Places to get your own background check?

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supergrapes
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Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:03 pm

Places to get your own background check?

Postby supergrapes » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:44 pm

Is there some place applicants can go to get their own background check?

I'm not sure if I have a history or not... had one run-in with my campus police officer in high school for skateboarding on campus, like 15 year ago, and he put me in handcuffs but I don't know if I was officially arrested or not (my 16 year old brain didn't know the difference between handcuffs, an arrest, being charged, being convicted, etc).
He said to call the courthouse and see if I had to go to court, and said that if I didn't have to go, it means the DA had dropped the charges. So I call and ask if I have a court hearing, they say no, so I assume the charges were dropped and I'm off the hook.

Now, 15 years later, I have no idea if I was actually arrested and the DA really did drop the charges, or if that cop (not even sure if it was a real cop) just told me all this to scare me straight a little. I don't remember ever getting anything in the mail, I don't remember having my rights read to me, he just put me in handcuffs, took me to his little on-campus office, lectured me, and gave me the courthouse info and let me go. I definitely don't think I was actually formally charged with anything,

Is there some place I can check and see if I was actually arrested and if I have an arrest record? I was just reading a thread in 'what are my chances' that says that most t-14 schools ask for ARREST records, regardless of convictions.

Any help would be great. I've been on hold with the county courthouse basically 9-5 for the last few weeks, and at this point, i figure if there's just some website where I can pay a few bucks and see everything, it'd be really worth it to me.

thanks y'all

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Happy Gilmore
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Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby Happy Gilmore » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:10 pm

lol your fine

supergrapes
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Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:03 pm

Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby supergrapes » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:26 pm

Happy Gilmore wrote:lol your fine


Yeah.
Thanks, I feel better. 'your' knowledge is really reassuring :)

just kidding. But really, I know I'm bordering on paranoid, but I'd rather be paranoid and have strangers on TLS laugh at me than have those folks at the bar laugh at me. I hear they don't have as much of a sense of humor about these things.

I just checked with the county. They have something called a "letter of no complaint" filed against me that basically says they're not going to press charges, but I don't see an arrest record.

Do I need to disclose a letter of no complaint? no idea what that even is.

Thanks!

Void
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Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby Void » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:59 pm

Just disclose this story and you'll be fine. Any adcomm would read this and think "whatever- this is nothing." Conversely, any adcomm who somehow found out that this happened and you didn't disclose it would probably be pretty concerned. So write up this story and submit it with any/all documentation you can get from the county.

Legally, one is under arrest if a reasonable person under the same circumstances would not believe that he was free to go. You were in handcuffs, so you were technically arrested. This doesn't necessarily mean that there is an arrest record, but if an application asks you to disclose "arrests" I would think that this qualifies.

l0g0s
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Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby l0g0s » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:05 pm

Void wrote:Legally, one is under arrest if a reasonable person under the same circumstances would not believe that he was free to go.


No, I think that's the definition of a detention. When you're pulled over for speeding, for example, you certainly aren't free to go, but you're not under arrest. An arrest usually involves being read your rights, booked into jail, etc, which did not happen here.
Still, just disclose it, who cares?

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okinawa
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Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby okinawa » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:06 pm

Check your local police department; I know mine will run a background check on you for like $15 or something.

Void
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Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby Void » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:11 pm

l0g0s wrote:
Void wrote:Legally, one is under arrest if a reasonable person under the same circumstances would not believe that he was free to go.


No, I think that's the definition of a detention. When you're pulled over for speeding, for example, you certainly aren't free to go, but you're not under arrest. An arrest usually involves being read your rights, booked into jail, etc, which did not happen here.
Still, just disclose it, who cares?


No.

"The test used to determine whether an arrest took place in a particular case is objective, and it turns on whether a reasonable person under these circumstances would believe he or she was restrained or free to go."

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictiona ... ord=arrest

"Being detained by the police in a manner that, to any reasonable person, makes it clear he or she is not free to leave. A person can be "under arrest" even though the police have not announced it; nor are handcuffs or physical restraint necessary. Questioning an arrested person about involvement in or knowledge of a crime must be preceded by Miranda warnings."

http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/arrest

l0g0s
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Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby l0g0s » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:15 pm

Void wrote:
l0g0s wrote:
Void wrote:Legally, one is under arrest if a reasonable person under the same circumstances would not believe that he was free to go.


No, I think that's the definition of a detention. When you're pulled over for speeding, for example, you certainly aren't free to go, but you're not under arrest. An arrest usually involves being read your rights, booked into jail, etc, which did not happen here.
Still, just disclose it, who cares?


No.

"The test used to determine whether an arrest took place in a particular case is objective, and it turns on whether a reasonable person under these circumstances would believe he or she was restrained or free to go."

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictiona ... ord=arrest

"Being detained by the police in a manner that, to any reasonable person, makes it clear he or she is not free to leave. A person can be "under arrest" even though the police have not announced it; nor are handcuffs or physical restraint necessary. Questioning an arrested person about involvement in or knowledge of a crime must be preceded by Miranda warnings."

http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/arrest


No.

That is all.

Void
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:56 am

Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby Void » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:17 pm

l0g0s wrote:
Void wrote:
l0g0s wrote:
Void wrote:Legally, one is under arrest if a reasonable person under the same circumstances would not believe that he was free to go.


No, I think that's the definition of a detention. When you're pulled over for speeding, for example, you certainly aren't free to go, but you're not under arrest. An arrest usually involves being read your rights, booked into jail, etc, which did not happen here.
Still, just disclose it, who cares?


No.

"The test used to determine whether an arrest took place in a particular case is objective, and it turns on whether a reasonable person under these circumstances would believe he or she was restrained or free to go."

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictiona ... ord=arrest

"Being detained by the police in a manner that, to any reasonable person, makes it clear he or she is not free to leave. A person can be "under arrest" even though the police have not announced it; nor are handcuffs or physical restraint necessary. Questioning an arrested person about involvement in or knowledge of a crime must be preceded by Miranda warnings."

http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/arrest


No.

That is all.


You're right- your 0L understanding of criminal law is far more advanced than two legal definitions from reputable sources. What else did you learn on Law and Order?

l0g0s
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:56 pm

Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby l0g0s » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:18 pm

Void wrote:You're right- your 0L understanding of criminal law is far more advanced than two legal definitions from reputable sources. What else did you learn on Law and Order?


That last post was a joke. You're totally right.

supergrapes
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Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:03 pm

Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby supergrapes » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:24 pm

thanks for all the replies.

Man. This all kind of changes things. Obviously, I have no idea what actually constitutes an arrest, but now I'm worried about all my skateboarding days when we would get detained by the police.
They would stop us, get our ID's, and write our names down. Sometimes we gave them fake names, sometimes our real names, it never seemed to matter either way. They were (i suspect) mostly just booting us off private property, but we were definitely NOT free to go... they would write our names in a little notebook, and tell us that we were getting an official warning and that next time would be a citation. I personally got caught probably 200 times, gave them my real name about half the time, but even when it was the same officer two days in a row and I gave him my real name both times he never seemed to care. I don't think those names ever made it out of their little notebook.
Someone caught running from the scene to try and escape things would actually get placed in handcuffs, however. So we were absolutely not free to wander off.

But, this isn't worth disclosing, right?

Also, for what it's worth, I finally got through to my county's sheriff department. I have no arrest record, no criminal history, but the courthouse has a letter of no complaint saying.... i have no idea what. the lady I spoke to just said that it's a letter saying that the DA isn't filing any charges against me, but that this doesn't indicate an arrest. Since i have no arrest record, I guess it wasn't a "real" arrest? I mean, I was definitely not free to go, so whether or not I was 'definitionally' arrested is up for debate, but whatever the case, it wasn't official enough to go on my record.

Still disclose? For all the government knows, I have absolutely no criminal history, but I have a letter of no complaint filed at the county courthouse, which isn't part of my public record. In order to find it this letter that just says, "hey, this guy may or may not have been arrested, but we just want to make it clear that we're not filing any charges against him", a school would have to call every courthouse in every county i've ever been in and see if I have one of these on file.

Thanks!


ETA: I'm more worried about this stuff than I maybe should be because I'm a splitter. Anything that looks weird or might mess with my chances at a school—especially compared to other, similar applicants, who probably don't have to list anything under c&f—is something i'd like to avoid if at all possible :)

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okinawa
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Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby okinawa » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:34 pm

Just disclose it, it makes no difference. But now that you have contacts, get a copy of the letter and keep it for when you do c&f; it still won't matter, but you won't have to go through this whole process again.

l0g0s
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:56 pm

Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby l0g0s » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:39 pm

Yeah I've got a similar situation, but I think since charges weren't filed it doesn't count? Based on this http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ ... cause.html, there are some things that are technically arrests (like a traffic stop or being physically detained for questioning) but don't count as an arrest for the purposes of questions like these because they are only temporary arrests and charges aren't filed.

So... Talk to a lawyer I guess? Or just disclose. In your case I can't imagine that hurting.

Void
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:56 am

Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby Void » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:45 pm

I didnt mean to freak you out. All I meant was that this story technically constitutes an arrest, so you're better off disclosing. There's a difference between the technical legal definition of an arrest for 4th amendment or Miranda purposes and the standards a police department or DA use for what constitutes an "official" arrest- one for which a record is made. So while technically it sounds like you were legally under arrest, that arrest was never formally processed.

And yeah, it could be argued that all of those skateboarding encounters constituted arrests too, but that would be taking a hyper technical view and unnecessary here. The first event you described sounds like it involved physical detainment and forced transportation to a police station/office/wherever. This is close enough to a formal, processed arrest that it is worth disclosing

Edited to add: the most important thing here is to read the question on the application very carefully. Not all applications require disclosure of all arrests.

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wtrc
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Re: Places to get your own background check?

Postby wtrc » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:04 pm

Downside to disclosing: nothing. This happened in 1998. Many of the people applying to law school were like 7 years old (actually, some were even younger) then.

Upside to disclosing: Just in case the Bar gives you an issue, which it won't. Just disclose. As long as your addendum isn't riddled with spelling errors, this won't hurt you at all.




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