Criminal Background Question

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chrisokc
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby chrisokc » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:01 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:But some applications to law schools & to state bars require the applicant to know the difference, although disclosure also is an honesty & integrity check.

I can't think of any of my applications that made it seem like it would matter if you called something a conviction that wasn't, or vice versa. If it asks only for convictions (rare), and you're unsure, just give them a brief narrative. Generally, they ask for a brief explanation of any yes answers anyway. There are times when it's not 100% certain whether or not something is a "conviction," even to the court clerk or the defendant's attorney. If there's a chance it's going to show up on a background check, put it on the application. That way if it does show up, you've disclosed it. You can have a deferred adjudication with an ultimate dismissal, but a guilty plea. Is that a "conviction?" You'll get differing opinions. But if you say, "Hey, here's what happened," you have disclosed it.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:04 pm

Some state employment laws only allow potential employers to ask about convictions. Some states are even more restrictive & limit employers to a certain time frame (such as 10 years) to inquire about convictions only.
Many types of applications only ask about convictions. In fact, the only applications that seem to ask more are law school & state bar applications. I've seen other state licensing apps only ask about convictions.
This can & will vary by jurisdiction (state by state & federal) thus it would be wise to know the difference. Some employers will, and should, reject an application that discloses too much just as law firms refuse resumes with the applicant's photograph to avoid discrimination claims.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Paraflam
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby Paraflam » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:09 pm

Since you have now addressed the correlation between shoplifting and "emotional issues" three times now, I will tell you that I do not have any emotional issues. It was a mistake I made as a teenager. Do I regret it? Sure. Should there have been consequences? Of course. But extrapolating that out to infer deep emotional issues as motives is a little extreme in my opinion and frankly irrelevant to this thread.

To address your question: Yes, I did have an attorney, who was the first person I called when I ran into this question on the application. I didn't ask specifics on what actually happened legally, though. I simply know that I was not convicted and that I was successfully discharged from my supervision sentence.

Edit: To be more precise, the charges were "dismissed". I'm not sure if that differs from "dropped".
Last edited by Paraflam on Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chrisokc
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby chrisokc » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:09 pm

With the job applications, I think you're a little safer dealing with technicalities. If a job application asks for convictions, I'd only give them something that I was sure was a conviction. Be more careful with the schools because that goes to the Bar.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:11 pm

Too bad as the emotional issues can be used as a mitigating factor. (Stress of a divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, parents separating, etc.

You should ask your attorney for the court filing showing the final disposition of the case. You may be lucky & get a "dismissal" or a finding of "not guilty" depending upon how that jurisdiction handles these matters. Good luck !

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Paraflam
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby Paraflam » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:22 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Too bad as the emotional issues can be used as a mitigating factor. (Stress of a divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, parents separating, etc.)


None of the above. I have no excuses, nor would I use any of those issues as justification had they occurred.

I will disclose it, I'm just wondering what would be the most tactful way to go about doing so. To "play it down", in other words. Simply disclose the arrest and say that the charges were ultimately dismissed?

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Paraflam
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby Paraflam » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:33 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Too bad as the emotional issues can be used as a mitigating factor. (Stress of a divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, parents separating, etc.

You should ask your attorney for the court filing showing the final disposition of the case. You may be lucky & get a "dismissal" or a finding of "not guilty" depending upon how that jurisdiction handles these matters. Good luck !


Here is the final disposition:

XX/XX/2011 ASA Miller prst. Deft excused. On mtn of the state, Deft succ. discharged from supervision and charge(s) are dismissed without judgment of conviction.

cartercl
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby cartercl » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:37 pm

Paraflam wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Too bad as the emotional issues can be used as a mitigating factor. (Stress of a divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, parents separating, etc.)


None of the above. I have no excuses, nor would I use any of those issues as justification had they occurred.

I will disclose it, I'm just wondering what would be the most tactful way to go about doing so. To "play it down", in other words. Simply disclose the arrest and say that the charges were ultimately dismissed?


I addressed exactly how you should do this back on page one. If you want an answer that coincides with your own opinion on how you should answer the question, why then are you asking others for help? I have done this several times on law school applications. You should follow the format I provided on page one and also include dates as Canadian indicated.

What you call "play it down," I call deception (Maybe not.) You have to go through the sequence of events in chronological order, from arrest to dismissal. That is how you properly disclose things on these types of applications. The facts imply that you were not convicted. There is no need for you to say this expressly.

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Paraflam
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby Paraflam » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:46 pm

cartercl wrote:I addressed exactly how you should do this back on page one. If you want an answer that coincides with your own opinion on how you should answer the question, why then are you asking others for help?

Clearly you are having trouble understanding the question I am asking in this thread, so I'm just going to disregard this post.
cartercl wrote:He's one of those people. No use in wasting our breath here. Let him try...

Glad you are able to pigeonhole me and make such broad conclusions about my intentions and overall personality based on two of my posts in this thread. Wish you the best of luck at William Mitchell or whichever toilet you decide on attending.

cartercl
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby cartercl » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:18 pm

You know what... I don't know why I'm even concerned. I understood your original question just fine, although I was mistaken on one fact: that you were not applying to law school but rather a summer program. Same rules of candor still apply dude. You stated yourself that you were willing to be dishonest in your original post so I didn't have to make any "broad conclusions" regarding your intentions. You did that yourself. Anyway, good luck bro.

BTW: I'd love for you to come to Louisiana and call LSU a toilet in front of any lawyer in this state.
Last edited by cartercl on Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Paraflam
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby Paraflam » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:26 pm

Did I hit a nerve with the TTT comment? Sorry, if so.

CanadianWolf wrote:You may be lucky & get a "dismissal"

Since the final disposition does state that the charge was dismissed, where does that put me?

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northwood
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby northwood » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:37 pm

Why this long discussion? Own up to it ( you were arrested for shoplifting), state what the result and punishment were, give dates and location ( city, etc) and leave it.

If you dont disclose, the consequences are much worse than if you do.

If you dont want to disclose it- dont go to law school, or be prepared to waste your time and money.

cartercl
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby cartercl » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:39 pm

Paraflam wrote:Did I hit a nerve with the TTT comment? Sorry, if so.

CanadianWolf wrote:You may be lucky & get a "dismissal"

Since the final disposition does state that the charge was dismissed, where does that put me?


Right. Because a reasonable person couldn't infer from your original post that you are willing to be dishonest to secure your slot in this program if necessary. Instead of addressing that, you attack me by mentioning the tier of a school I was accepted to. Sounds about right. I suppose you did rattle me with that one.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:50 pm

Posters are trying to help. You are in good shape with the dismissal adjudication, but you still must disclose the arrest, charge, conditions for dismissal & dismissal.

LSU is an interesting law school because it is the only US law school allowing one to graduate with degrees in both civil law & common law (similiar to world renowned McGill in Canada) and LSU is a gorgeous campus. Although I am not sure whether or not Tulane offers a similiar option or Loyola-New Orleans. To label LSU as anything other than a really strong law school in the nation's most interesting jurisdiction reveals a lack of knowledge & understanding. For one intending to practice in Louisiana or any other civil law jurisdiction, there is no better law school other than McGill in Montreal, Canada.

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Paraflam
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby Paraflam » Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:55 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:You are in good shape with the dismissal adjudication, but you still must disclose the arrest, charge, conditions for dismissal & dismissal.


Understood. I appreciate the help.

bjc314
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby bjc314 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:30 am

Paraflam wrote:I was thinking something like, "I was arrested for shoplifting but the charges were dropped without conviction." Or something to that effect. No?


^^^This makes it sound as if your charge was dropped prior to trial and is at best disingenuous, at worst dishonest. Why not just explain what happened, show that you've taken responsibility, and prove that you've learned from it? Your ability to be forthright speaks volumes about your present moral character, which is far more relevant to an admissions committee than something you did when you were 13.

I have far, far worse disclosures (including a felony) from when I was younger, and I've been admitted to every school that I likely would have been if didn't have criminal record, based on my numbers. I attribute 100 percent of my success to being completely candid and upfront about my past.

bartleby
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby bartleby » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:34 am

I have a felony. Wasn't convicted, but the charges were DEFINITELY not dropped. It just means the state declined to press charges - you admitted to guilt and had to do probation. Even employers can see this, too.

I treated it SU like I was convicted. I wrote "I received...this/that punishment in lieu of a conviction," but you have to treat it like a conviction. PM me for my addendum. It is long. I also attached some files from...my file...for their easy reference.

Re: the suggestion saying you were emotional - terrible idea. Then, they'd wonder, okay what happens if you get "emotional" again. Best way to play it in my opinion is to say you were stupid and immature as you plan on doing.

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rdcws000
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby rdcws000 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:42 pm

Some people tend to drastically overestimate the impact a misdemeanor, or even a felony for that matter will have on their app. They want to fight tooth and nail to keep it from being disclosed.

This misdemeanor (and many felonies) are almost entirely non-issues, as long as you:

1. fully disclose them
2. don't make excuses for them
3. don't try to downgrade them "This was deferred in court after almost being thrown out" "very minor" etc.

The exception to this is if the offense itself may directly conflict with the practice of law, such as crimes for extorting money from clients, etc. (there are probably more examples).

Hiding an offense, no matter how minor it is, can ruin your shot at law school, and the bar.

ceereeus420
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby ceereeus420 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:35 am

I recieved a conditional discharge in NJ for posession of marijuana a few years back. The question on an application's character and fitness is worded as follows:

Have you ever been convicted of or entered a plea of guilty or no contest to any violation of law other than minor traffic violations?

Do I have to disclose?

too old for this sh*
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby too old for this sh* » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:41 am

ceereeus420 wrote:I recieved a conditional discharge in NJ for posession of marijuana a few years back. The question on an application's character and fitness is worded as follows:

Have you ever been convicted of or entered a plea of guilty or no contest to any violation of law other than minor traffic violations?

Do I have to disclose?


If Conditional Discharge is anything akin to the Deferred Adjudication, then you likely entered a plea of GUILTY or NO CONTEST/NOLO CONTENDRE to a violation of law that was NOT a minor traffic violation...I think you can connect the dots from there.

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northwood
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby northwood » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:43 am

when in doubt- disclose

ceereeus420
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby ceereeus420 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:58 pm

I appreciate the advice, and I will definitely disclose the conditional discharge. The comments in this thread make me wonder if I need to disclose anything else. I was arrested for a DUI which was immediately dismissed in court because I was not, in fact, operating a motor vehicle. Is it a good idea to disclose arrests like that, even on applications that specifically ask for only convictions and guilty pleas, or would I be releasing too much information for no reason?

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northwood
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Re: Criminal Background Question

Postby northwood » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:16 pm

if it asks if you were arrested- then yes. disclose it. state teh facts and offer documents




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