Criminal Records and Professional Licenses
When you obtain your professional license — whether you are a lawyer, doctor or nurse, therapist, financial advisor or broker, real estate agent or anyone else whose job requires licensing — you open up additional doors in your career. A license can give you a jump on the competition in some cases; but in the alternative, you may be denied a job if you do not have a license. Earning your license is a lengthy process that typically involves a commitment of time and finances to complete, which increases the value of an employee who holds one. But if you are found guilty of a crime, or if you plead guilty to one, you may find your hard-earned license in jeopardy and your job at stake. Crimes that Count There are many criminal charges that can put a professional license in danger with a conviction or guilty plea, including white collar crimes like embezzlement, theft and fraud; drunk or drugged driving; and substance abuse or domestic violence. If you are a financial broker, for example, and you have been convicted of carrying out or taking part in fraudulent schemes, you may find that your license to work in your field will be revoked, sometimes permanently. Even if your crime had nothing to do with the license you hold or the work you do, you could be at risk for penalties that cover not only fines and jail time, but your license and employment as well, professional license defense attorneys in Raleigh say. For example, a doctor who has pleaded guilty to a drunk driving charge could have his license suspended by the North Carolina Medical Board based on the argument that his poor judgment in driving drunk could be extended to other areas of his professional career. Thus, his or her job would be in jeopardy because he or she can no longer work. Licensing Agencies Typically, licensing agencies have their own rules about how to determine whether a criminal act should result in a suspension or revocation. Some agencies even have subscription services alert them when their licensees have been charged with criminal offenses. Other agencies require licensees to report incidents to them, and the rules for when reporting is required differ by agency. Once an agency hears about a potential complication with a licensed professional’s employment or criminal record, they will take steps to investigate the situation, often issuing a letter requiring a response by the licensee. These responses can mean the difference between keeping your livelihood intact and losing (either temporarily or permanently) the professional license you worked so hard to obtain. And a Raleigh professional license defense attorney can help you protect your license and your future. Criminal convictions are often seen by licensing agencies as definitive indications of responsibility for the underlying conduct. So licensed professionals who are being investigated or have been charged must be aware of the additional negative potential repercussions of criminal convictions and evaluate their options accordingly. Protect Yourself Losing your professional license can mean losing your current job, as well as future prospective employment opportunities in the same or similar fields. If you have been charged with a crime that may threaten your professional license, contact an attorney at Cheshire, Parker, Schneider, and Bryan immediately. Our Raleigh professional license defense lawyers will work with our Raleigh criminal defense lawyers to help you retain your license and your career.