How Does a Criminal Arrest or Conviction Affect Your Professional License?
July 17, 2020
Most people who are facing serious criminal charges are worried about significant prison time or having to pay hefty fines. For crimes that are, on its surface, less serious (such as first-time DUI offenses), there are prevailing beliefs that the effects of a conviction will not deeply affect their daily lives except for the criminal penalties (such as probation or a temporary driver license suspension). For holders of a professional license in Florida, though, it is quite a different story.
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
In Florida, professional agencies are under the purview of the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). This entity is tasked with maintaining licenses of professionals in the state and generally oversees boards for professionals like CPAs, realtors, doctors, insurance agents, and other specialized career fields. If you have been arrested or found guilty of a crime, you may likely have to report the disposition of your case to the DBPR within a limited time frame.
Generally, professional licensees in Florida must notify their applicable board or the DBPR if they have been convicted of a crime or otherwise entered a plea of guilty or no contest within 30 days of the event. Even if your case ended with a withholding of adjudication, you must still notify (self-report) the appropriate professional agencies.
Suspension or Revocation of License
Whether or not your professional license will be affected (temporarily or permanently) will depend on the nature of the crime for which you were found guilty and the type of work you do.
If you are an accountant, insurance agent, or other professionals in the financial sector, crimes like wire fraud or money laundering can mean your license will be permanently revoked.
Licensed educators must not be found guilty of a “disqualifying offense” like major theft, kidnapping, felony drug charges, or crimes against children. Licensed employees of public schools must notify the Department of Education of any criminal conviction within 48 hours.
First responders like police officers and firefighters are subject to strict standards. Their licenses may be suspended or revoked and they may lose pensions due to criminal convictions.
In Florida, attorneys are regulated by The Florida Bar under the auspices of the Florida Supreme Court. If an attorney is arrested for a felony crime, they must report it to the Florida Bar.
In most cases, a failure to report the disposition of the case can also form a basis for discipline, separate from the underlying conviction.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Even if the DBPR or specific licensing agency denies, suspends or revokes a license for a criminal conviction, it is crucial to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the ins and outs of professional licensing in Florida. Don’t take the administrative agency’s word for it! Be sure to consult with experienced counsel before accepting the outcome. Your livelihood and future could be unnecessarily at stake!
Besides having an experienced defense attorney help you mount a premium defense against any criminal charges, your attorney can help lessen any consequences of a conviction on your professional life. Get in touch with Attorney Barry M. Wax to discuss your options today and see how we can protect your livelihood.