If you are a California licensed professional who has received notice that you are under investigation by your licensing board or administrative authority? If so, you need to seek the counsel of an experienced licensing law attorney immediately. But depending on the reason you are under investigation, the type of licensing attorney you hire can make a significant difference to the outcome of your case.
While some licensing cases are instigated based on customer complaints and other non-criminal acts on the part of the licensee, many are hybrid cases which occur because of automatic reporting via the internet of criminal accusations against a professional to licensing boards. The speed at which criminal allegations are communicated to licensing boards has been dramatically reduced in the 21st century. This places many more licensed professionals at risk since these criminal convictions (and even accusations) must be disclosed to a professional’s licensing authority. And note, a state licensing authority has no mandatory duty to remove publicly available information about a licensee’s convictions from its website–including convictions that are eventually dismissed under Penal Code Sec 1203.4 and Sec. 1203.4a.
Hiring an attorney in these situations is paramount since unlike in a criminal proceeding, where if you are arrested you are deemed innocent until proven guilty, in a licensing accusation, if you are just arrested for a crime, you will be asked to immediately explain your arrest to your state licensing board. And what type of attorney you hire can make all the difference.
If you hire a licensing attorney who practices administrative law but not criminal law, they may advise you to rapidly respond to the licensing board by explaining your arrest. Alternatively, if you hire a criminal attorney who is not familiar with licensing law, they may recommend that you remain silent on the subject of your arrest by invoking your 5th amendment rights in order not to incriminate yourself with respect to your criminal case.
Neither of these paths is actually the optimal outcome. An administrative lawyer who might be able to assist you with the licensing board complaint is not able to protect your rights in criminal court and a criminal defense attorney may suggest that you settle your criminal case without realizing that this can negatively impact the outcome of your licensing case. Criminal attorneys might also suggest that you agree to go through a criminal diversion program to get your criminal charges dropped but, importantly, this is not the same to a state licensing board as a criminal dismissal of your charges. Again, negative repercussions would flow from this in terms of the outcome of your licensing case.
The optimal strategy for you is to hire an attorney who understands both licensing law and criminal law. 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 350 Superior Court trials) gives her unique insights into the complexities of licensing complaints triggered by criminal allegations.
Case in point: A California Registered Nurse Accused of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Susan, a registered nurse, was pulled over for speeding in Central California. During the course of the police stop, the officer noticed syringes on the seat of Susan’s vehicle. Assuming these were drug related, he immediately arrested Susan for possession of drug paraphernalia. Within 10 days of her arrest, Susan received a letter of inquiry from the California Department of Consumer Affairs (investigating authority for the California Board of Registered Nursing) indicating that she had violated the Nurses Practices Act by driving while under the influence of drugs or for missing drugs.
Susan retained the law offices of Lucy McAllister for both her licensing and criminal cases. Lucy was able draft a response to the Department of Consumer Affairs on Susan’s behalf thereby protecting her rights to defend her license. For Susan’s criminal case, Lucy was able to provide as a defense for Susan evidence, that being a registered nurse, Susan was lawfully in the possession of the syringes in her vehicle (which were in her nursing bag). The district attorney dropped all criminal charges. Lucy, then armed with the criminal dismissal, contacted the Department of Investigative Affairs at the BRN to show there was no basis for an investigation of Susan’s license.
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.