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Author Topic: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???  (Read 12568 times)

lawsc1

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Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« on: June 18, 2009, 10:37:29 PM »
In 2005 I had a larceny misdemeanor.  Since then, it has been expunged from my record.  I was advised by my attorney to never list that I had ever been charged with a crime because it would never show up.  I have been accepted to law school and will be starting in the fall.  At an open house the dean said that if anyone had been charged with anything, expunged or not, that they needed to let him know.  He said that it would show up when time to take the bar and that if it wasn't on record with the law school then it was a problem.  I guess I have 3 questions.  1 - Should I report it to the dean even though it has been expunged?  2 - can they take back my acceptance to the school?  and 3 - will this cause me problems with being able to take the bar or practice law?  Thanks guys!

Jamie Stringer

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Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2009, 10:46:05 PM »
In 2005 I had a larceny misdemeanor.  Since then, it has been expunged from my record.  I was advised by my attorney to never list that I had ever been charged with a crime because it would never show up.  I have been accepted to law school and will be starting in the fall.  At an open house the dean said that if anyone had been charged with anything, expunged or not, that they needed to let him know.  He said that it would show up when time to take the bar and that if it wasn't on record with the law school then it was a problem.  I guess I have 3 questions.  1 - Should I report it to the dean even though it has been expunged?  2 - can they take back my acceptance to the school?  and 3 - will this cause me problems with being able to take the bar or practice law?  Thanks guys!

1. Yes, you always report.  If in doubt, report or ask.  The dean told you explicitly to report whether expunged or not.

2. I doubt they would rescind the acceptance, but you should report it ASAP so as not to look like you were purposely lying.

3. If it's a misdemeanor in the past and you haven't been in any trouble since then, you'll probably be OK with the bar.  Check on the website of the state in which you'd like to practice.  They should have information there regarding eligibility for the bar.
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RobWreck

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Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2009, 06:48:12 PM »
In 2005 I had a larceny misdemeanor.  Since then, it has been expunged from my record.  I was advised by my attorney to never list that I had ever been charged with a crime because it would never show up.  I have been accepted to law school and will be starting in the fall.  At an open house the dean said that if anyone had been charged with anything, expunged or not, that they needed to let him know.  He said that it would show up when time to take the bar and that if it wasn't on record with the law school then it was a problem.  I guess I have 3 questions.  1 - Should I report it to the dean even though it has been expunged?  2 - can they take back my acceptance to the school?  and 3 - will this cause me problems with being able to take the bar or practice law?  Thanks guys!

1. Yes, you always report.  If in doubt, report or ask.  The dean told you explicitly to report whether expunged or not.

2. I doubt they would rescind the acceptance, but you should report it ASAP so as not to look like you were purposely lying.

3. If it's a misdemeanor in the past and you haven't been in any trouble since then, you'll probably be OK with the bar.  Check on the website of the state in which you'd like to practice.  They should have information there regarding eligibility for the bar.

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jtgain

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Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2009, 03:34:22 PM »
IANAL, yet, :) but I was under the impression that expunged meant just that.  Legally it never happened.  If you were convicted of murder, but later had your record expunged, you could legally answer "No" to the question, "Have you ever been convicted of murder?".

Is this wrong?

Jamie Stringer

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Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009, 06:10:21 PM »
IANAL, yet, :) but I was under the impression that expunged meant just that.  Legally it never happened.  If you were convicted of murder, but later had your record expunged, you could legally answer "No" to the question, "Have you ever been convicted of murder?".

Is this wrong?

Yes that's wrong when the question asked about convictions and includes a statement about including expunged convictions.
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T-Mann

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Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2009, 11:41:08 AM »
By introduction, I am an attorney and have been in private practice for 28 years. Over the last 10 years I have been the Vice Chair of Character and Fitness in my home state. My comments are as follows:

1)  Expunged does not mean it disappears. There is still a record. When a State Bar does a criminal check from fingerprints, odds are that the record will be found.

2)  Most law school applications do not limit background questions to convictions only. In your case if the Dean indicated that everthing should be disclosed you need to do so.
Most law schools will not expel a student for a misademeanor that was brought to their attention by the student post admission.

3)  Each state is different in how they investigate Bar Applicants. Always error on full disclosure. Many times an applicant's Bar admission will be held up not because of the underlying offense, but by the failure to simply disclose it.

I hope this addresses your questions.

jtgain

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Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2009, 11:52:42 AM »

1)  Expunged does not mean it disappears. There is still a record. When a State Bar does a criminal check from fingerprints, odds are that the record will be found.


So, what is the purpose of expunging a record if it remains?

T-Mann

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Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2009, 01:27:43 PM »
I can only speak as to my state. Per statute, the record of expungment is not destroyed. It is retained as a nonpublic record. Pursuant to the authorization that all Bar applicants sign for admission, the State Bar has access to ALL documents as a state agency. While the public does not have access to the record of expungment, we do.

Once again, I stress that full disclosure on law school applications is critical. I have seen countless situations wherein a questions was answered "no" on a law school application.  Three years later the "no" answer conflicts with the criminal records which will cause a delay in being admitted to practice law. On many occasions it is not the underlying act that causes the problem but the failure to disclose which calls into question the truthfulness and candor of the applicant. While most applicants with minor issues will pass, why put yourself in a situation where your license to practice law is held up? Depending on the state, the delay can be anywhere from three to six months after the Bar exam results are published.

Succinctly stated, view this post as nothing more than an attempt to provide information on how the process really works. Its purpose is not to engage in debating the meaning of expunged or whether it is "fair" that we have access to such records. The reality is we have access to everything. As such one should act accordingly.

jtgain

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Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2009, 07:48:40 PM »
Thank you.  I wasn't doubting what you said, just puzzled.  It seems to me that it not truly an expungement if a record is kept.  In the state where I grew up, an order of expungement served to delete any electronic record and any paper record was either destroyed or the relevant text was redacted.

DrAjay

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Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2009, 03:18:51 PM »
when you fill out the bar application, there will be a question that if you have any record, expunged or not. You have to say yes. The bar also get the application from school, which obviously not going to match. Thats the reason Dean asked you and every one else. I believe, bar does not care about offense but rather you trying to hide and not be truthful.