Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

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lafemmeriante
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Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby lafemmeriante » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:25 pm

So four years ago I got in some trouble in the town I went to college in. I was never arrested, but charges were pressed for a fifth degree felony involving fraud. Basically it was alleged that I forged a scrip and tried to fraudulently obtain pain killers (I was issued a scrip, they said I tried to change the number of pills. For what it's worth I didn't do it, but that is really irrelevant at this point).

Under (what I now realize was BAD) advice from my attorney, I pled guilty, with the plea held in abeyance until I finished alcohol and drug programs. I was discharged from the programs fairly quickly (I didn't have a drug or alcohol problem), and then my plea - and, to my understanding, the case - was thrown out. However, it still shows up on my record.

Realistically, what are the chances that I'll get in anywhere? I've never been in trouble (not even a traffic ticket!) before or since, and I'm planning on getting the record sealed/expunged within the next six months. I've got a semi-low GPA - the semester that this occurred was a bad one for me, obviously - and decent (164) LSAT score.

Someone please help me out!

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Lonagan
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby Lonagan » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:39 pm

This seems hard to believe. "They" said you changed it when you didn't? Seems like it should have been very easy for you to get the doctor to say it was a valid prescription.

sarahh
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby sarahh » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:45 pm

You could probably find a school somewhere that would accept you, but before you go to law school, I would find out if this will prevent you from passing the character and fitness portion of the bar. Having a felony involving fraud, especially when your explanation is that you did not do it but pled guilty anyway, could be a major problem. Call the body that handles C&F in the state you want to practice in or a lawyer that specializes in this.

lafemmeriante
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby lafemmeriante » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:00 pm

Lonagan wrote:This seems hard to believe. "They" said you changed it when you didn't? Seems like it should have been very easy for you to get the doctor to say it was a valid prescription.


Lonagan, at this point it hardly matters what anyone believes...it's been years, and I've moved on. My family and friends know I'm not the type of person that would do this, so what do I care what some random forum person thinks? (not to be mean, that's just my honest outlook)

But just so you don't think I'm sketchy and lying, my original scrip was for 15 pills (after a car accident), and when I went to pick it up a police officer was there saying I tried to get 75 because several pens that were floating around my bag had marked it up (in varying colors, it was clearly accidental). They called the doctor, who confirmed that I should have had a scrip, but that it should have been for 15 pills. That's where the trouble started (also, as a point of information, I called the doctor's office the day before I filled the scrip to ask if I could get a new one, because mine was all marked up. It's noted in my file).

Anyway, I took bad advice from a lawyer who took $5k from me and did almost nothing, and pled guilty just to get it over and done with. Since then, three other attorneys have all said I should have fought it, that it would have been easy to get off, but I just wanted it to be done. I was young and scared and not as informed as I am now.

lafemmeriante
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby lafemmeriante » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:02 pm

sarahhope82 wrote:You could probably find a school somewhere that would accept you, but before you go to law school, I would find out if this will prevent you from passing the character and fitness portion of the bar. Having a felony involving fraud, especially when your explanation is that you did not do it but pled guilty anyway, could be a major problem. Call the body that handles C&F in the state you want to practice in or a lawyer that specializes in this.


Sorry if this seems naive or just plain dumb, but what is C&F? Would you recommend talking to someone at the state bar office?

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speedyj88
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby speedyj88 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:05 pm

lafemmeriante wrote:
sarahhope82 wrote:You could probably find a school somewhere that would accept you, but before you go to law school, I would find out if this will prevent you from passing the character and fitness portion of the bar. Having a felony involving fraud, especially when your explanation is that you did not do it but pled guilty anyway, could be a major problem. Call the body that handles C&F in the state you want to practice in or a lawyer that specializes in this.


Sorry if this seems naive or just plain dumb, but what is C&F? Would you recommend talking to someone at the state bar office?

Character and Fitness

sarahh
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby sarahh » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:14 pm

lafemmeriante wrote: Would you recommend talking to someone at the state bar office?


Yes. In addition to passing the actual bar exam, you have to be deemed "moral". You don't want to spend three years in law school and not be able to practice as a lawyer.

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Marionberry
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby Marionberry » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:33 pm

Applying with this explanation is unrealistic. As someone who is intimately familiar with many elements of the kind of situation you're talking about, you're explanation is at best unconvincing. And it does matter what people believe, because if people don't believe your explanation they are going to be less likely to admit you to their law school.

It sounds like you were not convicted, so at many schools you will not need to disclose this information, though you may have to disclose it to the Bar in your state.

You were discharged from the alcohol/drug programs early? Was this considered a successful discharge? If this was a licensed treatment facility, they probably wouldn't have allowed you to admit without determining whether or not they thought you met criteria for a dependence diagnosis. If you were not discharged successfully, this would not reflect well on your story.

So, bottom line, you would have to disclose this incident at many schools. At many, provided that you were never actually convicted, you wouldn't. So you can probably get into a decent school for your numbers. Passing the bar, however, will depend on what state you live in. If you do end up having to disclose this thing to someone, you will need to be completely honest about what happened.

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IzziesGal
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby IzziesGal » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:39 pm

I think you guys are exaggerating the significance of this offense. 1st, I'd look to see if you can get this expunged somehow, just to solidify your assertion that it wasn't a big deal. 2nd, call your state bar and talk to a C&F rep, like someone else suggested. They will give you meaningful feedback. All anyone on TLS can do is speculate, which won't get you anywhere closer to having the peace of mind it sounds like you need.

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Marionberry
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby Marionberry » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:44 pm

IzziesGal wrote:I think you guys are exaggerating the significance of this offense. 1st, I'd look to see if you can get this expunged somehow, just to solidify your assertion that it wasn't a big deal. 2nd, call your state bar and talk to a C&F rep, like someone else suggested. They will give you meaningful feedback. All anyone on TLS can do is speculate, which won't get you anywhere closer to having the peace of mind it sounds like you need.


It's a felony charge involving fraud for someone who is hoping to apply to law schools. It's significant.

More significant than the offense itself, however, is whether or not it is disclosed, and whether or not the applicant is perceived to be honest and straightforward in their disclosure.

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swilson215
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby swilson215 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:03 pm

I'm with Izzies. I've heard of quite a few people with different lower degree felonies or mutliple misdemeanors being admitted to schools and even the bars in their respective states, but it's been on a case by case basis. You should contact your state bar and see what they say. Like others said, it probably helps that your plea was thrown out and you weren't convicted, and that you can get this expunged, but I would still disclose it. Better safe than sorry, and if there's a discrepancy between your application to law school and reality, the state bar won't look kindly on you.

AP-375
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby AP-375 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:06 pm

From adcomm interviews that I have heard and read, you can definitely still go to law school with this. The main thing that I have heard stressed repeatedly is that you must be open and honest. Then, explain to the reader what positive things you have done to move past this. Yeah, it might be a ding on your app, but it won't preclude you from attending law school somewhere.

I hope you find this helpful.
http://lawschoolinteractive.com/black-m ... lications/

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Lonagan
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby Lonagan » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:07 pm

lafemmeriante wrote:
Lonagan wrote:This seems hard to believe. "They" said you changed it when you didn't? Seems like it should have been very easy for you to get the doctor to say it was a valid prescription.


Lonagan, at this point it hardly matters what anyone believes...it's been years, and I've moved on. My family and friends know I'm not the type of person that would do this, so what do I care what some random forum person thinks? (not to be mean, that's just my honest outlook)

But just so you don't think I'm sketchy and lying, my original scrip was for 15 pills (after a car accident), and when I went to pick it up a police officer was there saying I tried to get 75 because several pens that were floating around my bag had marked it up (in varying colors, it was clearly accidental). They called the doctor, who confirmed that I should have had a scrip, but that it should have been for 15 pills. That's where the trouble started (also, as a point of information, I called the doctor's office the day before I filled the scrip to ask if I could get a new one, because mine was all marked up. It's noted in my file).

Anyway, I took bad advice from a lawyer who took $5k from me and did almost nothing, and pled guilty just to get it over and done with. Since then, three other attorneys have all said I should have fought it, that it would have been easy to get off, but I just wanted it to be done. I was young and scared and not as informed as I am now.


Eh, your story still sounds pretty implausible. And while it is nice, in a Hallmark card kind of way, that your family thinks the world of you, it does actually matter what other people think. Namely: adcomms, character and fitness examiners, hiring partners, etc. So, while you are correct that it does not matter in the slightest what some people on the internet think, your overall attitude combined with the story will likely not get you very far. That is unfortunate, because to the extent your story is true it is not an insurmountable obstacle.

Anyway, best of luck.

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Drummingreg
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby Drummingreg » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:16 pm

lafemmeriante wrote:But just so you don't think I'm sketchy and lying, my original scrip was for 15 pills (after a car accident), and when I went to pick it up a police officer was there saying I tried to get 75 because several pens that were floating around my bag had marked it up (in varying colors, it was clearly accidental).

Why was there a cop at a pharmacy?

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ahduth
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby ahduth » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:44 am

Drop the "I didn't do it" caveat and just go with it. If you'll notice, that's the main part people are getting worked up over here. Forging a scrip is very different than defrauding someone for money. With the successful completion of the rehab program, it really doesn't come off like you're some sort of evil criminal mastermind.

The "I didn't do it" part casts it in an entirely different light. However much you might want to explain to people that you'd really never do something like this... just leave it alone. State the facts, and move on. People make mistakes, it's when we think you're lying to us that we start to have a problem.

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Mike12188
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby Mike12188 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:01 pm

You def. did it. That is the most unrealistic story I've ever heard. I guess at least you got caught there as opposed to getting caught selling perks to your frat buddies.

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paratactical
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby paratactical » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:21 pm

Marionberry wrote:You were discharged from the alcohol/drug programs early? Was this considered a successful discharge? If this was a licensed treatment facility, they probably wouldn't have allowed you to admit without determining whether or not they thought you met criteria for a dependence diagnosis. If you were not discharged successfully, this would not reflect well on your story.


FYI, most times when you do alcohol or drug programs to toss out charges like this, they aren't at some kind of hopsital or licensed facility. IME, they can be as silly as an online lesson with a test at the end, or group sessions of other people going through the same expungment process or just private therapy. It's not like they lock you up in a hospital for this kind of stuff.

lafemmeriante
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby lafemmeriante » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:06 pm

xxx
Last edited by lafemmeriante on Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Marionberry
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby Marionberry » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:35 pm

paratactical wrote:
Marionberry wrote:You were discharged from the alcohol/drug programs early? Was this considered a successful discharge? If this was a licensed treatment facility, they probably wouldn't have allowed you to admit without determining whether or not they thought you met criteria for a dependence diagnosis. If you were not discharged successfully, this would not reflect well on your story.


FYI, most times when you do alcohol or drug programs to toss out charges like this, they aren't at some kind of hopsital or licensed facility. IME, they can be as silly as an online lesson with a test at the end, or group sessions of other people going through the same expungment process or just private therapy. It's not like they lock you up in a hospital for this kind of stuff.


Uh, not to be contentious what are you basing this off of? Maybe this varies from state to state, but I work in a clinical drug and alcohol treatment facility. Quite possibly more than half of the patientswe get are referred by the criminal justice system. Now, if it's a first DWI or you accept a probation/deferred adjudication deal, maybe mandatory alcohol/drug education classes are all that will be required. But for a dismissal of a felony charge? The judge or prosecutor is propbably going to want the person to do treatment. It's not a "lock you up" kind of thing, but completion of a treatment program will likely be required to get a charge like this dismissed. Treatment doesn't have to be inpatient/residential, either. An intensive outpatient program (10 hours a week/6 weeks) is treatment too, it just doesn't interrupt your whole life.

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paratactical
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby paratactical » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:38 pm

Marionberry wrote:Now, if it's a first DWI or you accept a probation/deferred adjudication deal, maybe mandatory alcohol/drug education classes are all that will be required. But for a dismissal of a felony charge?


Um, the OP says that he plead guilty and then it was deferred until completion and is now expunged. That sounds like what you're saying, despite it being a felony charge.

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Marionberry
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby Marionberry » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:53 pm

OP said that he enetered a plead "in abeyance", which basically is a deferred prosecution wherein if the person complies with everything the judge or prosecutor wants them to do, their charges are dismissed without a conviction. Expunction is a separate process, which involves the elimination of all records of the arrest or charge ever occurring. OP stated that he had not attempted to have the charge expunged yet. Deffered adjudication, in Texas at least, results in a conviction but allows someone to avoid jail. The relatively less desirable outcome of a deferred adjudication type arrangement is why they are going to be less demanding about what measures the person takes to get "rehabilitated".

So, again, this may very well vary from state to state. But the more lenient the sentencing or arrangement, the more likely the person is going to have to complete a treatment program.

I'm not usually one to argue pointless issues on TLS, but I happen to have directly and closely observed someone get arrested for felony prescription fraud, get it dismissed, and get it expunged. Its not nearly as simple a process as a lot of people seem to think it is, and prescription fraud is generally considered a very serious offense.

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YCrevolution
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby YCrevolution » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:16 pm

..

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abarrios
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby abarrios » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:23 pm

Are you still prescribed to the pills? It would probably help in an addendum if you were able to explain that you are not prescribed to any drugs. And Crevolution is right that the 'I didn't do it' story won't fly.

I think that the best advice you will get is to talk to your state bar.

I'm sure you can get accepted somewhere with those numbers. However, I am a bit more optimistic than most others because I will be applying with 6 misdemeanors on my record.

lafemmeriante
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby lafemmeriante » Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:22 pm

YCrevolution wrote:It matters because:
A. Law schools will require you to explain what happened when you apply. The "I didn't do it" approach isn't going to reassure schools that you won't be a repeat offender (in which case, they will reject you).
B. C&F is also going to require you to explain what happened. Again, the "I didn't do it" approach is not going to improve your chances of being admitted to the bar.


I agree. I'm not saying that. I'm obviously not going to copy and paste my original post into an addendum and hand it to an adcomm without further explanation. I just didn't feel the need to specific in setting it up for a forum post, that's all. I don't need advice (right now) on how to approach laying this out for law schools or state bars. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to be rejected out of hand for this.

It seems like the general consensus is while it won't be easy getting an adcomm to see past this incident, it wouldn't be an automatic rejection - the adcomms will at least look at my application. That's what I was worrying about.

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romothesavior
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Re: Is it realistic to apply with this on my record?

Postby romothesavior » Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:39 pm

OP, I know it doesn't matter necessarily what we individually think of you, but the overall fact that none of us really believe this highly implausible story does matter. You story is not going to convince an adcomm or a C&F person, if it came down to it. They're going to hear this explanation and throw on their lolwut faces.

With that said, I don't think it is an outright rejection type of issue. I'd write an addendum saying that it was a stupid mistake in the past rather than trying to explain it away, because no one is going to believe you.




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