license denial in california - hire attorney lucy s. mcallister

You have studied in your chosen field of professional expertise. You have your degree or certification. Now all that lies between you and being able to practice your profession is your California professional license. You just need to apply and you will qualify to join the ranks of thousands of others pursuing their chosen profession and career path. Simple, right?

Not necessarily.

When you as a California professional apply for a professional license with your licensing board or authority, you should know that a background check will automatically follow and any criminal charges and/or convictions you have received will be immediately flagged by that body. This will automatically result in a license denial if you have:

  • Not revealed charges or convictions in your license application
  • Not sufficiently explained them to your board or licensing authority in your application

In addition, even if you believe that you have “expunged” your criminal record under the requirements of Penal Code 1203.4, you should be aware  that the public records of your criminal charges and convictions continue to remain visible on the internet under the conditions of this statute.

“The order shall state, and the probationer shall be informed, that the order does not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.”

A typical application license denial letter will state the board’s rationale for their decision.

Here is a common issue, the result of an applicant to the Dental Hygiene Board denied due to a DUI:

App Denialb Letter


If you’re application for a California license is denied as a result of failure to divulge or adequately explain away criminal conduct, you will have the opportunity to appeal this decision.


It is critical that you not make the mistake at this juncture however, of going it alone through the application appeals process. You need to hire experienced legal counsel and here’s why:

  1. A skilled licensing lawyer will know how to rapidly evaluate the causes of your license denial and what it will take to correct this. You need to know exactly what evidence and documentation will best convince your board that your application should be reconsidered. You need legal counsel when reviewing the Statement of Issues during the appeal process.
  2. The offer that it “may be possible to reach an agreement with the Board by working with the Attorney General’s office on a stipulated agreement” is likely to merely confirm the board’s action around denial unless you have an experienced legal advocate working on your behalf to counter the AG’s perspective.
  3. An attorney who knows both licensing (administrative) law and criminal law will additionally, be able to help you use Penal Code 1203.4 to actually get plea changes for criminal charges (withdraw a plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty) and/or in the case of a criminal conviction, get the court to set aside a verdict of guilty. Licensing boards tend to view favorably applicants who have gone through the expungement process as this indicates that the applicant is serious about pursuing their profession.

If you are a California professional whose license has been denied as a result of criminal charges or convictions, you should contact our law offices immediately. Our deep background in criminal as well as licensing law and our experience working with hundreds of California professionals gives us an unparalleled advantage when it comes to cases such as yours.

Lucy McAllister is just that, an experienced defense attorney with 30+ years spent as a practicing criminal and licensing attorney and who has additional experience on the bench as a judge. Her extensive trial experience (over 250 Superior Court trials) gives her unique insights into the complexities of licensing complaints triggered by criminal allegations.

If you have a California professional with a hybrid licensing law and criminal law situation, call the law offices of Lucy McAllister immediately. The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister have successfully represented a wide range of California licensed professionals and we are experienced in handling all types of licensing accusations and licensing issues as well as criminal cases. Let us help you protect your professional license, your reputation, and your livelihood.

For additional information or to schedule a consultation on a professional licensing issue, please contact our law offices today at (877) 280-9944.