How a Criminal Conviction Can Impact Your Professional License

Imagine this scenario: You and your friends visit a trendy new bar in downtown Miami on a Friday night. At some point during the evening, another patron takes exception to something you said and throws a punch at you. You strike back, and the next thing you know, there’s a mass brawl, the police arrive, and you end up with a conviction for battery and disorderly conduct. Those offenses are only misdemeanors in Florida, so how big a deal can it be?

If you plan on working in an industry that involves professional licensing, or if you are already a licensed professional, it can be more serious than you ever imagined. In many cases, even a withhold of adjudication (a finding of guilt without a formal criminal conviction) can result in administrative action against your license. Additionally, the licensed professional has an obligation to report an arrest or a disposition of a criminal case, no matter what the outcome. A failure to report it to the appropriate administrative agency can result in disciplinary action.

Criminal charges, no matter how minor they appear to be on the surface, can result in a professional license being denied, suspended, and even revoked entirely. In Florida, the following occupations are impacted if you have a criminal record:

Insurance Agents and Adjusters

You are permanently barred from licensure as an insurance agent or adjuster if your record includes any of the following:

  • A first-degree felony
  • A capital felony
  • A felony involving fraud, embezzlement, or money laundering
  • A felony related to the financial services industry

If you are not barred completely, you may be subject to a disqualifying period. Felonies involving ‘moral turpitude’ carry a 15-year disqualifying period and those not subject to a permanent ban or 15-year disqualification can result in being prohibited from getting a license for seven years. Even a misdemeanor can result in a seven-year ban if it is directly related to the financial services industry.

Teachers and Certified Educators

When you apply for a Florida Educator Certificate, you have to meet certain standards that include no convictions by a ‘disqualifying offense.’ These crimes tend to relate to child abuse, sexual deviancy, kidnapping, drug abuse, and major theft. While a record for other crimes may not completely bar you from an educator certificate, public school teachers and other educators may become the subject of an investigation by the Office of Professional Practices with the Florida Department of Education if it becomes known that a misdemeanor or felony was committed.

Medical Professionals

Medical professionals such as doctors and nurses may lose their license if they are convicted of the following:

  • Medicare or Medicaid fraud
  • Illegal possession or sale of a controlled substance
  • Economic fraud

If you are applying for a medical doctor license and have a felony conviction, there may also be a waiting period before your application can be successful. For felonies of the first or second degree, more than 15 years must pass since the sentence or probation period passed. Third-degree felonies require five or 10 years, depending on the crime.

These are but a few examples of professions where your license can be implicated based upon a criminal conviction. The list includes lawyers, pilots, accountants, real estate brokers and stockbrokers, to name but a few. However, all administrative licensing agencies have to follow their own internal rules and regulations before any action can be taken against the professional whose livelihood is jeopardized.

If you are a licensed professional, and your career is on the line because of a criminal case, contact the Law Offices of Barry M. Wax today. We will work with you to address criminal charges and other consequences that impact your job and career opportunities, protecting your right to work in your chosen profession.

Law Offices of Barry M. Wax