What Constitutes a Conviction
Generally, any misdemeanor or felony criminal conviction may be grounds for investigation and discipline against a professional license in California. Professional licensing laws broadly define what constitutes a “conviction” and can encompass more than being found guilty in a court of law. Generally, California licensing agencies define convictions as any “plea or verdict of guilty,” including convictions following a plea of no contest or nolo contendere.
Even where a conviction has been expunged from your criminal record, many agencies still consider expunged convictions as valid when considering whether to issue or discipline a professional license. Typically, expunged convictions must still be disclosed on applications and renewals, and the conviction may still be grounds for professional discipline. A common example includes cases that have been dismissed after conviction pursuant to California Penal Code section 1203.4. For some licensing agencies, a conviction that has been set aside under Penal Code section 1203.4 cannot serve as the sole reason for denying a license application.
In addition to disciplining license holders under California laws that define conviction, individual agencies may rely on their own statutes and regulations to impose discipline for offenses related to the profession. In some cases, even where no judgment is entered against the license holder, the agency may still investigate and impose discipline for conduct underlying the offense.
How we can help
The question of what constitutes a conviction varies, depending on the licensing agency and crimes. Our attorneys have worked with all California licensing agencies and boards, and they can provide you with answers for your licensing agency based on the specifics of your situation.