Would you feel so differently about the person selling you a new car that you wouldn’t buy a new car from him or her if you knew the salesperson had a recent conviction for Possession of a Controlled Substance? Probably not. But what about if the transaction you’re about to engage in is not buying a car, but having surgery? Would you be just as willing to let a doctor operate on you if you found out he had a similar conviction?
The State of California recognizes that in order to protect the public certain professions require those performing professional duties to hold themselves to a higher standard. Professionals such as lawyers, doctors, nurses, dentists, accountants, contractors, law enforcement officers, teachers and social workers are closely monitored by state licensing boards. As a result, professionals working in these industries often have more to lose than a little money and a little freedom if they are charged with a crime; they could lose their livelihood!
The details surrounding what happens at the hearings conducted by Administrative Law Boards is outside the scope of this article, but rest assured any one licensed by the state is entitled to a hearing at which they can present their side of the case, it is the State that bears the burden of showing the licensee did something wrong, and the hearing is overseen by an independent Administrative Law Judge.
One of ways in which licensing authorities find out about a licensee doing something that could give rise to a professional license suspension or revocation is through on-going criminal records checks, so don’t think that just because you don’t report a criminal conviction to the authorities doesn’t mean those authorities won’t find out. (And if you are working in a profession where you are required to report convictions, a failure to report would land you in even more hot water!) It is imperative for any licensed professional to do everything they can to minimize the collateral consequences of a potentially criminal act. If you are a licenses professional it is critical that your attorney knows about that fact, and that they work to resolve your case in a way that protects your license. Or if you have an old conviction, it’s imperative that your record is made as clean as possible under the law.
Options for cleaning up your record include:
Past convictions can haunt you! If you have any sort of conviction on your record in California (or pending criminal charges,) that you feel is holding you back, reach out to Devina Douglas to discuss your options.
Devina strives to make information relevant to the lives of her clients easily accessible.