Arrest record and law school

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
oldguy6543
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 12:24 pm

Arrest record and law school

Postby oldguy6543 » Tue May 10, 2011 12:49 pm

I know this topic has been covered before but here are my specifics...

I am in my mid 30s and currently an undergrad political science major. My objective is law shcool. However, I have some blemsihes on my record.

I have a DUI conviction that is 15 years old. I have a a battery/simple battery/obstructing an emergency phone call arrest that happened last year. The battery/phone call case was dismissed and the arrest record was expunged. I know I have to completely disclose all of this. I will explain it all on my addendum.

I just want a straight forward answer. Will these incidents prevent me from getting into a top 50 law school? Or any law school for that matter? If I have a good GPA and LSAT will they outweigh my criminal history? I need to figure out if I should change my major now and save myself the disappointment. Thanks.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 10, 2011 1:42 pm

Your major is not really relevant.

Depending upon the circumstances, you may or may not be able to gain admission to a Top 50 law school. Need specifics in order to offer a reasonable guess.

Strong numbers (GPA & LSAT) are unlikely to make law schools "look the other way" when evaluating your application if the circumstances of your offense are serious, in my opinion.

User avatar
dpk711
Posts: 1242
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:24 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby dpk711 » Tue May 10, 2011 1:54 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Strong numbers (GPA & LSAT) are unlikely to make law schools "look the other way" when evaluating your application if the circumstances of your offense are serious, in my opinion.

I agree, there are a few people on LSN who had a high 170 and a good GPA (3.7+) and still couldn't grab a single T14 because they had a bad record. The question is how bad are your offenses compared to those people?
Last edited by dpk711 on Tue May 10, 2011 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ebo
Posts: 311
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:49 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby ebo » Tue May 10, 2011 2:03 pm

Your DUI conviction may prevent you from sitting for the bar exam after law school in some states. You might want to check with a C&F attorney before spending thousands of dollars on law school

User avatar
MoS
Posts: 404
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:59 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby MoS » Tue May 10, 2011 2:06 pm

What you should really be concerned with is if your offenses prevent you from becoming a member of the bar association. That is primarily what law schools are looking at when they want you to disclose. They also want to make sure its not a habit that will eventually keep you from joining the bar and that you don't pose a harm to other law students.

So I would say if you can talk to someone at your local bar association about how your record affects your potential admission into the bar, that would be the first step, because there is no point of racking up law school debt if you can't ever hope to be an attorney (well there may be a few reasons, but you should really go to law school to be a lawyer, if that changes while you are there, there are alternative options for the JD).

Second, if it doesn't affect your admission into the bar, then write your addendums explaining the situation, what you learned, and try to convince them it was a one time thing, or a never to occur again thing.

Third send in your apps to wherever your numbers would normally gain admissions. Make sure to have backup schools. But I highly doubt that if you do the first two things, that a school will reject a qualified applicant.

User avatar
DocHawkeye
Posts: 640
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:22 am

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby DocHawkeye » Tue May 10, 2011 2:07 pm

ebo wrote:Your DUI conviction may prevent you from sitting for the bar exam after law school in some states. You might want to check with a C&F attorney before spending thousands of dollars on law school


I had a DUI about 10 years ago and have contacted the C & F departments of several Supreme Courts in the Midwest and have been told that it will not, by itself, prevent one from being admitted to the bar. I do not know how this applies to other states and I have not yet applied to the bar.

bartleby
Posts: 1315
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby bartleby » Tue May 10, 2011 2:13 pm

no way a 15 year old DUI conviction prevents you from passing the bar.

oldguy6543
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 12:24 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby oldguy6543 » Tue May 10, 2011 2:24 pm

Thanks to all for the information.

I am not as concerned with the DUI as I am with the battery arrest and the appearance of a trend. I know if I sat on an admissions board I would probably think I was an habitual offender even though there is 14 years between arrests. Basically it looks bad and I know that.

I, however, am not a dirtbag. I have had scrapes with law enforcement due to poor judgement and alchohol. I have read that alchohol related issues are a red flag to both law school admissions and state bars. However, I also understand that if you can explain your past and show that you have learned from your mistakes and become a better person, law schools are apt to forgive a certain amount of impropriety.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 10, 2011 2:59 pm

But the recency of your last trouble may raise concerns.

User avatar
niederbomb
Posts: 962
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:07 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby niederbomb » Mon May 16, 2011 12:27 am

oldguy6543 wrote:I know this topic has been covered before but here are my specifics...

I am in my mid 30s and currently an undergrad political science major. My objective is law shcool. However, I have some blemsihes on my record.

I have a DUI conviction that is 15 years old. I have a a battery/simple battery/obstructing an emergency phone call arrest that happened last year. The battery/phone call case was dismissed and the arrest record was expunged. I know I have to completely disclose all of this. I will explain it all on my addendum.

I just want a straight forward answer. Will these incidents prevent me from getting into a top 50 law school? Or any law school for that matter? If I have a good GPA and LSAT will they outweigh my criminal history? I need to figure out if I should change my major now and save myself the disappointment. Thanks.


Not all law schools ask for your arrest record. Many just ask for convictions. If you were not convicted of anything, you may not have to disclose your most recent event, and I doubt your 15-year-old DUI will hurt you significantly.

Check out UT, UVA, Michigan, Berkeley, Penn, and just about every state school in the top 50. However, if you were convicted or if the app asks "were you ever charged or cited," you will have to disclose it almost everywhere. First, you need to investigate to see whether you even need to disclose the most recent incident. Then, come back on TLS.

User avatar
Ty Webb
Posts: 517
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby Ty Webb » Mon May 16, 2011 12:32 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Your major is not really relevant.

Depending upon the circumstances, you may or may not be able to gain admission to a Top 50 law school. Need specifics in order to offer a reasonable guess.

Strong numbers (GPA & LSAT) are unlikely to make law schools "look the other way" when evaluating your application if the circumstances of your offense are serious, in my opinion.


CanadianWolf seems to ignore the fact that the OP wasn't actually convicted of a crime (talking about the battery, because it's pretty clear the "circumstances" of a DUI).

03121202698008
Posts: 3002
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:07 am

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby 03121202698008 » Mon May 16, 2011 12:43 am

Ty Webb wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Your major is not really relevant.

Depending upon the circumstances, you may or may not be able to gain admission to a Top 50 law school. Need specifics in order to offer a reasonable guess.

Strong numbers (GPA & LSAT) are unlikely to make law schools "look the other way" when evaluating your application if the circumstances of your offense are serious, in my opinion.


CanadianWolf seems to ignore the fact that the OP wasn't actually convicted of a crime (talking about the battery, because it's pretty clear the "circumstances" of a DUI).


Convicted or not, most schools will require disclosure of an arrest, and C&F will see the arrest and definitely require disclosure. I'd have a good explanation for what happened there.

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby shoeshine » Mon May 16, 2011 12:49 am

This is anecdotal. One of my good friends was denied from the bar in 2005 because of a DUI in 1999. It completely devastated him.

User avatar
niederbomb
Posts: 962
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:07 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby niederbomb » Mon May 16, 2011 12:51 am

blowhard wrote:
Ty Webb wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Your major is not really relevant.

Depending upon the circumstances, you may or may not be able to gain admission to a Top 50 law school. Need specifics in order to offer a reasonable guess.

Strong numbers (GPA & LSAT) are unlikely to make law schools "look the other way" when evaluating your application if the circumstances of your offense are serious, in my opinion.


CanadianWolf seems to ignore the fact that the OP wasn't actually convicted of a crime (talking about the battery, because it's pretty clear the "circumstances" of a DUI).


Convicted or not, most schools will require disclosure of an arrest, and C&F will see the arrest and definitely require disclosure. I'd have a good explanation for what happened there.


You're basing this on what? While it may be true that the majority do (I don't really know), I just provided a list of schools in the T14 that don't. Also, I believe HYS don't. Trust me, I've been through this process recently, attorney and all.

OP, you won't have trouble getting into a T13 if you have good numbers, given the fact that you most likely won't have to disclose your latest incident if it was not, in fact, a conviction. However, passing C&F is a much greater concern because these people ask about EVERYTHING, including credit records, tax records, and ex girlfriends/boyfriends. :D
Last edited by niederbomb on Mon May 16, 2011 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

03121202698008
Posts: 3002
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:07 am

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby 03121202698008 » Mon May 16, 2011 12:53 am

niederbomb wrote:
blowhard wrote:
Ty Webb wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Your major is not really relevant.

Depending upon the circumstances, you may or may not be able to gain admission to a Top 50 law school. Need specifics in order to offer a reasonable guess.

Strong numbers (GPA & LSAT) are unlikely to make law schools "look the other way" when evaluating your application if the circumstances of your offense are serious, in my opinion.


CanadianWolf seems to ignore the fact that the OP wasn't actually convicted of a crime (talking about the battery, because it's pretty clear the "circumstances" of a DUI).


Convicted or not, most schools will require disclosure of an arrest, and C&F will see the arrest and definitely require disclosure. I'd have a good explanation for what happened there.


You're basing this on what? While it may be true that the majority do (I don't really know), I just provided a list of schools in the T14 that don't. Also, I believe HYS don't. Trust me, I've been through this process recently, attorney and all.


The schools, I'm going by the T14 applications I filled out. The C&F, I'm going anecdotally by what I've heard (regarding multiple states). I know people who weren't asked about minor interactions, but those are pretty serious charges (especially when taken together).

oldguy6543
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 12:24 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby oldguy6543 » Mon May 16, 2011 8:04 pm

shoeshine wrote:This is anecdotal. One of my good friends was denied from the bar in 2005 because of a DUI in 1999. It completely devastated him.


Did this person not disclose the DUI on his law school application? Did he try to conceal it in any way for his C&F? From everything I've read that seems pretty hardcore. Seems like alot of law school students have had DUIs on their record.

minnesotasam
Posts: 93
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:47 am

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby minnesotasam » Mon May 16, 2011 8:16 pm

oldguy6543 wrote:
shoeshine wrote:This is anecdotal. One of my good friends was denied from the bar in 2005 because of a DUI in 1999. It completely devastated him.


Did this person not disclose the DUI on his law school application? Did he try to conceal it in any way for his C&F? From everything I've read that seems pretty hardcore. Seems like alot of law school students have had DUIs on their record.

As the good friend of a 1L with a semi-recent DUI, I agree, it's very surprising. In addition to oldguy's questions I'd ask what state that was, if you don't mind..

shoeshine
Posts: 1241
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby shoeshine » Mon May 16, 2011 10:27 pm

oldguy6543 wrote:
shoeshine wrote:This is anecdotal. One of my good friends was denied from the bar in 2005 because of a DUI in 1999. It completely devastated him.


Did this person not disclose the DUI on his law school application? Did he try to conceal it in any way for his C&F? From everything I've read that seems pretty hardcore. Seems like alot of law school students have had DUIs on their record.


California, Extreme DUI - there were other details I won't say here but he disclosed on his law school apps and attended a T1 in a state near California.

hkgjohn
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:21 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby hkgjohn » Mon May 16, 2011 11:04 pm

Mine CR would make most ppl in here blush. 1996 assault charge: discharged and subsequently expunged from my record, 1998 charge for drug paraphernalia: charges dropped. 2006 DUI: still on record.

I just did a FBI and State Background check from the SBI and no records were found at all. Period. None. This was fingerprints and all to the FBI and SBI. Turns out the SBI doesn't even record less serious misdemeanors at the state level. For the county, it's all there except the assault charge. But the state, believe it or not, has no record.

So my beef?

First of all, when state statute explicitly says one cannot perjure himself under oath if an expungement was executed and that the crime was never committed under the letter of the law (totally deniable), what business is it of the law school?

Second, if it's not showing up in a FBI, SBI background check with fingerprints?

Third, if you were never actually convicted?!?

This is all garbage. The only thing I take responsibility for is the stupid DUI conviction in 2006. I'd regret it anyway sans law school application process. I do regret it. Completely stupid thing to do and haven't done it since.

Am I a shifty guy? Not at all. Wrong place, wrong time. Other than that, one stupid mistake. But I have to explain all this nonsense to some guy who's never been arrested? Good luck for me.

03121202698008
Posts: 3002
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:07 am

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue May 17, 2011 12:20 am

hkgjohn wrote:Mine CR would make most ppl in here blush. 1996 assault charge: discharged and subsequently expunged from my record, 1998 charge for drug paraphernalia: charges dropped. 2006 DUI: still on record.

I just did a FBI and State Background check from the SBI and no records were found at all. Period. None. This was fingerprints and all to the FBI and SBI. Turns out the SBI doesn't even record less serious misdemeanors at the state level. For the county, it's all there except the assault charge. But the state, believe it or not, has no record.

So my beef?

First of all, when state statute explicitly says one cannot perjure himself under oath if an expungement was executed and that the crime was never committed under the letter of the law (totally deniable), what business is it of the law school?

Second, if it's not showing up in a FBI, SBI background check with fingerprints?

Third, if you were never actually convicted?!?

This is all garbage. The only thing I take responsibility for is the stupid DUI conviction in 2006. I'd regret it anyway sans law school application process. I do regret it. Completely stupid thing to do and haven't done it since.

Am I a shifty guy? Not at all. Wrong place, wrong time. Other than that, one stupid mistake. But I have to explain all this nonsense to some guy who's never been arrested? Good luck for me.


Uh, you did a national agency check. C&F will receive records direct from each state you lived in and it will show on there. They even get access to expunged and juvenile records that will no longer show when you run it.

User avatar
TheKingintheNorth
Posts: 131
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 10:07 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby TheKingintheNorth » Tue May 17, 2011 1:11 am

blowhard wrote:
hkgjohn wrote:Mine CR would make most ppl in here blush. 1996 assault charge: discharged and subsequently expunged from my record, 1998 charge for drug paraphernalia: charges dropped. 2006 DUI: still on record.

I just did a FBI and State Background check from the SBI and no records were found at all. Period. None. This was fingerprints and all to the FBI and SBI. Turns out the SBI doesn't even record less serious misdemeanors at the state level. For the county, it's all there except the assault charge. But the state, believe it or not, has no record.

So my beef?

First of all, when state statute explicitly says one cannot perjure himself under oath if an expungement was executed and that the crime was never committed under the letter of the law (totally deniable), what business is it of the law school?

Second, if it's not showing up in a FBI, SBI background check with fingerprints?

Third, if you were never actually convicted?!?

This is all garbage. The only thing I take responsibility for is the stupid DUI conviction in 2006. I'd regret it anyway sans law school application process. I do regret it. Completely stupid thing to do and haven't done it since.

Am I a shifty guy? Not at all. Wrong place, wrong time. Other than that, one stupid mistake. But I have to explain all this nonsense to some guy who's never been arrested? Good luck for me.


Uh, you did a national agency check. C&F will receive records direct from each state you lived in and it will show on there. They even get access to expunged and juvenile records that will no longer show when you run it.



What about dismissed charges? Do C&F committees or law schools get access/care about what crimes you were alleged to (but did not) commit, such as the OP's assault charges?

User avatar
DocHawkeye
Posts: 640
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:22 am

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby DocHawkeye » Tue May 17, 2011 8:33 am

TheKingintheNorth wrote:
blowhard wrote:
hkgjohn wrote:Mine CR would make most ppl in here blush. 1996 assault charge: discharged and subsequently expunged from my record, 1998 charge for drug paraphernalia: charges dropped. 2006 DUI: still on record.

I just did a FBI and State Background check from the SBI and no records were found at all. Period. None. This was fingerprints and all to the FBI and SBI. Turns out the SBI doesn't even record less serious misdemeanors at the state level. For the county, it's all there except the assault charge. But the state, believe it or not, has no record.

So my beef?

First of all, when state statute explicitly says one cannot perjure himself under oath if an expungement was executed and that the crime was never committed under the letter of the law (totally deniable), what business is it of the law school?

Second, if it's not showing up in a FBI, SBI background check with fingerprints?

Third, if you were never actually convicted?!?

This is all garbage. The only thing I take responsibility for is the stupid DUI conviction in 2006. I'd regret it anyway sans law school application process. I do regret it. Completely stupid thing to do and haven't done it since.

Am I a shifty guy? Not at all. Wrong place, wrong time. Other than that, one stupid mistake. But I have to explain all this nonsense to some guy who's never been arrested? Good luck for me.


Uh, you did a national agency check. C&F will receive records direct from each state you lived in and it will show on there. They even get access to expunged and juvenile records that will no longer show when you run it.



What about dismissed charges? Do C&F committees or law schools get access/care about what crimes you were alleged to (but did not) commit, such as the OP's assault charges?


I had a charge for failure to proove financial responsibility (i.e.: no insurance). I had insurance and couldn't find my card to prove it. The charge was dismissed because I coulld later show I had coverage. It still shows up in a cursory search of court records and I did disclose it on my applications.

hkgjohn
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:21 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby hkgjohn » Tue May 17, 2011 11:19 am

I can assure you my state keeps terrible records. My FD-258 Fingerprint form, name, social, DOB was submitted to both the SBI and FBI under 'right to review' and the result both found no records. This was evidenced further by my immigration into Canada. I was turned away at the border because I told them (I disclose fully and always tell the truth no matter how much it hurts) the nature of my criminal history. When I came back to the US, US Immigration did a check on me and couldn't find my file. They asked why I was turned away from Canada, then continued searching, asked for amsupervisor and supervisor finally asked why I was being turned away. I explained and he basically told me (and he wasn't supposed too) that I had no CJIS or NCIC file and that some states will not create one for a DUI. But that he's only ever seen it happen for Montana. In the case of the expungement, no CR would/ could make sense. But there was no record of arrest for the dropped drug paraphernalia charge or DUI in my NCIC file. I did a lot of research since me and my lawyer were thoroughly confused after this and found a state statute pertaining to how SBI reporting and recording should be handled. Basically, only with serious (my guess is as good as yours) misdemeanors and all felonies are police agencies in state required to report to the SBI and the FBI to record the charge. It's worth mentioning that I got picked up in the boondoggles, USA for each charge except the first which was expunged. It's very strange I admit, but I believe it's either a product of my state's terrible information systems or the manner of handling such information as I never even saw computer recordings of the charges with the DP charge.

Now private databases on the other hand are a different animal. The data integrity is shocking. All this stuff was there. But the question in my mind is, if a guy comes to you and says look I have a clean, certified state and federal record, what are you going to believe?

Long story short, I can pass a lot of this up to wrong place, wrong time. Which in my situation is absolute truth. I got a bad rap for shit roommates. It happens. On the other hand, I'll have to explain one day that this is not my "character" and that I and truly remorseful for my past conduct and lack of consideration with the DUI. I would rather not have to "explain" a dropped assault or drug paraphernalia charge but that's life.

hkgjohn
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:21 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby hkgjohn » Tue May 17, 2011 11:20 am

DocHawkeye wrote:
TheKingintheNorth wrote:
blowhard wrote:
hkgjohn wrote:Mine CR would make most ppl in here blush. 1996 assault charge: discharged and subsequently expunged from my record, 1998 charge for drug paraphernalia: charges dropped. 2006 DUI: still on record.

I just did a FBI and State Background check from the SBI and no records were found at all. Period. None. This was fingerprints and all to the FBI and SBI. Turns out the SBI doesn't even record less serious misdemeanors at the state level. For the county, it's all there except the assault charge. But the state, believe it or not, has no record.

So my beef?

First of all, when state statute explicitly says one cannot perjure himself under oath if an expungement was executed and that the crime was never committed under the letter of the law (totally deniable), what business is it of the law school?

Second, if it's not showing up in a FBI, SBI background check with fingerprints?

Third, if you were never actually convicted?!?

This is all garbage. The only thing I take responsibility for is the stupid DUI conviction in 2006. I'd regret it anyway sans law school application process. I do regret it. Completely stupid thing to do and haven't done it since.

Am I a shifty guy? Not at all. Wrong place, wrong time. Other than that, one stupid mistake. But I have to explain all this nonsense to some guy who's never been arrested? Good luck for me.


Uh, you did a national agency check. C&F will receive records direct from each state you lived in and it will show on there. They even get access to expunged and juvenile records that will no longer show when you run it.



What about dismissed charges? Do C&F committees or law schools get access/care about what crimes you were alleged to (but did not) commit, such as the OP's assault charges?


I had a charge for failure to proove financial responsibility (i.e.: no insurance). I had insurance and couldn't find my card to prove it. The charge was dismissed because I coulld later show I had coverage. It still shows up in a cursory search of court records and I did disclose it on my applications.


Oh yeah, I got pinched for no registration and speeding. It was all there in my county CR. But not this stuff.

hkgjohn
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:21 pm

Re: Arrest record and law school

Postby hkgjohn » Tue May 17, 2011 11:32 am

blowhard wrote:
hkgjohn wrote:
Uh, you did a national agency check. C&F will receive records direct from each state you lived in and it will show on there. They even get access to expunged and juvenile records that will no longer show when you run it.


I doubt this is true they have access to expunged and sealed records. Your treating the state bar like a law enforcement agency or a administrative court. In my state under statute the only person with access to the expunged record is a AOC court judge. That's it. And those records can only be disclosed in another trial where it pertinent to a particular case and a hearing must be held to release them. This again, only happens in exceptional circumstances.

I submitted both a FBI and SBI 'right to review' request. In both circumstances I was required to disclose a FD-258 fingerprint form, my social sec #, DOB, Place of Birth, Full name, DL, you name it! Both SBI and FBI results came back in a few months 'no arrest record found'. There is some stuff that can be found by private data mining companies on criminal history and more information can be found at the county level but I (pray) I don't have to be too worried about charges dropped and really worried about my DUI conviction.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests