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Your professional license and criminal charges or conviction

Professionals who require a license to work, such as doctors, nurses and real estate agents, could risk losing their license if charged with a crime. It is important to understand the effects of criminal charges on a professional license.

If you are facing criminal charges and must maintain a professional license to work, you should understand your rights and responsibilities under the law and with your profession's governing board. Each situation is unique, so make sure you are clear about how your particular professional licensing board views criminal charges and convictions.

Professional licensing and criminal convictions

The first thing to be aware of is the difference between the effects of pending criminal charges on your professional license versus the effects of a criminal conviction on your license. During the process of criminal charges moving through the court system, you will likely be working with a criminal defense attorney to defend you in court against the charges brought against you. However, your professional license operates on a different track, which may require advocacy on your behalf with your license's governing board.

For example, the Pennsylvania State Nursing Board requires licensees to send notification of pending criminal charges and criminal convictions within 30 days, and notification of disciplinary actions taken by other states or jurisdictions within 90 days. An attorney can help you to better understand and work with the issues surrounding your professional license when you face criminal charges or after a conviction.

Aggressive criminal defense

Because your entire professional career is likely at stake if you face criminal charges, you should ensure that you hire an aggressive criminal defense attorney. In Pennsylvania, there are former prosecutors who now work as defense attorneys for clients facing criminal charges. A former prosecutor can be an especially good choice for criminal defense because he or she understands the other side with firsthand experience.

You should not take any risks with the future of your professional license when you face criminal charges. A conviction has the possibility of ending your career. Seek out the professional assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney to build your case.