned about whether you broke the law. The law is ultimately about ethics and trust; whether you can be trusted with other people's money and other people's lives. In order to pass the bar there's a Character & Fitness (C&F) section that looks at your criminal history, including anything that's "off your record" or "expunged". They can and will find it!

What they're looking for is whether you were honest about your past, as a way of gauging whether you can be honest in the future. They don't care that you broke the law, they care about whether you can be honest about the fact that you broke the law when you did.

If you don't disclose to the school, then the bar will want to know why you lied to them (not answering a question, when you know an answer is expected, is a lie).


Huh? Either they care of they don't. If they ask about it, and they don't say "except for minor traffic violations, then they DO care. And in 3-4 years, when the Bar looks over your answers on your law school app, it's kind of a big deal that you tell the truth.

chango wrote:Yeah, they wanted me to disclose it too, but I chose to pretend like they couldn't possibly want to know about an infraction that happened 15 years ago that didn't even appear on my insurance because I went to traffic school. And it's not like they could contradict me given that there's no record of the infraction.


Really dumb move there chango. If you disclose 15 year old traffic tickets, the adcomms will skip right past it and not even care. But when you fail to disclose it, you become a liar. Three years down the road this will not be fun for you when the Bar folks pull up your traffic record (even stuff you think is expunged) and ask why you lied on your law school app.

Most schools explicitly make exceptions for minor traffic violations. But for those that don't (NYU, Minnesota, Alabama come to mind), it is always smarter to just disclose it.They won't deny you admission because you went 15 mph too fast a decade ago.

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mb88
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby mb88 » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:11 am

chango wrote:
nick637 wrote:Not sure how it is for your schools but I had a seatbelt and speeding ticket and had to disclose both with an addendum both are no longer on my record but still



Yeah, they wanted me to disclose it too, but I chose to pretend like they couldn't possibly want to know about an infraction that happened 15 years ago that didn't even appear on my insurance because I went to traffic school. And it's not like they could contradict me given that there's no record of the infraction.



You better be damn sure that there's no record of it, buddy. Does your state/county have a policy of destroying records after a certain amount of years? If not, or you don't know, it's possible that there's still a little piece of paper floating around somewhere that's going to come back to bite you in the ass three years from now. Especially the traffic school part. You cite it as evidence that they can't find out about the infractions, but in all honesty it probably created a ton of paperwork.

The Bar can and will deny you entrance for lying. It's quite possibly their biggest pet peeve (hell, we've even got a murderer on the Bar here in Florida, but she didn't lie so she's A-Ok!). They're also renown for their ability to find every last scrap of paper in the country with your name on it.

You should probably fix this as soon as humanely possible.

lawschooliseasy
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby lawschooliseasy » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:30 am

Disclose, Disclose, Disclose!! The Bar is considered a branch of law enforcement with regard to records access. If you jaywalked eighty-five years ago, they'll probably find out about it.

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j.wellington
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby j.wellington » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:33 am

mb88 wrote:
chango wrote:
nick637 wrote:They're also renown for their ability to find every last scrap of paper in the country with your name on it.


I disclosed everything on my apps and will do the same for the bar, but can someone explain to me how it is that the bar can "find" expunged and sealed records? Once something is expunged or sealed, the court cannot release those records or documents to anyone but the defendant and his lawyer. It's stupid not to disclose, I agree, but I don't understand – legally – how to bar can have access to these things without your notarized consent.

gabewatch
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby gabewatch » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:34 am

yeah i didnt realize how important it is to disclose till after i submitted some applications. and some schools want everything, while others want just to know about your misdemeanors and felonies. i got really anxious about leaving out a minor violation to a handful of schools so i just emailed them saying i made a mistake on the application, and included the addendum as an attachment. the schools added it to my file, no problem, and it didnt affect my admission, but i def feel better about it for 3 years down the line.

yeahyeah2121
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby yeahyeah2121 » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:36 am

On one app I was asked what my cell phone carrier was and where/when I last voted? That one has taken the cake for me so far.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby pleasetryagain » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:39 am

yeahyeah2121 wrote:On one app I was asked what my cell phone carrier was and where/when I last voted? That one has taken the cake for me so far.


that sounds like more of a residency factor than C&F.

yeahyeah2121
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby yeahyeah2121 » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:52 am

Well yes, but just trying to demonstrate that you should just answer every question that they ask you no matter how strange it may seem. I was also sort of curiously hoping for an explanation regarding the cell carrier question. Makes a little more sense when looking to establish residency, just caught me a bit off guard.

PoliticalJunkie
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:19 pm

Yeah i hated this question, but had to put down yes since I have a couple suspensions on my record from about 9 years ago.

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chango
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby chango » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:03 pm

mb88 wrote:
chango wrote:
nick637 wrote:Not sure how it is for your schools but I had a seatbelt and speeding ticket and had to disclose both with an addendum both are no longer on my record but still



Yeah, they wanted me to disclose it too, but I chose to pretend like they couldn't possibly want to know about an infraction that happened 15 years ago that didn't even appear on my insurance because I went to traffic school. And it's not like they could contradict me given that there's no record of the infraction.



You better be damn sure that there's no record of it, buddy. Does your state/county have a policy of destroying records after a certain amount of years? If not, or you don't know, it's possible that there's still a little piece of paper floating around somewhere that's going to come back to bite you in the ass three years from now. Especially the traffic school part. You cite it as evidence that they can't find out about the infractions, but in all honesty it probably created a ton of paperwork.

The Bar can and will deny you entrance for lying. It's quite possibly their biggest pet peeve (hell, we've even got a murderer on the Bar here in Florida, but she didn't lie so she's A-Ok!). They're also renown for their ability to find every last scrap of paper in the country with your name on it.

You should probably fix this as soon as humanely possible.


True. I'll withdraw my application in protest for them asking such a lame question. BTW, being called "buddy" by a stranger is mega-annoying.

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roundabout
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby roundabout » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:06 pm

Yeah, it was not fun explaining the two incidents where I have driven into inanimate objects . . . both no longer on my record as are over five years ago, but definitely worthwhile to err on the side of more disclosure.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby pleasetryagain » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:08 pm

roundabout wrote:Yeah, it was not fun explaining the two incidents where I have driven into inanimate objects . . . both no longer on my record as are over five years ago, but definitely worthwhile to err on the side of more disclosure.


can we get an explanation on those incidents? how does that happen twice? my apologies in advance if they were legit accidents.

ScaredWorkedBored
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:23 pm

It's an honesty check. Unless you have a drunk driving problem, there's no way it impacts your admission chances. What it does impact is your Character & Fitness disclosures to the bar.

The state where I received tickets does regular record purges of both driver's license and circuit court records for traffic offenses. I still mentioned that I had received them (even though I don't remember a thing about them).

-

It seems to me that the C&F part of the application does a very good job of challenging those with suspect character. Will you lie/fudge/lawyer for advantage in admission or won't you? Decisions, decisions.

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chango
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby chango » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:50 pm

ScaredWorkedBored wrote:It's an honesty check. Unless you have a drunk driving problem, there's no way it impacts your admission chances. What it does impact is your Character & Fitness disclosures to the bar.

The state where I received tickets does regular record purges of both driver's license and circuit court records for traffic offenses. I still mentioned that I had received them (even though I don't remember a thing about them).

-

It seems to me that the C&F part of the application does a very good job of challenging those with suspect character. Will you lie/fudge/lawyer for advantage in admission or won't you? Decisions, decisions.



This is assuming that the motivation for lying/fudging is because you think it will be an advantage in admission. It would take a special kind of ignorance to think a speeding ticket would be a reason for denial. No, the main reason to fudge is laziness: writing an addendum detailing a traffic violation is a colossal waste of time. They may think they're testing for honesty by asking the question, but what they're really testing for is anal retentiveness.

Any law school that professes an interest in my traffic violations doesn't deserve my application fee, especially considering how poorly ranked it is.

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mb88
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby mb88 » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:29 pm

chango wrote: What fracken busy-bodies. If they're worried about minor infractions, it makes me wonder what campus security there must be like.


chango wrote:...but I chose to pretend like they couldn't possibly want to know about an infraction that happened 15 years ago that didn't even appear on my insurance because I went to traffic school.


chango wrote:They may think they're testing for honesty by asking the question, but what they're really testing for is anal retentiveness.


I won't call you buddy this time, but I honestly suggest you take a long, hard look at your motivations for law school. Just what, exactly, do you think the law is? The profession you have chosen for yourself revolves around these minute details you're currently shrugging off as meaningless. Your future clients will depend on your "anal retentiveness".
Last edited by mb88 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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existenz
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Re: Why Do We Have To Write An Addendum For Traffic Offenses?

Postby existenz » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:36 pm

chango wrote:Any law school that professes an interest in my traffic violations doesn't deserve my application fee, especially considering how poorly ranked it is.


Yes, because NYU and Penn (two schools that do want to know about traffic violations) are so poorly ranked.




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