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Great application... with a criminal history

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Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2012, 14:07
I'm not looking for any kind of lectures or judgments, but here's my situation:

I'm applying for the Fall of 2013 to a number of very competitive schools and think that I have an appealing package:
-740 GMAT
-3.5 undergrad dual major
-Ex-military officer with combat deployments
-just earned an MS with a 3.8
-Phenomenal recommendations (including one from a 3-star general)

But, I have one dark spot on my application:
I have 2 DUIs on my record. One from 2009 and one from just a couple of months ago. I've always been really good with academics, work ethic, and community service, but I've struggled with alcohol for the last few years. This most recent DUI is still in court, but most likely going to result in a couple weeks in county jail and probation. No other criminal history and both DUIs were fairly "simple" (no resisting arrest, no crashes, no injuries... just weaving and being pulled over). I've made a serious commitment to going sober (and have been so since the night of my last arrest). I would hate to be an automatic reject because of this "criminal past" - both are misdemeanors without any kind of violence or "wicked mindedness". Anyone have any insight into a situation like this? Should I even bother spending the time and money applying to places like HBS (dream school)?

Again, I'm not looking for a lecture on drinking and driving, just an honest assessment.
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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2012, 17:51
I honestly don't know. You aren't the first person, nor will you be the last to get a DUI. I think the issue becomes the 2nd DUI (which I'm sure you are aware). I wouldn't tell you not to apply because of it, but you're going to have to address it in the optional essay. The biggest thing you will need to show is what you have learned, what steps you've taken to address the issues leading to the DUIs, and maybe what you have done since to atone (talking to high school students about the dangers of driving while intoxicated or helping other vets who struggle with alcohol). Also I don't know if there is enough time and distance between application and the last infraction to make an admissions team comfortable with believing that these issues are truly behind you.

I am not an expert so I am only speaking from the perspective of how I'd view this information if I was a student admissions fellow and you applied to my school. You may want to run this by an admissions consultant to see if they have experience with cases like yours.
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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2012, 03:27
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I have to say, your heading definitely caught my eye!
Anyhow, you'll get no lecturing from me, and anyhow, I wouldn't go so far far as to call yourself a 'criminal.'
Now, I'm not a lawyer or anything, but one thing to look into is if your DUI is a felony or a misdemeanor. If they are misdemeanors, I think you may be able to get away with not reporting them, and then just leaving this in your private life (where, IMHO, it belongs).

If you DO have to report it (which I'm not sure you do), then then optional essay could be a good place to explain it as cheetarah pointed out, but my first advice would be to try and avoid mentioning it.
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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2012, 03:20
What sort of discharge did you receive from the military? Did one of the DUIs result in an other-than-honorable? That will have an impact on your application in addition to the fact that you're a repeat DUI offender.

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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2012, 12:41
Honorable discharge. I was in the service when I got the first one and went to mast for it, but didn't affect my discharge.

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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2012, 13:01
That second DUI is a big problem IMO, because its very recent and it seriously calls your judgement into question. As cheeterah suggested, perhaps you should wait for 1 year to put a bit of distance between the app and your second DUI. In that time you can get treatment for your problem. You could even weave your struggle with alcoholism into your essays and portray it as something you've overcome rather than a weakness. But that hinges on applying next year, not this year. Good luck man, your profile is otherwise quite stellar.
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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2012, 11:16
Well, here's how I'm thinking of handling the situation:

My second case is slowly making its way through the legal system. I'm going to have all my applications completed and sent in before final disposition of the case. Since the applications ask about felony and misdemeanor convictions, I won't have to report it on the application since no conviction will have occurred. I am going to talk to my attorney about dragging this case out until at least late October.

It may seem a bit shady, but totally in my rights and probably my best chance of leaving the second incident off my MBA applications.
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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2012, 15:19
stevehk wrote:
Well, here's how I'm thinking of handling the situation:

My second case is slowly making its way through the legal system. I'm going to have all my applications completed and sent in before final disposition of the case. Since the applications ask about felony and misdemeanor convictions, I won't have to report it on the application since no conviction will have occurred. I am going to talk to my attorney about dragging this case out until at least late October.

It may seem a bit shady, but totally in my rights and probably my best chance of leaving the second incident off my MBA applications.


So you haven't actually been convicted yet?? Is there ANY chance your lawyer could plea bargain it down to something other than DUI??
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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2012, 05:26
pze wrote:
So you haven't actually been convicted yet?? Is there ANY chance your lawyer could plea bargain it down to something other than DUI??


No, I guess luckily the wheels of justice spin very slowly in Ohio. If it goes to trial, it won't be till around late October. My attorney is working on a plea agreement, but the next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 5th.
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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2012, 07:27
I think your "dragging out the case" idea is the way to go. That 2nd DUI could be a big "No No" for any admission team. Even one DUI will be looked negatively upon, and could be a hickup for a top school like Harvard. With MBA Alumni and Applicants ethics called into question in the last few years, these types of things are definitely considered. Since you won't be convicted, technically you do not yet have a 2nd DUI. I know it sounds shady, but your lawyer is going to work as hard as he can to get you off with no DUI, and what if he succeeds? It wouldn't make any sense to have reported something that doesn't even exist. You need to do what is best for you. Right now you are assuming you have a 2nd DUI, but you won't until you are convicted. It might make sense to apply to a very wide range of schools this year before that 2nd DUI hits your record.

I would look into each school's policy though, b/c I'm not sure if once a conviction is or isn't made if you will have to report if you are convicted.

I wish you the best with your struggles with alcohol. Where I grew up, DUI's were a big problem, and I've seen lots of people hurt their personal and professional lives with multiple DUI's, arrests, or even felonys. It's not worth it. Here in CA if you get a 3rd DUI you can lose your license FOR LIFE.

Good luck
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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2012, 07:53
Even dragging the case out may not work though right? I mean, doesnt it all depend on when they do a background check? Say you're convicted in November, and accepted somewhere in December... Wouldnt that still show up in a check if they do those in say Jan?

I wouldnt consider yourself in the clear at all... Try as hard as possible for a plea... Good luck man.
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Re: Great application... with a criminal history [#permalink] New post 15 Aug 2012, 08:08
highwyre237 wrote:
Even dragging the case out may not work though right? I mean, doesnt it all depend on when they do a background check? Say you're convicted in November, and accepted somewhere in December... Wouldnt that still show up in a check if they do those in say Jan?

I wouldnt consider yourself in the clear at all... Try as hard as possible for a plea... Good luck man.


Your point is valid. But I would think it's easier to already have an admissions offer when reporting it vice having it during the application phase.
Re: Great application... with a criminal history   [#permalink] 15 Aug 2012, 08:08
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