I am 22 years old and currently applying to law school in California. I graduated from Cal Poly this past June with an excellent GPA, a pretty good LSAT score, and Honors Recognition. But I am really worried that despite all of this, an expunged misdemeanor that I have will affect my applications. A lot of the schools I am applying to also require that we disclose any expungements, so I want an opinion on how badly this may or may not hurt me.
When I was 20, I was driving with my boyfriend and his cousin to the US Golf Open in Pebble Beach. His cousin, who was 22 at the time, wanted to pick up a few beers for himself before we got there, because he knew that drinks would be expensive once we were inside. I stopped at 7-Eleven for him, but told him not to open the beers while we were driving. Once we got to the parking lot, I parked the car, took the keys out of the ignition, and we sat and hung out in the car, doors open, just talking while he drank a few of his beers. I had nothing to drink because I was driving. Then a cop car came, and called another, and told us we looked suspicious. He ended up writing up the cousin for an open container violation, my boyfriend for a minor in possession (he had one beer and admitted to it), and wrote me up for a vehicle code that states that a minor is not to drive with an open container in his/her car. When I went to court, the judge kind of laughed at the matter, since I was neither drinking nor driving, but since the car was registered in my name, I got the ticket for owning the car and for allowing open containers in it. She allowed me to take a 4 hour alcohol awareness class, and write a single paged paper on it, and it was expunged from my record. I did not plea either way (I don’t think..she told me that it would be expunged but that if I pled not guilty I would have to actually fight it in court and the public defender told me to just do the class and get it expunged.) I guess my question is, how badly do you think this will affect me? And since I agreed to not plead “not guilty”, does that mean I technically plead guilty before getting it expunged? I am FREAKING out so if you are an attorney, preferably who went to law school and practices in California, please please tell me what you think!!!
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