Criminal Record and Law School

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AJFAJF
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Criminal Record and Law School

Postby AJFAJF » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:53 pm

Hello everyone. I am a junior in college. When I was 21 I got in a bar fight at the beach and ended up hitting a cop. They charged me with a 3rd degree felony and gave me pre trial intervention program. I completed the program and was never convicted. I am very interested in going to law school. Will this hurt or hinder me in anyway?

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TripTrip
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby TripTrip » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:15 pm

AJFAJF wrote:Hello everyone. I am a junior in college. When I was 21 I got in a bar fight at the beach and ended up hitting a cop. They charged me with a 3rd degree felony and gave me pre trial intervention program. I completed the program and was never convicted. I am very interested in going to law school. Will this hurt or hinder me in anyway?

Yes in some cases, no in others.

Many schools ask you to disclose any crime you've been charged with. That sounds like it will be more difficult to explain away.

You should also check with the BAR association in whatever state you're planning on working to make sure you'll be allowed to practice before you apply to law school. It would be silly to go through all that work of getting a JD to find out you can't practice.

AJFAJF
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby AJFAJF » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:21 pm

I'd be practicing in PA. Oh well guess I can't go to law school now. The incident happened in 2010.

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TripTrip
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby TripTrip » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:38 pm

AJFAJF wrote:I'd be practicing in PA. Oh well guess I can't go to law school now. The incident happened in 2010.

That doesn't mean that you absolutely can't go to law school. You're going to need to do some research up front to make sure you can get a job, then be prepared to explain what happened.

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Ben Franklin
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby Ben Franklin » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:28 am

Just make sure the app asks if you were convicted, instead of charged. As far as the bar exam and your C&F review, I wouldn't worry too much about that. You weren't convicted, and it happened in 2010. Assuming you apply next cycle, you will have been 7-8 years removed from the incident. Just make sure you don't have any discrepancies on the two apps (i.e. include it on your law school app but omit it from your bar app).

bp shinners
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby bp shinners » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:34 am

Ben Franklin wrote:Just make sure the app asks if you were convicted, instead of charged. As far as the bar exam and your C&F review, I wouldn't worry too much about that. You weren't convicted, and it happened in 2010. Assuming you apply next cycle, you will have been 7-8 years removed from the incident. Just make sure you don't have any discrepancies on the two apps (i.e. include it on your law school app but omit it from your bar app).


Please do not give legal advice to someone unless you're qualified to give legal advice.

To OP - You should absolutely talk to the state Bar to see how this incident will affect you during your C&F interview. They'll be able to give you a definitive answer.

Whatever the case, you should disclose this when applying (unless you're 100% sure the school doesn't want to know the info - don't just rely on the question, call them up anonymously and ask).

jdmonkey
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bbb

Postby jdmonkey » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:14 pm

bbbb
Last edited by jdmonkey on Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jdmonkey
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby jdmonkey » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:25 pm

...
Last edited by jdmonkey on Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TripTrip
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby TripTrip » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:47 pm

jdmonkey wrote:I have my own question. Let's say you were arrested for something other than a crime (noncriminal code). You maintained your innocence, and the prosecutor dismissed the case for lack of evidence. I spoke with an attorney who said that this would be considered a "legal nullity." He quoted a code book: "the arrest and prosecution shall be deemed a nullity and the accused shall be restored, in contemplation of law, to the status he occupied before the arrest and prosecution." I'm assuming there wouldn't be a problem in not disclosing this arrest because legally it never happened, and I am entitled to full exoneration under the law?

You still need to disclose to law schools who ask for things other than "strictly convictions." It won't hurt your application (they'll have you put in an addendum where you point out that it was dismissed), but you do need to disclose it.

jdmonkey
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ddd

Postby jdmonkey » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:54 pm

ddd

BigZuck
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:43 pm

TripTrip wrote:
jdmonkey wrote:I have my own question. Let's say you were arrested for something other than a crime (noncriminal code). You maintained your innocence, and the prosecutor dismissed the case for lack of evidence. I spoke with an attorney who said that this would be considered a "legal nullity." He quoted a code book: "the arrest and prosecution shall be deemed a nullity and the accused shall be restored, in contemplation of law, to the status he occupied before the arrest and prosecution." I'm assuming there wouldn't be a problem in not disclosing this arrest because legally it never happened, and I am entitled to full exoneration under the law?

You still need to disclose to law schools who ask for things other than "strictly convictions." It won't hurt your application (they'll have you put in an addendum where you point out that it was dismissed), but you do need to disclose it.


It will hurt in the sense that NYU will take 5 months to reject you instead of 3 months.

Guys, contact the state bar, disclose everything on your applications, and see what happens when the dust settles.

Docreviewsux
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby Docreviewsux » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:06 pm

AJFAJF wrote:Hello everyone. I am a junior in college. When I was 21 I got in a bar fight at the beach and ended up hitting a cop. They charged me with a 3rd degree felony and gave me pre trial intervention program. I completed the program and was never convicted. I am very interested in going to law school. Will this hurt or hinder me in anyway?


Bad idea. Your record will slow down your app big time.

WaltWhite
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby WaltWhite » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:09 pm

AJFAJF wrote:Hello everyone. I am a junior in college. When I was 21 I got in a bar fight at the beach and ended up hitting a cop. They charged me with a 3rd degree felony and gave me pre trial intervention program. I completed the program and was never convicted. I am very interested in going to law school. Will this hurt or hinder me in anyway?


I'm sure Cooley or Thomas Jefferson wouldn't mind at all.
Shoot for the stars, OP.

In all seriousness, yes, you have to disclose this and unless you can spin some stellar story about police brutality, you're going to look like the young jerk who couldn't handle his liquor on his 21st birthday and swung at the cop trying to keep his shit together.

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:28 pm

It probably won't be crushing, but will have a minor impact, though of all the crimes to have committed, props this is slightly badass. I'd want you in my firm.

criminaltheory
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby criminaltheory » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:35 pm

Rock the LSAT and this will be a relatively minor concern.

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:42 pm

I'd bring it up regardless, because the bar is going to be all over this, and you did go through some program. it's not like it was just dropped. the cost<>benefit is large.

jdmonkey
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby jdmonkey » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:43 pm

Schools like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal, Georgetown, GW, UCLA, USC, BU, BC, and Texas only ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime. You can honestly answer no.

jdmonkey
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby jdmonkey » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:50 pm

Btw in many states you can be a convicted felon and practice law. Your case is more minor than somebody convicted of any crime like possessing marijuana. Chase your dreams; don't let your record (or lack thereof) hold you back. If u have taken steps to stop drinking like getting counseling or attending AA document this for ur personal records in case the bar wants to know is this guy a drunk. But the crimes they are looking for are acts of dishonesty: shoplifting, check fraud, burglary, embezzlement, tax fraud, perjury, witness tampering. Don't worry about this focus on rocking the LSAT and don't dignify this in your personal statement. Schools that ask for it provide a space for a brief addendum.

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howlery
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby howlery » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:17 pm

TripTrip wrote:
jdmonkey wrote:I have my own question. Let's say you were arrested for something other than a crime (noncriminal code). You maintained your innocence, and the prosecutor dismissed the case for lack of evidence. I spoke with an attorney who said that this would be considered a "legal nullity." He quoted a code book: "the arrest and prosecution shall be deemed a nullity and the accused shall be restored, in contemplation of law, to the status he occupied before the arrest and prosecution." I'm assuming there wouldn't be a problem in not disclosing this arrest because legally it never happened, and I am entitled to full exoneration under the law?

You still need to disclose to law schools who ask for things other than "strictly convictions." It won't hurt your application (they'll have you put in an addendum where you point out that it was dismissed), but you do need to disclose it.


Since we're taking questions: what if you were caught doing something illegal but were let go and told to "forget it" (to paraphrase). Is there any way to know if there was any record of the incident at all? I mean, I'm not in prison (which I kind of should have been considering some of the state's particularly draconian laws), so I guess not? I know my one minor traffic violation will be overlooked, but this kind of bugs me.

jdmonkey
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby jdmonkey » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:39 pm

I can't imagine there would be a record. If you were never charged with a crime, I don't know how there would be a paper trail. Police notes get thrown away unless they are needed for a case. The most inclusive question I've seen was were u ever detained for a crime. But it sounds like u were free to go, so that doesn't sound like a detention. Prison wow you must have run into an awesome cop, or be well connected.

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howlery
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby howlery » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:48 pm

jdmonkey wrote:I can't imagine there would be a record. If you were never charged with a crime, I don't know how there would be a paper trail. Police notes get thrown away unless they are needed for a case. The most inclusive question I've seen was were u ever detained for a crime. But it sounds like u were free to go, so that doesn't sound like a detention. Prison wow you must have run into an awesome cop, or be well connected.


It was really late at night and I think they didn't want to go through the trouble of taking me downtown. They were pretty awesome for not busting me though.

throw-away-soon
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby throw-away-soon » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:22 pm

I had several c f problems. I talked to a lawyer, and he said if I needed him he'd do it pro bono, and gave me a free consult that laid everything out for me. It wasn't a felony, it was 3 misdeamenors and a bunch of stuff from undergrad. He said I'd still pass the bar, and I had 4 sep incidents in which I was disciplined for.

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TripTrip
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby TripTrip » Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:46 pm

The one thing you will not see me do on here is definitively tell you not to disclose. I'm not a lawyer or even an expert on the topic. I'd recommend either finding someone who is an expert or just disclosing.

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SoberHobo
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby SoberHobo » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:59 pm

bp shinners wrote:
Ben Franklin wrote:Just make sure the app asks if you were convicted, instead of charged. As far as the bar exam and your C&F review, I wouldn't worry too much about that. You weren't convicted, and it happened in 2010. Assuming you apply next cycle, you will have been 7-8 years removed from the incident. Just make sure you don't have any discrepancies on the two apps (i.e. include it on your law school app but omit it from your bar app).


Please do not give legal advice to someone unless you're qualified to give legal advice.

To OP - You should absolutely talk to the state Bar to see how this incident will affect you during your C&F interview. They'll be able to give you a definitive answer.

Whatever the case, you should disclose this when applying (unless you're 100% sure the school doesn't want to know the info - don't just rely on the question, call them up anonymously and ask).


Please do not give legal advice to people on whether they should be giving legal advice. "I wouldn't worry" is not exactly legal advice. It's not like he said "I wouldn't worry about disclosing it".

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dextermorgan
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Re: Criminal Record and Law School

Postby dextermorgan » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:09 pm

Fucking Christ you people are annoying. OP, as long as you disclose it and apologize and say you've learned from it schools won't give a shit.

As for the bar, first look at this (specifically page 4 and 5): http://www.ncbex.org/assets/media_files/Comp-Guide/CompGuide.pdf and then contact the bar of the state you are going to be practicing in and ask about it.




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