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CONSEQUENCES FOR PROFESSIONALS

 

Regulation of Professionals

The licensing consequences for professionals is set forth in the Business & Professions Code (B&P)§490,with specified exceptions, enables any licensing board to discipline a licensee who has been convicted of a crime that is “substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which the license was issued.”

Business & Professions Code §480 authorizes licensing boards to deny a license to an applicant based upon a conviction of a crime. A “no contest” plea or expungement order pursuant to Penal Code §1203.4 does not relieve a licensee from discipline or prevent denial of a license due to a conviction.

Licensing Agencies in California are Notified of Arrests

The California Department of Justice, which cross-references criminal records against professional licensing records. Some agencies do not wait for a conviction, but instead send a letter to the licensee  following  notification of an arrest—requesting that the licensee return a completed statement about the incident and pending court case under penalty of perjury.  DUI attorneys representing these individuals should caution the licensee about how to respond, as they do not want to incriminate themselves but do not want to ignore the request or show a lack of remorse (it’s probably best to give a very limited response at that juncture).

 

Duty To Report

Many businesses, services and professions require licensing by the State of California. In order to obtain or renew such a license, the individuals are frequently asked if they have ever been convicted of a crime. The most important thing they can do is to answer the question honestly, but they should read the question carefully and just answer the question asked. If the conviction has been expunged, they must still admit it (see P.C. §1203.4(a)), but they can indicate that it has been expunged. Some licensed professionals, such as physicians and pilots, have a duty to self-report criminal convictions to the licensing agency. Some agencies receive a report of any criminal conviction suffered by one of its licensees.

Discipline – Acts Substantially Related To Profession

As for discipline, the licensing agencies reviews the facts and circumstances involved in the conduct underlying the criminal conviction (e.g., moderate or high blood-alcohol level; leaving the scene of an accident, etc.). The question is whether “the crime or act is substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of the business or profession for which application is made.” B&P §§480 (license denial) and §490 (license suspension or revocation).

Each licensing agency is required to establish guidelines for Discipline and Mitigation

Each board develops criteria to aid it, when considering the denial, suspension or revocation of a license, to determine whether a crime or act is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession it regulates.

B&P §481. The agencies must “take into account all competent evidence of rehabilitation furnished by the applicant or licensee.” B&P §482. For this reason, it is helpful for the licensee to embark on a program of recovery right away and maintain verification of it.

As a trend, licensing boards appear more inclined to discipline licensees or deny licenses based upon drunk driving convictions in recent years. Although it is a matter of discretion depending upon the internal policies of a board, multiple DUI offenses are more likely to be problematic than a single offense because they indicate the likelihood of alcoholism. Most license discipline cases based upon a single non aggravated DUI conviction alone result in a penalty less severe than revocation if handled properly by an Attorney who specializes in both DUI Defense and Administrative Law.

Always Answer Honestly!

A licensee or license applicant can exacerbate the difficulties caused by a DUI conviction by failing to disclose a criminal conviction on a license application or license renewal

Discipline Based on Convictions of Crimes

Business & Professions Code §480 authorizes licensing boards to deny a license to an applicant based upon a conviction of a crime. A “no contest” plea or expunge- ment order does not relieve a licensee from discipline or prevent denial of a license due to a conviction.

 

Do You Need An Attorney?

The laws and regulations for licensed professionals in the State of California are complex and ever changing.  A simple failure to report as required can lead to discipline and a public record of misconduct.  The licensing consequences of a DUI conviction on your professional practice needs to be cnsidered when choosing  the right DUI Attorney to represent you.  The attorney must be knowledgeable about your regulatory board and it’s rules of professional conduct and be able to counsel you on the correct approach that needs to be taken to protect your professional license.     

 

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By Barry T. Simons: “It is my honor and privilege to fight for my clients; challenge unjust laws; protect our Constitution and to be a thorn on the side of injustice”.

By Barry T. Simons: “It is my honor and privilege to fight for my clients; challenge unjust laws; protect our Constitution and to be a thorn on the side of injustice”.