Navigating your professional and personal life after a criminal conviction might be challenging due to the prejudice that might come with the sentence. In addition, your licensed professional career hits bumps as the licensing board may hold an administrative hearing to draw a final verdict. During the case trial, the board may either revoke or suspend your license.
Sometimes you might feel the decision from the board will not favor you. You must seek legal help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorney will help you learn more about professional licensing in California. Also, the attorney will ensure you obtain the best possible outcome for your case.
At Los Angeles Criminal Attorney, we offer personalized legal services to our clients. We know license revocation can negatively impact your future life. We do everything possible to ensure you keep your professional license. Therefore, we are here if you seek legal services, including professional licensing in Los Angeles.
Understanding Professional Licensing in California
A professional license in California is any permit, registration, certification, or license you require to work in the state. The professional license includes licenses to perform certain services, sell products, or operate certain vehicles. The following group of people might require a professional license to operate in California:
- Food vendors
- Bar owners
- Security guards
- Surgeons and doctors
- Real estate agents
Therefore based on your job, the law in California allows you to hold a professional license. Many people depend on professionals for their health, safety, and well-being. That’s why the government is on the frontline to ensure that professionals are well-qualified.
You could face charges for contracting without a professional license when you work without a valid professional license. The charges include your professional license revocation or suspension. Punishment can significantly affect your daily life. When accused of the charge, you have the opportunity to fight the charge with the help of a criminal defense attorney.
How Do You Obtain a Professional License in California?
The legal process for becoming licensed in California changes based on the job type and industry standards. Sometimes, you might be required to attend a graduate or vocational school and pass a licensing exam. The common steps for obtaining professional licensing include the following:
- Completing an application form
- You offer references
- You consent to fingerprint
- Present your educational transcripts
- You pay the application fee
Things need to be corrected during preparing and applying for professional licensing. You require the help of your attorney to gather the necessary material and know the requirements from the licensing board. The professional license can expire, but the renewal process is simple. In many cases, you will only be required to fill out a renewal form when renewing your professional license. So, when your professional license expires, you want to seek legal help from your defense attorney to help on what to do next. The attorney will provide the best legal help you require.
The Crimes that Lead to Disciplinary Hearing
The licensing board cannot summon you for a crime that does not affect your work line. Many criminal offenses affect your professional license based on whether you commit the crime at the workstation or elsewhere. You must understand which crimes affect your professional license and how they affect the license. The following criminal convictions may attract investigations from the board of licensing:
Sexual Harassment of Clients and Employees
In California, the law is against sexual harassment, especially at the workstation where the harassing person might hold a high-profile office and force the junior workers to engage in sexual activities. When the law finds you guilty of harassing your colleague or employee, the matter could be discussed at a licensed hearing based on the type of your work field.
If you work in the medical field, your patients might report you for conducting acts that count as sexual harassment. These behaviors may include making advances or indecently groping the patients in a private room. Since the alleged patient is the complainant in the case, your clinic might face significant problems because of the reviews that might spread quickly even before the court convicts you. Your registration as a sex offender could prevent you from seeking a job in the future.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse at the WorkStation
In California, the workstation must be alcohol and drug-free to enable the workers to respond to the clients and the tasks efficiently. You may face conviction when you go to the workplace while under the influence of alcohol or drugs during working hours. The board for licensing may also decide to call a hearing since intoxication can expose you and the workers to danger.
For example, you are a licensed engineer and visit a construction site while under the influence of drugs. Based on the poor decisions you make, you might become a safety hazard. Also, a doctor who performs their duties while intoxicated may wrongly diagnose a patient and issue the wrong medication due to poor judgment. It is a severe malpractice to abuse drugs while at work.
Practicing Theft at the Workstation
If you are an employee in a prominent company, you might collude with other workers to steal deliveries and supplies made to the workstation. For example, if you work in a pharmaceutical company, drugs are offloaded during a specific time, ready for sale. So, when you acquire the drugs illegally for personal use, you face grand theft if the amount of the drugs is worth $950 and above. Note participating in or organizing theft offenses could attract severe penalties.
Tax Crimes at the WorkStation
You might lose your professional license when you commit tax offenses. A licensed business might order the employees to include taxes on the patients or clients to help them make huge profits. Your professional license would be affected when arrested and charged with the crime. You want to speak with your criminal attorney when you find yourself in a similar situation. The attorney will guide you through the legal process and ensure you obtain the best case option.
What is the Disciplinary Hearing Procedure?
Primarily, when with a crime, you face the board of licensing, where the officials will conduct administrative hearings and ask questions about the crime. First, the committee prepares a hearing date to ensure you prepare for the issue. Also, you can hire your criminal attorney to help you navigate the legal process.
Since the hearing does not consider evidence like in the cases of criminal offenses, you do not walk around to collect evidence. But ensure you make enough preparations to answer the questions from the disciplinary committee. The board decides the best techniques to question you when the trial begins. The committee considers the following factors to make their final verdict:
The Nature of the Charge
In addition to analyzing your charge, it is essential to know whether you received an official charge for the crime. Sometimes law enforcement officers arrest you and release you immediately after lacking probable cause. So, when this is your case, you do not have official charges filed against you. However, the records might include your full name if you had undergone the police booking process. Note you will be in a better position to face disciplinary action without the official charges. The professional licensing board can only issue you a warning and evade the charges.
The Type of Offense You Committed
During the disciplinary hearing, the board of licensing discusses the nature of the criminal offense. The board discusses more on the actual malpractice you committed. If you committed a crime resulting in a misdemeanor charge, your attorney can negotiate with the court for a less severe charge and retain your professional license. However, when you commit a severe crime like rape, the professional licensing board will more likely impose severe penalties.
The Term of Practice
During the disciplinary hearing, the professional licensing board may check whether you are a first-time or repeat offender. To do so, the board gathers information about your practice period. The questions aim to analyze your competence and behavior during the practice period.
So, if you have practiced your profession for an extended period without convictions or incompetent reports from your clients, you might persuade the board to let you off the warning. The board has the discretion when issuing its final verdict.
After concluding the disciplinary hearing, the licensing board directs you to future dates. Sometimes, the board might only require a few hours to decide, especially when the issue is straightforward.
Your professional licensing agency may decide to apply for an administrative hearing in a court headed by OAH. The judge from the administrative court presides over the issue to develop a final verdict. The board of licensing usually carries the burden of proving the conviction. The licensing board uses records from the department of justice to prove the crime.
After the administrative judge hears from the two sides, they make a final decision. The board must either follow the judge’s recommendation or choose an option.
Can you Save Your Professional License Regardless of the Criminal Charge?
Revoking your professional license can be one of the worst things you can experience. It would be best if you considered whether you have criminal charges. The licensing board will likely hold an administrative hearing if you have a criminal charge. Avoid the hearing by negotiating with the board of professional licensing. If you do not attend the administrative hearing, you can reduce the discipline by presenting mitigating factors. The mitigating factors might include the following:
- Your cooperation with the licensing board during the investigation
- Lack of harm to the patients or clients
- Self-reported incidents without the boards pressuring you to do so
- Lack of past criminal records
Remember to avoid discipline from the board of licensing; you must work with an aggressive criminal defense attorney. The attorney can file a litigation letter to the district attorney and prevent the licensing board from filing charges. Also, the attorney can go for the plea bargain. The best plea bargain is the one that will allow you deferred entry. Also, the attorney can seek a probation period. Remember, probation is simpler than facing criminal penalties like jail terms and heavy fines.
How the Licensing Board Receives your Criminal Record Information
If you are practicing your professional career on a license in California, you want to learn the varied ways licensing boards use to have your criminal record. When you know the various sources of information on your past conviction, you will prepare questions to use during the hearing. Again you will make reports in person to avoid issuing false information. The channels used by the board to discover your criminal record include:
Reports from Regular Board Checks
The licensing board conducts its diligence by performing several checks with the criminal record-keeping department every year. In doing so, the committee discovers new information that could have been overlooked concerning your criminal convictions. After the board obtains and verifies your records, they will send a message informing you of their discovery.
Sometimes, the board gives you a chance to respond to their claims of discovery. They allow you to meet with your criminal defense attorney and prepare for the defenses you will raise.
Reports from the Department of Justice
In California, the department of justice is required to keep a record of anyone arrested or prosecuted in California. The department gets information from the sheriff's, police, district attorney's courts, and district attorney's office. The report contains all your detentions, criminal cases, and California arrests. Therefore, the department could send appropriate records to prove you faced criminal charges.
The department of justice makes relevant reports to various licensing boards and employers concerning workers in various fields. Thus, the department has all criminal records, so it is easier to retrieve your case proceedings. Again, the department can send the board documents affirming your past position as a criminal defendant.
Reporting Yourself to the Board
You should consider making personal reports to the board, as it has various benefits. For example, you may use your action of raising a self-report when raising a defense during the disciplinary hearing. When you have previously made a personal report, you are likely to receive lower punishment. You will receive a lesser sentence, and the board will appreciate your effort in creating a personal report.
However, when making a personal report, you want to follow all the provided guidelines to prevent providing false information concerning your past criminal record. Someone may make incorrect information to hide their past criminal records. When the board learns that, they assume you are trying to escape liability.
Therefore, you attract more penalties and a longer license revocation time because of the false information. Thus, you want to make true details that led to your criminal charges. To avoid the liability of making incorrect information that may be later used against you, you want to bring your criminal defense lawyer when making the self-report. You will avoid making false statements which could attract severe penalties.
What are the Potential Consequences of a Disciplinary Hearing?
After the board of licensing concludes its hearing, they may issue different directives based on the nature of the crime and your past criminal convictions. You want to understand the possible directives the board of licensing can issue after the disciplinary hearing. A competent criminal defense attorney can help you understand the possible consequences you face from the board of licensing in California. The following are the possible outcomes of the disciplinary hearing:
Payment of Huge Fines and Public Citation
The board of licensing may order you to make a citation for your crime, which could harm your firm since your clients will know about the criminal engagement. You will find it challenging to find new clients because of the negative citation. Also, the consequence of the citation could be severe and even force you to shut down your clinic or office. The fines might also be huge, attracting significant losses to your business.
Obtaining a Private Censure
The board may also decide on private censure after the disciplinary hearing. It involves issuing a letter containing warnings to ensure you do not commit criminal acts in the future. Note the message is often private. Therefore, you are the message recipient and must comply with the regulations and requirements outlined in the letter. You can continue operating your business, provided you follow the provisions of the letter.
Serving a License Probation
You will not face license revocation or suspension when you receive license probation. When this is your case, the licensing board will ensure you continue operating with your license under strict terms and conditions. This might be favorable since you continue working with your license. When the board grants you probation, ensure you carefully follow the conditions and regulations of the license probation. Violation of probation could just worsen your case.
License Suspension or Revocation
The most severe punishment you can face from the licensing board is suspending or revoking your professional license. When this occurs, the board closes down your license for a lengthy period. When your license is suspended, you will be unable to operate your clinic or business for a certain period. For example, the board might suspend your license for six months, meaning you will stay away from your work for six months.
Alternatively, the worst punishment you can face is license revocation. When you receive the license revocation, you will not operate your clinic or business for an unspecified period. With the legal help of your attorney, you may develop a defense strategy to fight the license revocation or suspension. The type of defense you use will depend on the nature of the crime. The following might be the possible defenses your attorney can use to fight the punishment:
- You paid a restitution fee to the victims.
- After the conviction, you started rehabilitation.
- You never exposed your clients or patients to physical injury.
Petition for License Reinstatement in California
When the licensing board revokes your license, you might reapply for reinstatement after several years. When the court denies you the petition, you may request another hearing to prove your changed character. Unlike under the disciplinary hearing, in a reinstatement hearing, the licensee must prove. So, you require the help of a well-skilled criminal defense attorney to ensure you reinstate your professional license.
When seeking to reinstate your professional license, you must meet the requirements outlined by the law. Several boards, like the California Board of Medicine, require the petitioner to receive sworn statements supporting their petition. The board of registered nurses in California requires you to appear before the board, while other boards delegate the case to OAH in a process lasting between 12 and 18 months. Other boards also require thorough investigations as part of the consideration and processing of the reinstatement petition.
Retaining the advice of a well-skilled criminal defense attorney is key to the success of your case. The attorney has the experience and objectivity to determine the essential evidence to obtain your professional license. So when you face a similar situation, you want to seek legal help from a competent attorney to ensure the reinstatement of your professional license.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
The licensing board can revoke or suspend your professional license when you commit specific crimes. A revocation of your license can adversely affect your future life. For example, you might make huge losses in your business for the missed working days. So, you want legal help as soon as you face the charges. A competent attorney can help you skip the disciplinary actions from the licensing board.
At Los Angeles Criminal Attorney, we can help you defend against the charges that might affect your professional license in California. We are familiar with state laws, including professional licensing laws. If you seek legal services in Los Angeles, do not hesitate to call us. Contact us today at 424-333-0943 for a free case evaluation.