Being charged with a misdemeanor, even if it is a relatively minor misdemeanor offense, can have far-reaching consequences. If you hold a professional license (attorney, doctor, nurse, accountant etc.) your license, and therefore your entire career, could be at risk if you are convicted of a criminal offense. Because of the numerous and varied factors that will determine the outcome of disciplinary action for a professional license it is imperative that you act now.
Whether you are a doctor, nurse, lawyer, or other professional, you likely remember having to submit to a criminal background check when you applied for your license. The purpose of that background check was to make certain that you qualify for the license for which you applied. The precise requirements differ from one professional board to another; however, in most cases there are certain convictions that will prevent you outright from obtaining a license while other convictions will require further scrutiny by the board before making a decision about your application. Once you are granted a license though, the scrutiny does not end.
Most professional boards or licensing agencies require you to report convictions and some even require you to report arrests, even if it’s a misdemeanor.
Failing to self-report your misdemeanor is often the worst mistake you can make. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor you are likely required to report that conviction; however, you should consult with an experienced attorney before filing your report. An attorney knows what the board or licensing agency is likely to do about the conviction. Your attorney will also know the best way to present the situation and how to increase your odds of not losing your license.
Although the rules vary, it is likely that some type of disciplinary action will be taken for a misdemeanor conviction. This could include fines, private or public reprimand, probationary status, suspension from practice for a period of time, or worst case scenario revocation of your license. Factors that will likely be considered when deciding your fate may include your criminal history (or lack thereof), your disciplinary history (or lack thereof), the length of time you have had your license, the misdemeanor offense for which you were convicted, and any extenuating or mitigating circumstances.
If you been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense and you currently hold a professional license it is important that you consult with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney who understands what is at stake as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Contact the team at Powers Sellers & Finkelstein PLC by calling 727-531-2926 today to schedule your appointment.