More arrests than I can count

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Gareth Dream
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More arrests than I can count

Postby Gareth Dream » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:54 am

So I have a NUMBER of alcohol-related arrests in my past. It started before I was 21 with a couple minor in possession of alcohol charges. That was a pre-cursor. Then in about a 3-month period I had some serious problems. Had two DUIs and in this short stretch of time was picked up several times for drunk in public. I was arrested for these but never charged with anything. Basically spent the night in the drunk tank and let out next morning. I'm not exactly sure how many times this happened -- maybe about 6 (I remember one of the guards referred to me as a regular). Fortunately, the second DUI was the last arrest and I've been out of trouble for seven years.

So how will schools look at this? I clearly have a horrible alcohol problem, which I've been able to recover from. I have also been diagnosed and treating for depression, which I believe was closely tied to the drinking problems. I would definitely address these things in my P.S., though I'd rather not make it the focus if I don't have to. Will law schools still give me a chance?

Would appreciate any insights here

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Zapatero
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Zapatero » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:59 am

I've heard of applicants with similar or worse criminal records being accepted into solid programs. Obviously this will not help your application, but there's not much you can do about it at this point. If you've been clean for seven years, at least you've shown that you managed to overcome your problems. Just be honest about it, and hope for the best.

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vanwinkle
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:00 am

You've been clean for seven years. That's good, probably how you want to end whatever you say, to leave them with the idea that you've matured since then. That said, you don't have to spend your PS on this if you don't want to; disclose it in a separate addendum that addresses your past criminal history.

Keep it brief and as factual as possible. It's better to point out facts that let them infer you're more mature now, they'll figure it out on your own. Pointing out that you've not been arrested since 2003 is good; rambling about maturity and how you look forward to proving yourself in law school is bad.

Disclosure is often the name of the game here. Schools are concerned about C&F issues, but typically will overlook things as long as 1) there has been a significant law-abiding period since then to demonstrate you respect the law now and 2) you have properly disclosed everything. If you can add that you've been through any kind of rehab or help program to get you over your alcohol problem that would probably reinforce point #1 rather well.

I recommend you read this to give you guidance on how to write an addendum: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=86526 Yours will be a bit longer than the examples there because you have multiple offenses to disclose, but that will hopefully help you understand the best tone that you can take with your disclosure.

Good luck.

hotdoglaw
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby hotdoglaw » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:01 am

--ImageRemoved-- that's probably the best advice you'll ever get

Gareth Dream
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Gareth Dream » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:14 am

Thanks ccs and van winkle. To be clear I haven't applied yet. Just thinking about next year and wanted to make sure this wasn't a total barrier before I proceed.

My other question is: Am I gonna need to list the exact number of these arrests with dates, or can I just say there were several of these arrests in this window of time? If it's the former, I got some serious research to do :roll:

qualster
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby qualster » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:15 am

If your name is Gareth Dream, you probably have nothing to worry about. That is one of the coolest names I've ever heard.

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Zapatero
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Zapatero » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:18 am

Gareth Dream wrote:Thanks ccs and van winkle. To be clear I haven't applied yet. Just thinking about next year and wanted to make sure this wasn't a total barrier before I proceed.

My other question is: Am I gonna need to list the exact number of these arrests with dates, or can I just say there were several of these arrests in this window of time? If it's the former, I got some serious research to do :roll:


The former would probably be the best route. If you choose to lump them together, it might seem as though you're trying to dance around it, and they'll most likely ask for the specifics of the more serious charges anyway. It might be a pain in the ass, but the prudent move is to do the research.

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vanwinkle
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:27 am

Gareth Dream wrote:My other question is: Am I gonna need to list the exact number of these arrests with dates, or can I just say there were several of these arrests in this window of time? If it's the former, I got some serious research to do :roll:

I would at a minimum make clear exactly how many arrests there were. You should distinguish each of them from each other individually (offense and month/year), if possible.

Gareth Dream
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Gareth Dream » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:47 am

Appreciate it. I certainly know the number of arrests for which there were charges, and the dates to the month. However, it's the nights in the drunk tank I kind of lost track of. Honestly, I had just as many nights in the E.R. during this period. At that time it was 50/50 decision whether I'd be in the E.R. or downtown.

If your name is Gareth Dream, you probably have nothing to worry about. That is one of the coolest names I've ever heard.


It's an anagram of my actual name. Glad you like it though

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Zapatero
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Zapatero » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:54 am

Gareth Dream wrote:Appreciate it. I certainly know the number of arrests for which there were charges, and the dates to the month. However, it's the nights in the drunk tank I kind of lost track of. Honestly, I had just as many nights in the E.R. during this period. At that time it was 50/50 decision whether I'd be in the E.R. or downtown.

If your name is Gareth Dream, you probably have nothing to worry about. That is one of the coolest names I've ever heard.


It's an anagram of my actual name. Glad you like it though


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Mosca
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Mosca » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:59 am

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Last edited by Mosca on Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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stratocophic
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby stratocophic » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:01 am

Mosca wrote:
ccs1702 wrote:
Gareth Dream wrote:Appreciate it. I certainly know the number of arrests for which there were charges, and the dates to the month. However, it's the nights in the drunk tank I kind of lost track of. Honestly, I had just as many nights in the E.R. during this period. At that time it was 50/50 decision whether I'd be in the E.R. or downtown.

If your name is Gareth Dream, you probably have nothing to worry about. That is one of the coolest names I've ever heard.


It's an anagram of my actual name. Glad you like it though


Martha Greed
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Garth Reamed


Darth Meager (Sith lord of ITE)

Mosca
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Mosca » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:15 am

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Last edited by Mosca on Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ScaredWorkedBored
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby ScaredWorkedBored » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:28 pm

The number of arrests for the same thing put enormous red flags on substance abuse issues. I would recommend you consult with a lawyer who does C&F in the state you want to practice in. Evidence of past or present addiction is a bar character & fitness concern.

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sanpiero
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby sanpiero » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:39 pm

Ted Grahamer

Mr. Pablo
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Mr. Pablo » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:05 pm

ScaredWorkedBored wrote:The number of arrests for the same thing put enormous red flags on substance abuse issues. I would recommend you consult with a lawyer who does C&F in the state you want to practice in. Evidence of past or present addiction is a bar character & fitness concern.

This can not be stated strongly enough. Whatever state you think you want to practice in, look at that state's Bar Assoc rules and guidelines on this topic. You may have to prove that you have done something substantive to overcome your substance abuse (counseling, AA, whatever).
All (maybe some don't, but I doubt it) law school apps have a section where they ask you to disclose any arrests, charges, convictions, etc... You should start getting all your ducks in a row now so that you are not panicking ten months from now trying to put all that crap together. I was never in that situation, so I'm not sure where you wold look to figure out the exact time, date, and nature of your arrests and the outcomes of those arrests.
Talk to a lawyer.

solidsnake
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby solidsnake » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:18 pm

You should call any and all police stations at which you have been processed and see if you can pick up a copy of your records. Ditto for any and all courthouses. From what I understand, you can still beat C&F (time mitigates almost all issues), but the more upfront and factual you are on your disclosures, the better. That means listing dates, etc.

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Matthies
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Matthies » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:35 pm

I had two DUIs a couple of public intox, minor in possession ect. Like you there was a good 7-8 years since the last time I got in trouble and applying to LS. Wrote an addendum, took responsibility for everything, but for most of it I talked about how those incidents made me change my life for the better.

So in a 1 page single spaced addendum, 1/3 was about that bad, 2/3 about the good. Don’t think it affected my law apps in a negative way at all, the addendum may have helped since it flesh out who I was in addition to my PS.

Just finished going through the bar application process twice, they said nothing about my arrests but did send me a letter requesting me to send them a notarized form explaining why I never changed my drivers lic over to the state I went to school in. Random. But for bar app you will need every scrap of paper you can find about all your arrests, everything, so start digging now and keep the file till you have to complete your application. If you don’t they will request it and hold you bar app until you get it (and may not let you take the bar, or if they do not lic you until they have what they want for your app), or a letter from the court saying they have no records for you for those incidents. So start getting that shit now and you will thank me in 3-4 years.

I’m taking the bar on tues/wed, but feel free to IM me after that if you have any questions.

too old for this sh*
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby too old for this sh* » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:19 pm

Do not presume that an arrest that results in a release the next morning carried no charge...we have many clients where those PI arrests were, in fact, charged as PI and resolved via credit for time served.

The upside (if there is one to those sorts of arrests) is that they rarely appear in the NCIC and state-equivalent computers...the only way to find them is to know the agency in question that made the arrest or to check local jurisdiction computers.

Cannot speak to impact on getting licensed, although I have known individuals that had Bar ramifications for substance abuse concerns AFTER being licensed. They are still practicing now after having gone through rehab programs...

kasparov
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby kasparov » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:25 pm

Megadeatherr

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MURPH
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby MURPH » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:32 pm

I would not mention the depression in your PS. Try to stick to one problem that alone explains everything. And then discuss the evidence that the problem is gone: Alcoholic, then years of soberiety. Throwing other problems into the mix doesn't add anything positive and will only give the adcoms additional reasons to doubt you can hack law school.

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vanwinkle
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:33 pm

MURPH wrote:I would not mention the depression in your PS. Try to stick to one problem that alone explains everything. And then discuss the evidence that the problem is gone: Alcoholic, then years of soberiety. Throwing other problems into the mix doesn't add anything positive and will only give the adcoms additional reasons to doubt you can hack law school.

I concur with this.

Mr. Pablo
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Mr. Pablo » Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:37 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
MURPH wrote:I would not mention the depression in your PS. Try to stick to one problem that alone explains everything. And then discuss the evidence that the problem is gone: Alcoholic, then years of soberiety. Throwing other problems into the mix doesn't add anything positive and will only give the adcoms additional reasons to doubt you can hack law school.

I concur with this.

I also concur. Motion passed.

Gareth Dream
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Gareth Dream » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:21 am

Mr. Pablo wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
MURPH wrote:I would not mention the depression in your PS. Try to stick to one problem that alone explains everything. And then discuss the evidence that the problem is gone: Alcoholic, then years of soberiety. Throwing other problems into the mix doesn't add anything positive and will only give the adcoms additional reasons to doubt you can hack law school.

I concur with this.

I also concur. Motion passed.


Really? I was hoping that it would create a little more sympathy for these indiscretions and perhaps put them in less of a criminal light. I've basically written my addendum. But if everyone really thinks that's a bad idea, I'll scrap it.

The number of arrests for the same thing put enormous red flags on substance abuse issues. I would recommend you consult with a lawyer who does C&F in the state you want to practice in. Evidence of past or present addiction is a bar character & fitness concern


That's a little upsetting. The fact that I had an alcohol problem at age 21 (and before) could be a character and fitness issue? I really don't know which state I plan to practice in. I'm someone whose willing to uproot and go to the best school I can get into or whichever regional school can give me the best deal. So are there any states I should avoid?

Thanks for all the advice everyone

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Lonagan
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Re: More arrests than I can count

Postby Lonagan » Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:25 am

Gareth Dream wrote:
That's a little upsetting. The fact that I had an alcohol problem at age 21 (and before) could be a character and fitness issue? I really don't know which state I plan to practice in. I'm someone whose willing to uproot and go to the best school I can get into or whichever regional school can give me the best deal. So are there any states I should avoid?

Thanks for all the advice everyone


I will preface my statement by saying I don't know you or your situation. However, if you had an alcoholism problem then, you have one now. Whether that applies to you or not isn't for me to say. It is the first thing that popped into my mind though, and others might think the same. The only reason I mention this is that you might consider working any adenda or other explanations of your situation in a manner that reflects an understanding of the need for ongoing awareness of this problem, as opposed to simply saying it is in the past. Even if it is completely in the past, you might consider taking that approach. It may help prevent people from wondering whether this will reappear at a later date.

Anyway, just my thoughts. You know yourself better than anyone here.




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