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Author Topic: Just pled guilty to a drug code violation at my undergrad..  (Read 800 times)

Gorillathyne

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It's the end of my junior year, and I just pled guilty to possessing some marijuana and paraphernalia in my dorm. I have been placed on disciplinary probation for one year, to be expunged from my record at graduation.
I'm taking a year off after I graduate to do some good in the world and to apply to law school, so by the time I actually apply the record would have been expunged, regardless I know I should disclose it on my application. I'm worried as to how this could effect my admission prospects. The schools I would like to attend are not particularly 'safe' for me (I am just below their average accepted GPA, but well above their average accepted LSAT score), and I'm worried that this could be the tipping point that leads to rejection.
Any suggestions on how to handle this situation? Should I not report it to law schools? Is there something positive I can do to offset the negative impact this may have on my application?

My friends are telling me I'm freaking out for nothing, but I really don't think this is as minor as people are making it out to be.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Just pled guilty to a drug code violation at my undergrad..
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2012, 09:18:25 PM »
Here is the general rule that you should follow: disclose, disclose, disclose. If you don't disclose, and your law school later discovers the disciplinary issue, you can be dismissed from law school. If they discover it after graduation, your degree can be revoked and you can be disbarred. I'm not making this up, check with your state's bar association.

Perhaps you already know this, but before you can be admitted to the bar you will have to acquire a positive Moral Character & Fitness determination from your state's  bar.  The process is essentially a detailed background check, and you will be required to disclose any and all instances of academic/legal probation. The bar will quickly figure out that you lied to your law school, and you will rue the day you failed to disclose. As you will learn in law school, when it comes to state bar admissions the cover up is often worse than the crime. Disclosure must be full and frank, making excuses and playing word games will not be tolerated. It is imperitive that you disclose the good, the bad, and especially the ugly. Anything involving drugs (yes, even pot) is taken very, very seriously.

I'm going to assume that you're friends who think this is no big deal are not law students or lawyers. Don't listen to them. I don't know how much disclosure will harm your chances of admission, but failure to disclose (which will be treated as a LIE by the state bar) will certainly hurt you.

Now, don't lose heart. I don't know what state you're in, but you're not the first person who has applied to law school with such issues. People here in CA do get admitted to law school and the bar with such isues, provided that they demonstrate that they have learned from their mistakes, remain squeeky clean, and are fully, 100% honest about their bad behavior. You should contact your state bar (or whatever state you want to live in) and ask them about their policies. They may have a program you need to follow to gain admission.

I hope this helps, and good luck!

legend

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Re: Just pled guilty to a drug code violation at my undergrad..
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2012, 10:55:15 PM »
Roald is right on point I know people who have been admitted to practice with DUI's and an assortment of other misdemeanors being arrested, bar fights, and a laundry list of more serious offenses than having pot in college. The moral character admissions  vary state by state, but a pot charge in college is probably not going to result in you being unable to practice law. The only way this could hurt you is by not disclosing it on your law school application and when the time comes your moral character application.

jack24

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Re: Just pled guilty to a drug code violation at my undergrad..
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2012, 10:45:19 AM »
The first day of law school in my legal writing course (which was called "lawyering"), they subjected us to several cases involving disbarment and bar application appeals.  I was surprised at some of the stuff people were able to do and still get a license, but one thing they had no tolerance for was failure to disclose.    Since most states require a background check to sit for the bar, the bar will find out and they will cross reference that background check with all of your bar and law school applications.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Just pled guilty to a drug code violation at my undergrad..
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2012, 11:22:35 AM »
The first day of law school in my legal writing course (which was called "lawyering"), they subjected us to several cases involving disbarment and bar application appeals.  I was surprised at some of the stuff people were able to do and still get a license, but one thing they had no tolerance for was failure to disclose.    Since most states require a background check to sit for the bar, the bar will find out and they will cross reference that background check with all of your bar and law school applications.

Yeah, that's really the key point. I recently heard a story (a friend-of-a-friend type of thing) about a guy who did something which was more serious than getting caught with pot in college. It involved intentional misrepresentation and occured during law school. The person fully disclosed all details of his bad behavior, took full responsibility, and was admitted. If that person had not disclosed, or had been less than candid in their disclosure, they would likely not have been admitted. Again, a cover-up is often considered worse than the crime.