Law School Discussion

Arrest Record..Am I screwed

Arrest Record..Am I screwed
« on: May 17, 2008, 11:34:11 AM »
I have 3 arrest as a minor (no convictions).

They were at the age of 15-16 years old (I am now 23)

They are:

1) Carrying brass knuckles (I grew up in a tough environment, borrowed my friends knuckles for "protection" and I was stopped and arrested. (15 years old)

2) I was at a friends party and cops arrived, I hade a small bag with a marijuana seed in inside. - 16 years old

3) My friends were all into graffiti, I was accused of taking part(I actually didn't, I was never into that, I have very bad handwrititng )- 16 year old

I am really beat up about this not in regards to the bar (I plan to practice in Florida) because I already called and I think my chances are still solid.

But I feel and I know that law schools will not look well upon this. What bothers me is that I was so young and since then I have not had a single problem. I matured, left my environment by getting married and starting a new life away from everyone I knew as a child. I now have a son I work very hard to provide and I have done well in school.

I am applying to several schools: 159 3.56 (3.84 degree)

Ohio state

Am I totally screwed?

Re: Arrest Record..Am I screwed
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2008, 01:08:11 PM »
The conventional wisdom is that it's best to disclose the exact details of each infraction in a criminal addendum, and then perhaps write your personal statement about how you've matured from when those arrests occurred. UF will probably ask for documentation (they did with my arrest record), so you might want to go ahead and track those down, since they might be hard to find from that long ago. Personally (and I could be totally wrong/biased about this), I think UF would be the most unwilling to look past your record - I thought that that's what they did with my application, although it could just be sour grapes on my part.

If you've already contacted the Florida Bar (one of the most stringent ones, I hear) and got a preliminary OK, that's a pretty good sign.

Re: Arrest Record..Am I screwed
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2008, 03:04:59 PM »
I had very similiar record as a juvenile, so I know exacltly what your going through. First, law schools will not care. I know because I had a worse juvenile record than you and got into several law schools. MOST bar examiners will not care at all, I was just admitted in NJ and NY. However, Florida Bar will care a lot. More than the fed gov or any other state. Florida looks for any reason whatsoever to deny people, or at the very least, delay your getting your license for a long time, like years. So, you are definetly not screwed, esp as far as getting into law school goes, and you are not screwed with the bar, except the florida bar, with them your absolutely screwed. And whatever you do, dont lie about any of it.

Re: Arrest Record..Am I screwed
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 07:32:41 PM »
If you are borderline with a school, plan on it holding some weight. I went through a similar problem and believed it held a factor in the decision made for me at Stetson. However, the comment above about the FL bar is totally false. I've spoken with 3 bar attorneys who informed me (my record is more recent, not as many incidents, but more extreme) informed me that as long as long as judication was with-held you will be fine. If the record was allowed to be sealed then you are really golden because even though you must reveal this information to law schoools and the bar, they view it as "if FL allowed it to go away than we will treat it as such." However, expect to FULLY disclose each instance and also be ready to be G-R-I-L-L-E-D by the bar when you apply. I recommend applying early to the bar, end of freshman year even and speaking (if not hiring) an attorney to help you with your bar interview. If you go to FSU, message me and I can give you a name.

Re: Arrest Record..Am I screwed
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2008, 03:09:42 PM »
Perhaps I misread the OP's post, but I believe he said that there were 3 arrests with no convictions. Isn't there something about 'innocent until proven guilty'? How can a state's bar association hold an arrest against the OP when it didn't lead to a conviction? I mean, if he entered into some sort of plea bargain or ACoD, then it might be a different story, but I'd imagine what would be termed as 'stupid teenage mistakes' won't have too much of an impact when the OP applies for the bar 10 years later.
Of course I don't have any actual experience, so I could be wrong (but my actual convictions for similar stupid mistakes from 10 years prior didn't affect my application for law school)...