Your right to practice your profession is surrounded with a “panoply of legal protections.” However, your right is not absolute. “To protect the public,” California regulates the practice of many professions through licensing and license disciplinary actions.
The list of regulated professions is extensive. Medical professionals including physicians, osteopath, podiatrist, physicians assistants, psychologists, dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienist, chiropractors, pharmacists, optometrists, registered nurses, vocational nurses, psychiatric technicians, respiratory care practitioners, acupuncturists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, physical therapist, veterinarians are all subject to licensing laws. Similarly, most counselors such as marriage and family therapists, license clinical social workers, licensed educational psychologists are regulated. Financial, legal, real estate and property professional like accountants, architects, real estate brokers, engineers, geologists, geophysicists, land surveyors, attorneys and court reporters are subject to discipline. Finally, barbers and cosmetologists, electronic and appliance repair dealers and contractors, funeral directors, embalmers, and even horse jockeys can find themselves in the cross-hairs should they run a foul of the criminal laws.
Licensing Agencies Frequently Discipline Based Upon Criminal Issues
Discipline cases based upon criminal convictions are common. Indeed, licensing agencies frequently seek to revoke or suspend a professional license when a licensee has been convicted of a crime, even a misdemeanor. In fact, even conduct that occurs outside of a licensee’s practice or profession is often fair game. For example, a court upheld discipline of a doctor on the basis of drunk driving convictions despite a lack of evidence that the doctor’s actions ever affected his medical practice or patients.
Many licensing disciplinary actions stem from substance abuse. A licensing agency may bring disciplinary action even if the licensee successfully completes a drug diversion program as part of a criminal case resolution.
For most licensed professionals, criminal issues are typically isolated instances that mar an otherwise good reputation. With capable legal counsel and representation, it need not cost you your ticket to practice your chosen profession.
We have practiced in this area for over a decade. Our experience includes advising professionals and litigating before State licensing boards. We are well respected in the field and our articles relating to professional discipline have appeared in numerous trade publications.
Should you have licensing issues, don’t just choose a lawyer, choose a partner.