Will I Lose My Professional License if I’m Convicted of a Crime?
You have a professional license to work in your industry. Perhaps you’re a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, electrician, accountant, contractor, teacher, commercial driver, counselor, or cosmetologist.
Recently, you were arrested for an alleged crime and now, not only are you afraid of being sent to jail or prison, but you’re also worried about how this could affect your professional license. Is it going to get taken away? Will you not be able to work in your career anymore? Will you have to start all over again?
By learning the answers to your questions, you can figure out the best course of action in your case, which could include getting in touch with an Oakland criminal defense attorney ASAP.
Losing Your Professional License
Could you lose your license after being convicted of a crime? It all depends on the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime. In California, in order to lose your license or face other consequences with your career, the alleged crime must be “substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which application is made.”
Keep in mind that a past conviction could come back to haunt you as well. When you go to apply for your professional license, you may not be able to get it.
A licensing board could take other steps aside from revoking your license following your arrest or conviction, including:
- Suspending your license
- Issuing you a citation and/or fines
- Putting you in a diversion program
- Putting you on probation
- Sending you in for drug and/or alcohol testing
- Sending you in for substance abuse education and treatment
- Supervising you and/or restricting you in some way
You have been looking forward to your new career and now it’s in jeopardy, or you have a well-established career and you’re afraid you won’t be able to work anymore. Either way, you are in a very tough spot at this moment.
Do You Have to Report a Conviction?
Let’s say you were convicted of a crime a long time ago. Maybe when you were in college, for example, you got so drunk one night that you ended up driving into another car and getting arrested for a DUI. You also got convicted and lost your license for a certain period of time.
However, nowadays, you are completely sober and would never dream of touching alcohol and driving. You want to be a commercial driver, but you’re worried about your criminal record. Is that going to impact your life?
It all depends. Your licensing board could require you to disclose your past conviction or arrest, even if no charges were filed, you were a juvenile when the crime happened, or your record was expunged.
Additionally, you could get your license revoked if you lied about a past arrest or conviction when you knew you had to disclose it. It’s important to talk with a criminal defense attorney before making any moves just to ensure you aren’t hurting yourself and your chances of succeeding in your career.
Examples of Ways in Which You Could Lose Your License
The law on professional licenses could be a bit confusing, so looking at examples may be able to clarify what could happen to you if you are convicted of a crime.
If you’re a doctor, for instance, and you committed insurance fraud, that’s directly related to your career and you are at risk of having your license revoked.
If you are an accountant and you embezzled money, that could also put you at risk. A teacher who is convicted of having sexual relations with an underage person could lose their license, and a commercial driver who was caught driving drunk may not be able to work in their field anymore.
Remember that if the crime is not connected in any way to your career, then it might not affect your license. For instance, let’s say that you were convicted of petty theft when you were younger, and now you’re applying to get your license to work in the medical field. That isn’t related to medicine, so you may be completely fine. It all depends.
Getting Convicted of a Drug or Alcohol Crime
Let’s say you were convicted of drug possession or driving under the influence. These types of convictions could have an effect on any number of different occupations, including teaching, nursing, or commercial driving. Also, if there is a pattern of substance abuse – for instance, you came into work drunk several times or you smelled like alcohol or drugs while you were on the job – this could have an effect on your career.
Getting Convicted of a Violent Crime
While it may not seem like a violent crime has anything to do with your career, it could actually affect your license. If you are accused of elderly abuse and convicted, for instance, this would not bode well if you work with elderly people in a nursing home.
What You Should Do After Facing a Conviction
Your licensing board is going to figure out the best course of action to take depending on the conviction on your record. At this point, it’s best not to worry because you aren’t powerless. Don’t beat yourself up because of what happened in the past. Everybody makes mistakes.
Instead, you can take power in this situation and hire an Oakland criminal defense attorney to help you on two fronts: If you’re still facing criminal charges, they can help you combat these charges. And if you’re also dealing with potential consequences from the licensing board, your attorney can help with that, too. They may be able to talk to the administrative judge to work something out on your behalf or negotiate some sort of the settlement with the licensing board.
Your Oakland criminal defense attorney can also help you stay on top of deadlines that the licensing board imposes on you. For instance, you may have to respond within a certain period of time to secure a hearing. A hearing, by the way, is a right that you have so you can say your side of the story. Your attorney will assist you with responding as well as preparing for your hearing. At the very least, your attorney may be able to help you convince the board to give you a lesser consequence or, in the best case scenario, not do anything at all and leave you be.
What Happens in a Hearing?
Before the hearing, the discovery process will occur. You and your Oakland criminal defense attorney will be able to see the names of witnesses the licensing authority is going to ask to testify, along with investigative reports they have and copies of statements that apply to your case.
A hearing is some version of a court trial except without a jury. If you’re in Oakland, yours will take place in an Oakland courtroom, and people will present opening and closing statements, produce evidence, and call up witnesses. The Office of Administrative Hearings will oversee the hearing, and the licensing authority needs to prove, with convincing and clear evidence, that you cannot have your license anymore.
Your defense could include saying that your crime was not related to your profession or that you have been rehabilitated since you committed it.
If you lose your hearing, you can always try to fight it at the Superior Court level. A trial court judge will examine the facts surrounding your hearing and see if you were given a fair trial. If the judge determines that you did not have a fair trial, then you could potentially have a successful outcome with your case.
Are There Other Ways to Get Your License Back?
You may have lost your license and now you’re worried about what’s going to happen. There is the possibility that you might be allowed to reapply for a new license after a certain amount of time has passed and you meet other conditions. If you show that you are sorry for what you did and you’re willing to take the right steps to rectify the situation, this is going to help your case.
For example, you may be able to seek reinstatement if you serve your necessary time behind bars or go on probation, pay fines, pay restitution to any victims were involved, get counseling, go to a substance abuse program, and fulfill anything else that the law requires of you.
You can lose your license for both misdemeanor and felony convictions. Misdemeanor crimes include things like simple assault, driving under the influence without injuring anyone, possession of drugs, prostitution, petty theft, and shoplifting. Felony crimes include things like murder, carjacking, attempted murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, kidnapping, child molestation, child pornography, and robbery. Wobbler crimes, which could be classified as misdemeanors or felonies, include stalking, spousal battery, statutory rape, lewd acts with a minor, carrying a loaded firearm in public, and sexual battery.
Dealing With Criminal Charges
Losing your professional license may be the least of your worries right now if you’re up against serious charges. You just don’t want to go to prison or have to pay big fines. You know that even if you serve your sentence and pay those fines, your charges could follow you for the rest of your life.
That’s why it’s crucial to hire an Oakland criminal defense attorney at this time for both your criminal charges and your case with your professional licensing board. An attorney will work on your behalf in both circumstances to ensure that you are given the opportunity to defend yourself. The prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty and provide sufficient evidence to back this up. Otherwise, they don’t have a case.
Your attorney can investigate and find weak spots – if there are any – in the prosecutor’s case against you. They can help you collect evidence to prove your side of the story and bulk up your defense. They can also be your point of support in a time when you may feel alienated from your loved ones and all alone. They’ll answer your questions, address your concerns, and be there for you when you need them the most.
There is way too much on the line right now. If convicted, you could be sent away for years on end and face other consequences. You may lose your career. When you get out of prison or jail, you could have a hard time finding a new career or even securing an apartment, since employers might not want to hire you and landlords might not want to rent to you. You won’t even be able to access federal funding for college in some cases. A conviction could have a devastating ripple effect on you. Even though you’ll have to make an investment in an Oakland criminal defense attorney, it’s worth it, because you don’t want to risk your future.
Finding an Oakland Criminal Defense Attorney
To find an Oakland criminal defense attorney, seek out one who has experience helping with criminal and professional license cases. Oakland criminal defense attorney Elliot Silver of Silver Law Firm just might be the perfect fit for you.
In one case, when a successful nurse anesthetist was charged with driving under the influence (DUI), attorney Elliot Silver stepped in to help. He worked diligently to protect his client. In addition to any criminal penalties if convicted of a DUI, this nurse’s professional license also was being threatened. Attorney Silver reviewed the case. By advocating for his client, he obtained a total dismissal of the DUI, which spared his client from any administrative consequences or criminal penalties from the nursing board.
Now, Elliot is prepared to assist you as well to try and secure a favorable outcome for your case. If you’ve been charged and need help right away, reach out to Oakland criminal defense attorney Elliot Silver today at (510) 995-0000 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He looks forward to hearing from you and helping you in your time of need.