New California Professional Licensing Laws and Regulations: Expungements and Penal Code Section 1203.4 Relief More Important than Ever for CA Professionals Facing Denial, Suspension and Revocation of Licenses.
California’s professional licensing agencies in Sacramento continue to amend their laws and regulations so as to give more benefits to license holders and applicants who are facing potential discipline based on a criminal conviction if the conviction is expunged i.e. dismissed pursuant to CA Penal Code section 1203.4.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing issues various credentials, beyond simply teaching credentials, allowing one to work in California’s public schools. These include:
Administrative Services Credentials – These allow one to work in administration such as being a principal or an assistant principal. Administrators are not immune from being disciplined by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing including having their credentials denied, suspended or revoked. Similar to teachers, administrators may be subject to investigations conducted by the Commission’s Division of Professional Practices and its Committee of Credentials for reasons such as the conviction of a crime, misdemeanor or felony, or resigning from employment due to allegations of misconduct.
There are two main types of nursing licenses (RN and LVN) in California and they are governed by separate licensing agencies/boards.
Licensed Vocational Nurses or LVNs obtain licenses from the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians. Registered Nurses or RN Licenses are governed by the Board of Registered Nursing.
Many California physicians including those licensed by the CA Medical Board, CA Osteopathic Medical Board, CA Board of Podiatry, as well as registered nurses and other health care professionals possess professional licenses in not only California but other states as well. If an out of state license is disciplined including suspended, revoked, placed on probation, or surrendered in lieu of revocation, this likely will have consequences on the licensee’s California medical or nursing license.
California’s professional licensing boards are increasingly becoming more vigilant in scrutinizing those who hold or are applying for a professional license such as a teaching credential, nursing license, real estate license, health services license, etc…
Such disciplinary actions often begin with a complaint lodged by a former employer or because of a criminal conviction. The California Licensing Board, such as the Board of Behavioral Sciences, the Board of Real Estate, the Board of Psychology, the Nursing Board, or the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, usually begins with an informal investigation asking for a written explanation from the professional license holder or applicant.
CA Medical Board, CA Dental Board and CA Psychology Board Investigations and Interviews of Licensees and Doctors
When a California professional licensing board receives a complaint against a licensee or information of misconduct (such as a criminal or driving under the influence arrest or conviction), the board will conduct an investigation. The California Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the CA Pharmacy Board, the CA Board of Registered Nursing, the CA Chiropractic Board and a number of other licensing boards in the healthcare field has legions of investigators whose job it is to contact licensees and inquire into the alleged misconduct, gross negligence, and/or unprofessional conduct.
The Right to an Attorney in California Administrative Hearings and Professional License Discipline Matters
California professional license holders as well as professional license applicants have due process rights which include the right to have an attorney represent them during all stages of their administrative law case. This means that if you are a California medical doctor, nurse, pharmacist, chiropractor, physical therapist, dentist, certified public accountant, psychologist, respiratory therapist, real estate broker, insurance agent, credentialed teacher, or any other licensed professional or professional license applicant you have the right to an attorney if your applicable governing board or agency is seeking to revoke, suspend, deny or otherwise discipline your license.
California Health Care and Other Professional License Investigations and the Right to Legal Counsel.
By law a California professional license such as a registered nursing license, a medical license, a teaching credential, a CPA license, a psychology license, a contractors board license, a court reporters license, a dental board license, a physical therapy license, a speech pathology license, a real estate license, an insurance license, a chiropractic board license, and other such licenses are deemed vested property rights.
When a California Professional Licensing agency such as the CA Department of Consumer Affairs, the CA Medical Board, the CA Dental Board, the CA Board of Pharmacy, the CA Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the CA Board of Registered Nursing, the CA Vocational Nursing Board, the CA Bureau of Real Estate, the CA Physical Therapy Board, the CA Board of Occupational Therapy, the CA Board of Behavioral Sciences, the CA Department of Insurance, the CA Department of Social Services, the CA Office of Real Estate Appraisal, the CA Veterinary Medical Board, etc… seeks to discipline a professional license they will mail out either an Accusation or a Statement of Issues.
When these CA licensing agencies mail out the Accusation or Statement of Issues, it will be accompanied by a Statement to Respondent, Request for Discovery and two copies of a Notice of Defense. The Notice of Defense supplied by these agencies includes space for the licensee or license applicant to include their attorney’s name.
If you are a California professional licensee, such as a medical doctor, osteopathic medical doctor, registered nurse, credentialed teacher, pharmacist, physical therapist, dentist, chiropractor, real estate broker, speech pathologist, certified public accountant, licensed attorney, respiratory care therapist, etc. and receive an Accusation or Statement of Issues seeking discipline (suspension, revocation or denial) of your license, you have only one recourse – request an administrative hearing.
Once you or your attorney request that administrative hearing (it is advised that you retain an administrative law attorney/professional license defense attorney as soon as you receive an Accusation or Statement of Issues), there is the possibility that the matter can be resolved or settled without the necessity of an actual administrative hearing.
LEGAL TROUBLE WITH YOUR PROFESSIONAL LICENSING BOARD?
If you received a denial of a professional license or any threat to your ability to continue practicing your profession, please contact attorney Jonathan Turner using this contact form or call (916) 471-6506 for a personal conversation.