DUI - clerkship impact

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DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:49 pm

So i made a huge mistake on Friday night and received a DUI in NJ. I have a problem, and I am seeking treatment.


That being said, has anyone had first or second hand experience with how this will impact my chances for Fed/State clerkship? Obviously I will disclose for the bar, and I will disclose to any clerkship I accept. Is this a total deal breaker, or can I salvage a clerkship by stressing it was a one time lapse in judgement (no other record, technically in jersey it is not a criminal offense).

I appreciate any comments.

Younger Abstention
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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Younger Abstention » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:42 pm

Obviously, a DUI while in law school will be detrimental to the chances of a prospective job offer whether it is a clerkship or something else. But there is no way anyone on this board can be any more specific than that because the impact is going to differ depending on the employer (the judge). Some will be more forgiving than others.

The Duck
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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby The Duck » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:47 pm

I'd think this would be a huge deal. It's not like there aren't 1,000 other qualified people without this hangup in their background.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:55 pm

You'll have to do a criminal background check, so until that point, there's no reason (nor need) to bring it up. If you get an offer, you might want to bring it up immediately. The judge is going to find out no matter what assuming it's on your criminal record, so being forthright right off the bat is probably the best way to handle it.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You'll have to do a criminal background check, so until that point, there's no reason (nor need) to bring it up. If you get an offer, you might want to bring it up immediately. The judge is going to find out no matter what assuming it's on your criminal record, so being forthright right off the bat is probably the best way to handle it.



yeah, the thing is because it is not a criminal violation in NJ it will not show up on criminal background check. However, if they pull a DMV transcript, it obviously will be a traffic violation.

I figured it would be better to bring it up after receiving an offer as opposed to waiting for the criminal background check so it doesn't look like I am trying to hide anything, and that I am being forthright about my mistakes.

The Duck
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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby The Duck » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You'll have to do a criminal background check, so until that point, there's no reason (nor need) to bring it up. If you get an offer, you might want to bring it up immediately. The judge is going to find out no matter what assuming it's on your criminal record, so being forthright right off the bat is probably the best way to handle it.



yeah, the thing is because it is not a criminal violation in NJ it will not show up on criminal background check. However, if they pull a DMV transcript, it obviously will be a traffic violation.

I figured it would be better to bring it up after receiving an offer as opposed to waiting for the criminal background check so it doesn't look like I am trying to hide anything, and that I am being forthright about my mistakes.


Traffic violations show up on many criminal background checks. Particularly a local background check which they are likely going to run (and have to run if you get a security clearance).

wcarlwilson
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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby wcarlwilson » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:38 pm

Why don't you contact the ethics panel on when and how to disclose. An arrest is not a convection and it might be in your interest to fight it. You know use what youve learned.

The problem is you don't have the job yet. You had the job and working I wouldn't sweat as much. But it's nothing to take lightly.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby 20160810 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:05 am

It certainly won't help, but how much it hurts, as has been mentioned, depends on the employer. Just make sure you don't try and hide it, be honest, don't fuck up again, and you'll be OK eventually.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:10 am

The Duck wrote:I'd think this would be a huge deal. It's not like there aren't 1,000 other qualified people without this hangup in their background.


I don't know if I buy this. Judges won't know of your DUI when you get an offer and accept. If they're an on-plan judge, you really think that they would revoke your offer once the background check shows the DUI? That pretty much leaves the judge in a bad place since all the other top candidates are now gone from the selection pool.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:18 am

Meh, maybe I'm a minority view here, but an isolated DUI in a substance-abuse prone profession isn't a killer. Of course it depends on degree - first offense, no one else in the car, no property damage or otherwise ridiculous behavior, not the end of the world. It’s a problem, sure, but it won't even come up on the judge's radar until the background check phase - after they've decided they want you.

EDIT: I agree with Richie.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:29 am

Beginning a federal clerkship next fall. Charged with DUI 1L year. Anecdotally, just letting you know it could be done.

For obvious reasons, not willing to disclose anything more than that.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:Beginning a federal clerkship next fall. Charged with DUI 1L year. Anecdotally, just letting you know it could be done.

For obvious reasons, not willing to disclose anything more than that.


To the point - DUI's are more ubiquitous than people realize. If you worked for an HR department, you might be amazed at how many DUIs are handed out. Frankly, I think over-enforcement has destigmatized the DUI, at least the run of the mill, non-accident causing kind. Not excusing them - don't do it - but they happen quite often to otherwise good people.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:39 am

NotMyRealName09 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Beginning a federal clerkship next fall. Charged with DUI 1L year. Anecdotally, just letting you know it could be done.

For obvious reasons, not willing to disclose anything more than that.


To the point - DUI's are more ubiquitous than people realize. If you worked for an HR department, you might be amazed at how many DUIs are handed out. Frankly, I think over-enforcement has destigmatized the DUI, at least the run of the mill, non-accident causing kind. Not excusing them - don't do it - but they happen quite often to otherwise good people.

DUI 1L guy/gal here. To be clear, I disagree with most all of this. It still remains the dumbest, most preventable, asinine mistake I've ever made. It's also been incredibly stigmatizing, has already cost me an armed forces JAG appointment and at least one private sector job. A DUI is inexcusable; the fact that I've been able to overcome it is not at all the same as making it ubiquitous or destigmatized.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Beginning a federal clerkship next fall. Charged with DUI 1L year. Anecdotally, just letting you know it could be done.

For obvious reasons, not willing to disclose anything more than that.



When, if it all, did you disclose to the judge?

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:So i made a huge mistake on Friday night and received a DUI in NJ. I have a problem, and I am seeking treatment.


That being said, has anyone had first or second hand experience with how this will impact my chances for Fed/State clerkship? Obviously I will disclose for the bar, and I will disclose to any clerkship I accept. Is this a total deal breaker, or can I salvage a clerkship by stressing it was a one time lapse in judgement (no other record, technically in jersey it is not a criminal offense).

I appreciate any comments.


I imagine you have already found a lawyer, but this is one area where you want to hunt around. DUIs are comparatively complicated, if you have a good attorney he/she may be able to get it thrown out for procedural issues (lack of probable cause to make the traffic stop, failure to ensure that the equipment to test was properly calibrated etc.) You are doing the right thing by taking responsibility for your actions, but you should fight for everything you can get.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
NotMyRealName09 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Beginning a federal clerkship next fall. Charged with DUI 1L year. Anecdotally, just letting you know it could be done.

For obvious reasons, not willing to disclose anything more than that.


To the point - DUI's are more ubiquitous than people realize. If you worked for an HR department, you might be amazed at how many DUIs are handed out. Frankly, I think over-enforcement has destigmatized the DUI, at least the run of the mill, non-accident causing kind. Not excusing them - don't do it - but they happen quite often to otherwise good people.

DUI 1L guy/gal here. To be clear, I disagree with most all of this. It still remains the dumbest, most preventable, asinine mistake I've ever made. It's also been incredibly stigmatizing, has already cost me an armed forces JAG appointment and at least one private sector job. A DUI is inexcusable; the fact that I've been able to overcome it is not at all the same as making it ubiquitous or destigmatized.


JAG is not private practice. I've never been drug tested in private practice or for fed ct internships (not sure if full time fed ct employment drug tests). I say that only to distinguish JAG from other stuff - of course JAG has strict standards. JAG makes you go through MEPS, very different, not comparable.

I had a DUI in undergrad, had 2 fed ct internships in law school complete with finger printing and backgroundnchecks, and never had the DUI become a problem for C&F, private practice, or anything else. In fact, other than on law school apps and C&F, i never discussed the DUI once. Honestly, i dont think my firm even asked. I'm fully employed in private practice as a commercial litigator making good money in my market - my DUI was not an obstacle for anything, it did not come up once.

JAG is another ball game. I don't think people will automatically black list you if you fucked up once. Sure, some might, but not as a general rule. I wouldn't. Two DUIs it's another ball game. But joining the military via JAG is very different than other forms of legal practice.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Perseus_I » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:41 pm

The Duck wrote:I'd think this would be a huge deal. It's not like there aren't 1,000 other qualified people without this hangup in their background.


That's not the way it works according to federal employment law. That said, this could be a huge deal since it's so recent. The professional world/government overreacts to anything hinting at a substance problem. But if it's pled down to a traffic violation, you may or may not have to disclose it. Even if you did, it might not matter much if it just looks like a speeding ticket. If it's already "just" a traffic violation in New Jersey, it may not show up at all, particularly if your clerkship is not in New Jersey (meaning they might not have background questions that cover it). To that person who said traffic violations show up as "criminal convictions" on background checks, I have a hard time believing it. It doesn't work that way in Texas.

A typical question I've seen on employment background checks for the government is: "Have you ever been arrested or convicted for a violation of any law? (You may exclude minor traffic violations)." If you plead it down to a "minor" traffic violation, and it doesn't show up on a criminal check or an FBI arrest check (that may or may not be possible), you could get away with not disclosing it at all.

However, a federal clerkship will do an FBI fingerprint check. It's mandated even for interns nowadays. Those will reveal an arrest, so if you were arrested, you might be in deep yogurt because you'd have to explain it, and the recency might sink you. Were you arrested?

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:01 pm

DUI 1L guy/gal again. Just a few comments. Not trying to be harsh, but again, my anecdotal experience differs from your opinion here.

NotMyRealName09 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
NotMyRealName09 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Beginning a federal clerkship next fall. Charged with DUI 1L year. Anecdotally, just letting you know it could be done.

For obvious reasons, not willing to disclose anything more than that.


To the point - DUI's are more ubiquitous than people realize. If you worked for an HR department, you might be amazed at how many DUIs are handed out. Frankly, I think over-enforcement has destigmatized the DUI, at least the run of the mill, non-accident causing kind. Not excusing them - don't do it - but they happen quite often to otherwise good people.

DUI 1L guy/gal here. To be clear, I disagree with most all of this. It still remains the dumbest, most preventable, asinine mistake I've ever made. It's also been incredibly stigmatizing, has already cost me an armed forces JAG appointment and at least one private sector job. A DUI is inexcusable; the fact that I've been able to overcome it is not at all the same as making it ubiquitous or destigmatized.


JAG is not private practice. I've never been drug tested in private practice or for fed ct internships (not sure if full time fed ct employment drug tests). I say that only to distinguish JAG from other stuff - of course JAG has strict standards. JAG makes you go through MEPS, very different, not comparable.

I had a DUI in undergrad, had 2 fed ct internships in law school complete with finger printing and backgroundnchecks, and never had the DUI become a problem for C&F, private practice, or anything else. In fact, other than on law school apps and C&F, i never discussed the DUI once. Honestly, i dont think my firm even asked. I'm fully employed in private practice as a commercial litigator making good money in my market - my DUI was not an obstacle for anything, it did not come up once.

Right, which is why I specifically put the "and at least one private sector" bit in my post. I lost the JAG commission AND at least one private position. In my case, it was a big issue. When asked, post SA offer, I disclosed, and my offer was rescinded. Moreover, MEPS has nothing to do with DUIs.

More to the point, it would be irresponsible for OP to base his/her clerkship prospects on an internship you did in law school; even one complete with fingerprinting and background checks. A clerkship and an internship are fundamentally different in almost every imaginable way. (Example: many judges audit your taxes if you're being considered for a clerkship.) Clearly it's possible to get a clerkship with a DUI on your record, but to imply that it's "not an obstacle for anything" is a bit too far in my opinion.

NotMyRealName09 wrote:JAG is another ball game. I don't think people will automatically black list you if you fucked up once. Sure, some might, but not as a general rule. I wouldn't. Two DUIs it's another ball game. But joining the military via JAG is very different than other forms of legal practice.
I had already received and accepted my commission, and had a completely clean record other than the DUI. It was literally the only reason they withdrew my offer. I'm not the one making the decisions--so I'm not going to call that a 'general rule'--but it's pretty indicative evidence that they're not playing around, even if you just fucked up once.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:07 am

Are you looking at Fed or state clerkships?

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:26 am

Does anyone know if they do fingerprint background checks for federal judicial externships?

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone know if they do fingerprint background checks for federal judicial externships?

I was fingerprinted for mine, yes. I have no idea what they do with the prints, but they took them.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Citizen Genet » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:50 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone know if they do fingerprint background checks for federal judicial externships?

I was fingerprinted for mine, yes. I have no idea what they do with the prints, but they took them.


Judge is probably running an identity-theft ring.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:02 pm

Citizen Genet wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone know if they do fingerprint background checks for federal judicial externships?

I was fingerprinted for mine, yes. I have no idea what they do with the prints, but they took them.


Judge is probably running an identity-theft ring.

That would explain a lot... :wink:
Last edited by A. Nony Mouse on Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sadsituationJD
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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby sadsituationJD » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:07 pm

Sorry OP, but you are totally screwed for NJ clerkships. Judges in NJ take a LOT of pride in coming down HARD on DWI offenders. Also there is no viable defense to DWI, best you can do is beg/grovel with the prosecutor for the minimums. What was your BAC by the way? Also if you do need a lawyer send me a PM, I will help you out pretty cheap. I am NJ-admitted.

I personally think DWI laws are a complete joke and the limits should be like .15 or something, not .08. Texting while driving is a much bigger danger but way less fines etc.

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Re: DUI - clerkship impact

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:14 pm

sadsituationJD wrote:Sorry OP, but you are totally screwed for NJ clerkships. Judges in NJ take a LOT of pride in coming down HARD on DWI offenders. Also there is no viable defense to DWI, best you can do is beg/grovel with the prosecutor for the minimums. What was your BAC by the way? Also if you do need a lawyer send me a PM, I will help you out pretty cheap. I am NJ-admitted.

I personally think DWI laws are a complete joke and the limits should be like .15 or something, not .08. Texting while driving is a much bigger danger but way less fines etc.


Been a while and I went through treatment and haven't drank in years but in your opinion SJD would it effect the chance at the PD's office in NJ?




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