Monterey License Attorney


Criminal Defense

A conviction could negatively affect your professional license if you hold a state-issued professional license and commit a criminal offense. Depending on your crime, the licensing body could suspend or revoke your license. Securing a professional license is a tedious and expensive process that involves fulfilling prerequisite training and paying the licensing fees. It is not easy to restore a professional license after suspension or revocation. You should contact an attorney immediately after you learn that you are under investigation for a crime that could affect your license. If you face criminal charges and are a professional license holder, our attorneys can help. We have helped many professionals defend their licenses at the Monterey License Attorney.

We understand how the court ruling can affect your professional license. Our attorneys also understand how the administrative hearing works and can represent you at the hearing. We will take you through the process of defending the criminal charges and the formal accusations against your professional license. Given the immense training and practical experience you go through to acquire your professional license, you should not give it up without putting up a fight.

Professional Discipline Because Of A Crime

Facing criminal charges, be it an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony, could negatively influence your reputation. A criminal conviction also carries potential penalties. The good news is that not all criminal offenses will impact your professional license. Whether or not an offense will affect your professional license depends on the offense's severity and whether it affects your ability to conduct your professional duties.

The offense you commit must have a significant relationship to the duties and standards of professional ethics expected of someone with that license. Prosecutors are aggressive; the prosecutor will expansively interpret what a significant relationship means. You need an experienced attorney to counter the prosecutor's evidence on your behalf. An attorney works for you and will safeguard your professional license.

When the board assesses your case privately or at the administrative hearing, several factors will determine whether the board administers professional discipline:

Classification of Your Crime

Crimes fall into several categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. You could face professional discipline if your crime falls into one of three categories. However, more severe crimes could attract more severe professional discipline.

The Status of Your Case

You stand a better chance of avoiding professional discipline if the police arrested you and you received a citation, but the District Attorney did not charge you formally.

The Nature of The Offense

You could face professional discipline if your crime qualifies as a crime of moral turpitude. A mere violation of the regulatory codes cannot be as severe as a crime of moral turpitude. However, violating the regulations can still attract professional discipline.

The Relevance of Your Case Resolution

If your case has already been determined, how it was determined is relevant. Some of the possible case determinations include:

  • Sentencing to jail or probation.
  • The court finds you guilty, or
  • You plead guilty to the offense.

Perhaps the court reduced your charges because of the presence of the following:

  • Mitigating factors.
  • Diversion or alternative sentencing.
  • You were found innocent at a jury trial.
  • Dismissal of the case as unsubstantiated.
  • Deferred entry of judgment.

If You Have Made Any Rehabilitative Efforts

This could apply if you are a drug or alcohol addict.

Your Duration In The Practice

The board will consider the period you have taken in your practice without any formal discipline before you face charges for the current crime. You could face lesser professional discipline if you have been in the practice for an extended period without committing any crime.

If You Are On Probation

You will face professional discipline if you are on probation and commit a subsequent crime. 

The Type Of Board And Professional License

The board you are dealing with and your professional license will also determine whether you will face professional discipline. Some licensing boards could impose more severe professional discipline than others. For example, your medical license could be suspended if you commit a felony. The medical board could also suspend your license for misdemeanor claims that affect your ability to execute your professional duties.

The Potential Professional Discipline

The licensing board can react to your crime or proceedings in several ways. The board can decide to wait for the outcome of the court hearing. Sometimes, the board can conduct a private investigation to determine if there is a case against you. The possible professional discipline the licensing board could take against you includes:

License Probation With Stay of Suspension

In most situations, after a short suspension of your professional license, the licensing board will allow your suspension to be stayed. The board will then permit you to continue practicing on probation and under supervision. During probation, the board will restrict and monitor you closely. Eventually, your license will be fully restored if you comply with the terms of probation and complete your probationary period.

Suspension or Revocation of Your License

License suspension or revocation is among the most severe disciplines in a professional field. The licensing board could suspend or revoke your license for some time if you are convicted of a crime. However, your license could be reinstated after a designated waiting period. This happens after you attend a special hearing and complete the required paperwork.

Fines And Public Citation

The board could impose heavy fines if you are guilty of a crime in a particular career. You should never ignore a citation because it can keep potential clients away from your practice.

Private Censure

The licensing board can also send you a warning letter. A warning letter is private and not accessible to the public.

Ways In Which The Licensing Board Could Obtain Your Crime Information

You should inform the licensing board of your arrest, formal charge, or conviction. The time you should self-report varies from one board to the next. You should report within the applicable time limit upon being formally charged with a crime or receiving a criminal citation.

You should also contact your state licensing board to review the reporting periods and requirements. Your attorney can verify this information on your behalf.

Apart from self-reporting, the licensing board will regularly confirm with the state Department Of Justice's criminal record department. The department allows the board to access arrest, ticket, and conviction records. If the board finds an arrest or criminal accusation against you on record, it will notify you by mail regarding that discovery. The board will then order you to give them all the relevant details about the case.

The Department Of Justice could also take the initiative and inform your licensing board concerning your arrest and criminal charge. At this point, you should cooperate with the licensing board. However, you should not share critical information with the board before contacting your attorney. You should first seek sound legal advice to avoid self-incrimination.

How You Can Save Your License When Facing Criminal Charges

Winning an acquittal or dismissal in your court proceeding is essential. However, you should ensure that you win the court case and safeguard your license. You should exercise your right to an administrative hearing if you are convicted of a crime, even if you plead guilty. You should still request an administrative hearing even if you are acquitted. You can avoid the hearing by negotiating with the board to drop the formal accusation against you.

If you secure an administrative hearing, you will have the opportunity to clear your name. You will have a chance to negotiate with the licensing board to reduce professional discipline by presenting mitigating factors in your favor. The administrative hearing will not reverse the court's ruling but will focus on the mitigating factors that could save your professional license. 

Several mitigating factors could save your professional license. When mitigating elements are present, the licensing board can change a license suspension into a license probation. Some of the mitigating factors include:

  • Reporting your case to the licensing board without being coerced to do so.
  • Making voluntary restitution to the victims and early rehabilitation — You can do this at a time or in a manner that shows remorse.
  • Cooperation with the investigations carried out by the licensing board.
  • Lack of criminal or prior disciplinary record.
  • Lack of actual harm done to any patient.

Other factors that could save your license in a criminal case include:

  • Pre-filing a litigation letter to the District Attorney to prevent the formal filing of a criminal charge.
  • Use specific "delay tactics" or legal and ethical tactics that could sometimes assist you. For example, when negotiating a plea deal, the delay tactics could delay reporting to the board.
  • If you cannot avoid a conviction in the criminal trial, the best plea you can negotiate for is one that gets you into a diversion program or allows deferred entry of judgment. This would keep you out of custody, but you would serve probation and complete a rehab or other program. This could also help you retain your license and continue practicing because you cannot do so while in custody.
  • You can request that the court keep your probation period short. You should do this because your license probation period will be the same as criminal probation. However, the court will not be too lenient on probation to the point that the licensing board would think you would likely commit an additional offense while on probation. Your attorney will not seek overly severe probation terms. However, the probation terms must be in such a manner that they will protect the public from a potential subsequent offense. Reasonable probation terms will alleviate the licensing board's fears and convince the board to reinstate your license.

Previous Conviction And License Suspension

At the Monterey License Attorney, we will do everything possible to help you gain an acquittal or dismissal of your charges to protect your professional license. We will protect your license even if you cannot avoid a conviction.

You can retain your professional license even if you are convicted of an offense and lose it. Your professional license can be reinstated when:

  • You secure a certificate of rehabilitation.
  • Your crime is pardoned.
  • Your record sealed.
  • Your conviction expunged.

The above could assist you in filing a successful petition to reinstate your suspended license.

Note that some crimes do not qualify for expungement under California law. However, the licensing board should not legally deny you a professional license based on an expunged conviction. However, in highly sensitive professions, you can be denied a license. If you cannot expunge your criminal conviction, the other option is to have your crime pardoned or obtain a certificate of rehabilitation.

Even if the court dismisses your case, seeking a factual finding of your innocence is still important. This will increase your likelihood of retaining your professional license. The actions taken by the disciplinary board are independent of the court's decisions. Therefore, even if the court finds you not guilty, the licensing board can still take disciplinary action against you. However, even if the administrative board's actions are independent of the court decision, they are influenced by it.

We have defended professional licenses at the Monterey License Attorney for years. We understand proven strategies for defending your license. We understand how different licensing board policies work and how different boards handle criminal charges and convictions.

You require extensive, industry-specific knowledge and expertise to defend your license in court and during the administrative hearing. You need an attorney committed to pursuing your best interests and one who understands how to negotiate with the licensing board for the best outcome of your case.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

If you face criminal charges that could negatively affect your professional license, our attorneys at the Monterey License Attorney can help you defend against the charges. Our attorneys are familiar with the California Penal Code concerning licensing issues. We also understand the rules and regulations that govern the licensing boards. Our attorneys can represent you in court and at the administrative hearing. Contact us at 831-296-1191 to speak to one of our attorneys.

How Can We Help?