Convictions That Have a Substantial Relationship
Generally, before a crime or act provides a basis for discipline against your license, there must be a logical connection or substantial relationship between the crime or act and your ability to safely practice the profession.
Statutes require some licensing boards and agencies to suspend a license when charges are filed against license holders for particular crimes, and to suspend or revoke licenses following a conviction. Such crimes may include crimes of violence, crimes of moral turpitude, sex offenses, and certain types of fraud. The board is not required to prove the facts underlying a conviction for these crimes to impose discipline—if the offense is specified in the agency’s statute, a conviction will suffice.
State licensing agencies and boards may also impose discipline against your license if the conduct underlying any criminal conviction is substantially related to your professional qualifications, functions, or duties. This is true for all California licensing agencies with the same or similar language appearing in agency statutes and the California Business and Professions Code.
Many licensing agencies and boards have adopted regulations that establish criteria to aid in determining whether a crime or act is substantially related to the profession’s qualifications, functions, or duties. Examples of criteria include whether the act or crime:
- Substantially evidences present or potential unfitness to perform the functions authorized by the license in a manner consistent with public health, safety, or welfare
- Violates or attempts to violate a board statute or regulation
- Comes under categories that include assaultive or abusive conduct, moral turpitude, fraud or dishonesty, sexual misconduct or crimes involving sex offender registration
- Represents a failure to comply with self-reporting obligations
As you can see, almost any conviction might be considered substantially related to your professional qualifications, functions, or duties. In regularly dealing with California’s professional licensing agencies, our attorneys know which convictions are problematic for your licensing agency and what steps you can take to limit or avoid a disciplinary action against your license.