Some professions require that a resident of a state obtain a license in order to practice. Common examples include lawyers, doctors, nurses, and teachers. Generally, professionals must first pass a state licensing exam in order to obtain their license. The professionals must also complete forms where they acknowledge that they have “clean” records. The professionals normally also agree to be subject to the bylaws and the code of professional conduct of the professional association for their particular profession.
The state professional associations have these strict requirements – passing a licensing exam and completing an application – because professionals work for the public. The public has a right to know that they can trust the people they hire and that the people they hire have a minimum degree of competence.
Most professional associations also provide that if someone is convicted of a crime, his or her license may be suspended or revoked. Essentially, a criminal conviction is evidence of professional misconduct. Professional misconduct is normally a violation of the bylaws or ethics code.
Some state professional associations also have morals clauses, or morality clauses. If the clauses are violated, the professional can lose his/her license, or the license may be suspended.
In addition to state associations, there are federal associations that regulate whether a professional can lose a license. For example, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) regulates the licenses of certified public accountants.
The best way to prevent adverse effects on your professional license is to hire an aggressive criminal defense attorney on the front end. Most professional organizations look to convictions in determining whether to suspend/revoke a professional license. Further, be wary of citation; the payment of a fine will likely be considered as a guilty plea.
The effect of a license suspension or revocation
If a license is suspended as a result of a criminal conviction, it generally means the professional can’t practice his/ her profession during the term of the suspension. An experienced defense lawyer can explain whether the professional whose license is suspended or revoked can do work in his/her field provided the work is supervised by a licensed professional.
In some cases, a professional may be able to reapply for a new license after a specific time limit is met and other conditions are satisfied. Usually, the more the professional can show remorse and that he/she has remedied any wrongs, the better chance the professional may have of license reinstatement. For example, if someone convicted of a DUI serves his time, pays the fines, pays damages to anyone who was hurt or whose property was damaged, gets counseling for DUI, and takes other steps – he or she may be able to seek reinstatement.
That “may” is important, because there is no guarantee that a person convicted of a crime will have his or her license reinstated. Furthermore, this does not apply only to felony convictions. You can lose your license for misdemeanor crimes, too, such as shoplifting, possession of small quantities of marijuana, or even reckless driving.
At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, we believe that one mistake shouldn’t strip you of your life. You worked hard for your license; we want to help you keep it. We understand that for many defendants, jail time is just one of many serious consequences to being found guilty. Call our Sevierville criminal defense lawyers at (865) 428-8780 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We fight for defendants in Bristol, Gatlinburg, Johnson City, Kingsport, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Greeneville and Seymour, and the surrounding areas.