Law School Discussion

Disciplinary probation fresh. year, Underage jun. year. Can I get in law school?

Towards the middle of my freshman year of college I was placed on disciplinary probation because of an incident involving marijuana. I was with some people who got arrested and charged for paraphernalia and marijuana possession, and because I was with them earlier when everyone had actually smoked I was placed on disciplinary probation for one year with two random drug tests.  I passed the drug tests with flying colors, and finished out the rest of my probation problem free.  I remained problem free for about a year and a half until 3 weeks before my junior year began.  One night when at a friends house me and some buddies had a few drinks and decided that it would be better to walk home rather than drive our cars (you know, trying to be safe, intelligent people).  As we were walking, a cop pulled up next to us and my buddies who had realized it decided to run.  So because they ran the cop stopped his car, got out and grabbed me who had no idea what was going on.  Unfortunately it was three months before my 21st birthday, so they gave me an underage and allowed me to have someone pick me up because I was fully cooperative.  I am taking all the necessary steps and completing a diversion class for it soon so it will be wiped from my record, and my probation ends in November, 2013.

So, over the course of about 2 and a half years, I was put on disciplinary probation and received an underage for some pretty crappy reasons (if you ask me at least).  My question is, how much of an impact will this have on my chances of being admitted to law school? Also, does anyone have any suggestions on how to best go about handling this situation?

It's not clear from your story but what did you get in the second incident? Were you in possession of alcohol or just intoxicated?

Also, from the first story it's not entirely clear if that's a criminal sanction or a student sanction.

Either way, it will be a difficult hurdle to overcome. As you may or may not know, you have to report these incidents to law school and the state bar regardless of whether or not they remain or will remain on your record.

The trouble is that both involve criminal conduct, regardless of whether or not the first incident was criminal or 'merely' student. It shows that you, as a young student, have had trouble with the law due to the use of drugs and alcohol. Yes, they are relatively minor, and people who are convicted murderers and who have DUIs are admitted to law school and the bar, but it will probably cause many schools second thoughts.

Thanks for the input, I appreciate it.

In the second incident I was just intoxicated, and the probation from the first incident was school sanctioned.

I mean smoking some pot and being drunk in college before your 20th birthday probably won't be major issues. Disclose it of course you will get in far more trouble by not disclosing, but these incidents are pretty common for law students.

I have known guys with DUI's and some who were arrested for drunk and disorderlys who passed their state bar's moral character application. I personally made some immature decisions in college as well most people do including admissions officers.

Bottom line is these won't help your situation but as long as you disclose you should be alright.

The key in these situations is to be absolutely candid and to disclose everything. Don't make excuses, don't equivocate, just be honest. People get admitted to law school and the bar with similar issues as long as they are honest and don't repeat the mistakes. After law school you'll have to apply for a moral character determination from the state bar before you can be admitted. They will likely require full disclosure of any such incidents. The thing that they really don't tolerate is a lack of candor (the cover up is worse than the crime, often). They want to see that you own up to your mistakes and have learned from them. Keep squeeky clean from now on and fully disclose.

That said, you should always contact your state bar and get the answers straight from them. They may have certain requirements of which people here are unaware. Anything you get here is just an educated guess. 

Well said Maintain simple fact is I imagine nobody that works for the State Bar is posting on here and even if they were they probably won't be working for the state your interested in. Nobody knows better than the people who make the decision and remember to take everything written by anonymous interent posters with a grain of salt.

Certainly I have known people who got into Top 14, Top 20, Tier 1, whatever schools having smoked pot and gotten an alcohol citation. It will be a negative soft factor for the OP and every admissions committee will at least have a comment about it.

What may suck for OP is that it's unclear what evidence the police had against him in the underage alcohol incident. Did you receive intoxicated in public (while minor) or whatever your state equivalent is? What led the police to believe that you were intoxicated? Did you make any attempt to fight the charge? I doubt anything could be done now; just curious.

I did not receive a public intox, I was just given the underage drinking charge.  What led to the police thinking I was under the influence was that everyone began to run once they came up alongside us, that and they claimed that they could smell the alcohol on my breath.  I did not make an attempt to fight the charge, just to get it removed (which I am in the process of, just need to take my diversion class).  I convinced myself that being responsible and admitting what I had done rather than try and avoid it would be the best thing to do (not so sure about that decision now).

It is always best to be responsible and admit what is going on and as long as you do that on your application to law school as well as the moral character application there will be no issue.

I am licensed to practice law and did a few things myself there was no issue. There are also numerous people I have known the received DUI's, been arrested for bar fights, blah blah, you don't need to be a saint to be admitted to the bar. The only real way to get in trouble is if you commit a felony or lie/fail to disclose. You didn't commit a felony and as long as you don't lie or fail to disclose it should all work out.