maarmie's musings

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I never knew I was such a hardened criminal

Up until last night, I thought of myself as relatively innocent. It's interesting how the mind works.

Looking over fall 2007 law school applications last night, I came across a section that's similar on all the applications: criminal/driving record. They want to know if I've ever been arrested, and they want information on all "major" traffic infractions. Crap.

Well, I was arrested for underage drinking when I was 19. But I was told at the time that if I paid a $75 fine, the arrest would disappear from my record - as if it never happened. All this time, I have lived under the assumption that my criminal/arrest record was clear. WRONG!

I searched the criminal database for Pinellas County last night, and there I was. 1991. Underage drinking. No contest. Adjudication withheld. $75 fine paid. It's still there!

I paid $19.95 this morning to get a record of all my traffic infractions in Florida. There are plenty, some I don't even remember. I also searched the free online database of traffic infractions and came up with a few more. Those, combined with a speeding ticket in Oregon (which wasn't major) and the whole speeding in a work zone debacle in Illinois (definitely a major infraction) will leave me with two or three major infractions to add to law school applications.

I don't really know what can be done about the major traffic infractions, but I definitely intend on getting that arrest record sealed. It shouldn't even be there in the first place, and I'm really upset and wondering if I can even GET IN to law school. I feel like such a loser, but I never thought I'd be having to list traffic infractions or even misdemeanors on my applications.

THIS SUCKS BIG TIME! But I'm still going to take the LSAT on Sept. 30. I think it's valid for more than a year...


Annie said...

Hi Maarmie,

I've been away on vacation and just now am reading your posts. Congratulations on your plan to pursue law school.

I'll bet they want to know if the legal problems were felonies and such. I'm going to imagine that lots of young applicants have less-than-perfect driving records to list on their applications. You could call the admissions officer and talk with him/her about this and likely that will calm your fears.

Good luck, best wishes.

brent said...

everyone on the planet who has ever driven a car pretty much has a driving record. some people have a lot longer records than you do. i wouldn't worry too much about that. getting arrested is like coming of age. it is one of those ceremonial events in your life where you should hold your head high, instead of the be embarassed by it. it is not like you murdered anyone. drunk at 19. so what? i was drunk at 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and had trouble with the cops nearly everytime. so what? that is what kids do.

maarmie said...

Thanks, Annie. It's nice to see you back. I was wondering where you were. Where'd you go on vacation? I hope you had fun.

Brent: You are right. But I'm still trying to get my record sealed. I've got enough problem with my driving record to also have a criminal record. I need to learn how to drive within the speed limit - or move to Europe where they have the autobon.

Annie said...

Hi Marrmie, I went to Wisconsin, via Bloomington. And I thought of you and your impressions of the size of people when I stopped overnight in Bloomington.

Alix said...

Argh! I am so sorry. After the whole DWI thing a few weeks ago, I am definitely feeling the vibes here. I am sure you aren't the first Law School applicant to have made a mistake like should be ok. *fingers crossed*

You are definitely not a loser.

Squidley said...

I thought they only sealed the records of minors, and 19 year olds are adults.

Still, it's probably a minimal knock against you. As long as you have a good application, something like a DUI that long ago will probable be ignored.

maarmie said...

Nope. I found out yesterday that I can get my case sealed but not expunged. Since the case wasn't dismissed (in other words, since there was a ruling on my case: adjudication withheld) I can't get it expunged. But I can get it sealed. It has to be sealed for 10 years before it can be expunged. Squidley: Even adults can get something sealed as long as it meets certain criteria that can be found in Florida Statutes.

The Misanthrope said...

That's great. I will be pulling for you.