Traffic crimes and law school applications

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NiccoloA
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Traffic crimes and law school applications

Postby NiccoloA » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:06 pm

I hope that this is the right place for this question, I'm new so forgive me for stumbling into the wrong place with annoying and mostly specific questions that probably only pertain to a few (maybe one other person and myself).

Anyways, I live in Illinois and if anyone is familiar with the Illinois traffic laws, they're pretty strict. I've gotten dinged quite a few times for traffic violations. Anyways, I've been suspended twice now, once for a month when I was 16 and then again late last year at 20.

Will this be taken into consideration for my law applications? If so, should I write an addendum?


I should probably add that the traffic violations have all been pretty minor, a few accidents, not wearing a seat belt, speeding, but I was also caught driving while suspended when I was 16 (I did not know at the time that I was driving that I was suspended, I know that isn't a legal excuse but it counters any opinions about my character that you may have if you assumed I just did not care about it).

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minnbills
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Re: Traffic crimes and law school applications

Postby minnbills » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:13 pm

If the applications request disclosure on traffic violations, disclose. If they don't specifically mention it, you should e-mail them asking about it- or otherwise ask people who are informed about that school's particular policy.

If you do disclose, don't lie or try and paint a rosier picture. Just be concise and say what happened accurately. Don't dwell on it too long- they're just traffic issues.

Keep in mind that pretty much everybody has traffic issues, plus there are people with felonies who get accepted, so don't worry; it's not a big deal at all.

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NiccoloA
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Re: Traffic crimes and law school applications

Postby NiccoloA » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:24 pm

Thanks, mate. I appreciate the quick response. :mrgreen:

molawn
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Re: Traffic crimes and law school applications

Postby molawn » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:55 pm

The general idea is that you must disclose everything, even minor violations. Why even minor violations? Because a substantial amount of minor violations can reveal a pattern of disobedience toward the law. Some schools, however, do not require full disclosure. So you should read the application. Also, you should reveal everything from the onset because when you apply with your state bar, you'll be required to fully disclose everything. The last thing you want when that happens is evidence that you didn't disclose everything in your law school application. If that happens, you're facing having to pay back all your loans without any chance of doing so with your lawyer bucks.

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NiccoloA
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Re: Traffic crimes and law school applications

Postby NiccoloA » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:14 pm

molawn wrote:The general idea is that you must disclose everything, even minor violations. Why even minor violations? Because a substantial amount of minor violations can reveal a pattern of disobedience toward the law. Some schools, however, do not require full disclosure. So you should read the application. Also, you should reveal everything from the onset because when you apply with your state bar, you'll be required to fully disclose everything. The last thing you want when that happens is evidence that you didn't disclose everything in your law school application. If that happens, you're facing having to pay back all your loans without any chance of doing so with your lawyer bucks.

So how would you suggest I put that in an application?

FAR262
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Re: Traffic crimes and law school applications

Postby FAR262 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:26 pm

I've applied to 12 schools and I'm pretty sure every one of them excluded "minor traffic violations" when asking questions about past convictions/charges.

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NiccoloA
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Re: Traffic crimes and law school applications

Postby NiccoloA » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:57 pm

FAR262 wrote:I've applied to 12 schools and I'm pretty sure every one of them excluded "minor traffic violations" when asking questions about past convictions/charges.


That's true, I see that on all of the applications - to clarify I'm not applying until this fall, so I'm only researching now - but I think that license suspension is more than a minor traffic violation, and especially as I was 16 at the time that I was arrested for driving with a suspended license, I feel like it's only right that I address it. I would not feel right about misleading the law school to think that I am as clean as a whistle.


Also, for anyone still reading, in high school (15) I was handcuffed and taken to a juvenile detention center for a fight. I'm uncertain as to whether this counts as an arrest, especially given I was so young, but I was thinking that I should address that too in an addendum.


Since then, my only problems have been traffic violations, which have been quite daunting for me. I'm currently serving a suspension right now - obediently, I might add. Illinois is pretty hard on drivers under the age of 21. Two violations in two years and it counts for a suspension against the driver.

That's the law, and I made a mistake, but I can see that I've benefited for it as a person. I've maintained a job while I've also been in school. It's embarrassing and difficult to find rides to and from, to walk in the snow to get to an unrewarding minimum wage job to help pay for school, but I do it.

If nothing else that shows determination, if not stupid stubbornness.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Traffic crimes and law school applications

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:03 pm

Not all schools exclude minor traffic violations in the arrests/convictions section of their apps. I had at least one school specifically include minor traffic violations (I still think it still excluded parking tickets). Make sure you read each app very carefully, don't assume they all say the same thing, and disclose exactly what they want you to disclose.

If you are in doubt, you can always call a school's admissions office and ask for clarification (anonymously).

molawn
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Re: Traffic crimes and law school applications

Postby molawn » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:29 am

NiccoloA wrote:
molawn wrote:The general idea is that you must disclose everything, even minor violations. Why even minor violations? Because a substantial amount of minor violations can reveal a pattern of disobedience toward the law. Some schools, however, do not require full disclosure. So you should read the application. Also, you should reveal everything from the onset because when you apply with your state bar, you'll be required to fully disclose everything. The last thing you want when that happens is evidence that you didn't disclose everything in your law school application. If that happens, you're facing having to pay back all your loans without any chance of doing so with your lawyer bucks.

So how would you suggest I put that in an application?


Depends on the application. Generally, you add things like that on a separate self-generated document known as an addendum.




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