Disclose summary offense on application?

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Disclose summary offense on application?

Postby Donttazemebro » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:35 pm

I'm looking for some advice as to whether I should disclose a "summary offense-disorderly conduct" on my law school applications. I received the citation in Pa, where apparently a summary offense is only considered to be a criminal offense if I went to jail (which I didn't). Here's my story...

Last March my intoxicated buddy and I urinated in an elevator at Penn State. The following morning our friend who we were staying with had officers show up with pictures of us going to his room after urinating in the elevator. We were gone by then, but our buddy called us and told us they were fining him, and he might be evicted from his apartment if we didn't call the cop. My friend insisted this happens all the time, and that I would just be fined and undergo no criminal proceedings...

Not wanting to hang my buddy out to dry, I called the cop and spoke with him. He too insisted there would be no criminal record, and that I would merely pay a fine and it would be "as if it never happened". I was fully cooperative, gave the officer my information , and within a few days received a citation and a district court summons.

I called the officer back and he again insisted I just had to pay the fine and it would be "as if it never happened". So I pled guilty (which I'm horribly regretting), and paid the fine.

I asked a lawyer whether I would have to reveal a summary-offense on any job or law school applications, and he said "no, a summary offense is not a criminal conviction in Pa". I also found this on-line "Under Pennsylvania law, conviction records for summary offenses "shall not be used in consideration of an application for a license, certificate, registration or permit" 18 PA Code § 9124

I'm just concerned that if I don't disclose the information on law-school applications I could be screwed when applying for the Bar...where a deeper background check may reveal the citation. This is the only non-traffic citation I've ever received, and I've been extremely careful to avoid trouble (and not get so drunk) since. The whole experience has only further motivated me to pursue law in order to protect ignoramuses like myself. I was wondering if anybody had any experience with anything like this, or any advice as to whether I should disclose the citation or not...

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Re: Disclose summary offense on application?

Postby Matthies » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:28 pm

Dude peeing in an elevator, that’s classic. And one with a camera. I love it, you get 4/5 stars.

But in my view you gotta disclose it. You might as well make it funny too. I say you gotta disclose it because when I filled out my bar app they basically worded like if you have ever even talked to a cop in your life we want to know about. They had a question like have you ever been cited, question, stopped, contacted, asked or been involved with any investigation by any law enforcement, regulatory, security of public official. And then, after you answer 49 individual questions about everything you have ever done in your life, even shit you never got caught for they end it with one last great catchall question: Is there anything in your history that you have not disclosed to us so far that might have any bearing, no matter how remote, on your application or fitness to practice law?” OUCH.

No getting around it. You will have to disclose it on your bar app, and if its not on LS app that just gives them plenty of reason to call you in front of C&F and grill you about the whole damn incident. But here’s the good part, they don’t really care what you did so long as you tell them about it. But if you don’t tell them and they find out, man they get MAD!

They are not likely to keep you out of the profession because you peed in an elevator. I know people with felonies that got admitted. Multiple DUIs, no problem, an ounce of pot, no problem. Lieing about two speeding tickets you got in third year of law school and they catch you? PROBLEM.

This is no big deal. Won’t be a big deal in your applications. Say what you said here, you realize you were a dumbass, you got caught, and since then you have learned a valuable lesson, you don’t drink as much as you used to and you don’t get so drunk you pee in metal boxes anymore. You all grown up now. You will be fine, just disclose it and spend most of your addendum turning a bad thing into a good life experience that you used as a valuable lesson.

PS keep any paper work you have on it, becuase when you answer YES to those questions they want copies, that was a PITA for me since my stuff was like 10 years old.

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Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:56 pm

Re: Disclose summary offense on application?

Postby Donttazemebro » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:39 pm

Thanks for the advice, I think I better disclose as well...who knows...maybe one of the admissions officers got caught peeing in an elevator...

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