Do You Really Need to Disclose Speeding Tickets?

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I get a huge number of questions about what needs to be disclosed on law school applications, and applicants are especially annoyed when schools want to know about traffic tickets. Here is a great explanation from Washington and Lee Law about how to respond to these issues and why it’s important to do so.

12 thoughts on “Do You Really Need to Disclose Speeding Tickets?

  1. Wendi See on said:

    Ann, How specific do you need to be on the moving violations? Obviously, the first answer to my own question is to read the instructions, but I have one app that wants specifics that I cannot provide. Here is the scenario: As you know I am “old” :). I have only had two moving violations in my driving career. One at 16 and one two years ago. Obviously, I remember CLEARLY the one (for speeding) two years ago. I remember the charge from age 16 (failure to yield right of way). I DO remember the jurisdiction and the “arresting” officer’s name because we later dated (very interesting story but probably not the one the law school wants :). Anyway, I paid a fine but I have no idea how much or even the exact dates. I really only remember because it was my first ticket–therefore traumatic–but it WAS 22 years ago. I doubt anyone even has a record of it anymore. How far must I go to fulfill “specific” instructions? Do I need to draw attention to the obvious–that it’s so long ago that I don’t remember and can’t get the info or can I just list it with the approximate dates and they’ll GET the gist on their own?

    • Suzannah on said:

      I have a similar question to the original poster – I have been driving for 25 years. I can remember getting a ticket on the LIE, and I have the very vaguest of notions when it happened (sometime between 2001-2004) but I don’t remember specifically and have no way of finding out. I want to disclose it, but I don’t know how bad it will sound that I don’t remember when it happened. What’s the best way to disclose it? Thanks!

      • Ann Levine on said:

        Suzannah, it’s a common problem and not a big deal. Just say something along the lines of “To the best of my recollection, in my 25 years of driving, I have only received one speeding ticket. It is no longer on my driving record but I believe it was approximately 10-12 years ago in Long Island and that I paid the fine promptly…”

  2. Ann, thank you for bringing this topic up. I was not even aware of this practice. From your admissions experience, what does really play a role in admission process? The actual information or the ability to air it all? Interesting enough, nobody is seeing this as another information hook spun as “must be candid to be in our school”. Where do we as applicants draw the line? Granted I have no record as such, but in my opinion this application inquiry might be crossing the line.

  3. Ann,

    Thank you so much for all of your advice. I have a similar question regarding the amount of information to disclose to law schools. I have come across applications that have asked me to list the other law schools to which I have applied or intend to apply. All but one mark the question as optional. How do law school admission officers view answers to this question? Are they able to get the information from other sources? Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Hi Liz,
      I talk about this in my book, but basically there’s no point in being evasive. It’s a marketing question. Unless you have a 150 LSAT and you list top 5 schools or you list all schools on the opposite coast from the one where you’re applying, you should be fine. It’s a marketing question more than anything else and it would appear insincere to make it look like you’re not applying to other schools.
      Have a great weekend!

  4. Fiona on said:

    Hey Ann,

    I was charged with 2 reckless driving tickets in Virginia, a state with crazy laws that make misdemeanors out of what are speeding tickets in most if not all other states (my reckless driving charges were for 55mph on a 30mph street and 84mph on a 65 mph highway). The first one I was able to reduce to a regular speeding ticket in court; the second one I was also able to do that for, but only after driving school and community service.

    Do these need to be reported as misdemeanors on all apps? Or are they traffic violations to only be included on some?

    Thank you for everything, your book is carrying me through applications!

    Fiona

  5. I have had several speeding tickets and some of them I have no idea when they occurred. Is this something that I would have to look into before applying? How serious are these questions?

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