Professionals in a lot of different fields are subject to Virginia state licensing requirements. In addition to educational standards and insurance requirements, the state may require that you apply for and maintain a license to operate in a certain industry. The goal of professional licensing is to protect the public by ensuring the moral character, education and professional credentials of certain workers.
Medical professionals, dentists, accountants and even teachers may need a Virginia professional license to work and earn an income. The process of securing a professional license often involves passing a state test and submitting records about someone’s educational background. You may have invested years and tens of thousands of dollars to meet the criteria for your chosen profession.
If you get arrested, even for something that does not involve your job, your future income could be at risk. When will criminal charges potentially affect your professional licensing?
When the regulatory board discovers the issue
Your licensing requirements may include a provision obligating you to report a criminal conviction yourself. Even if you do not have a mandatory reporting requirement, it is likely that the board will find out about your charges when you apply to renew your professional license.
Background checks are typically part of this process. They could also find out before your renewal if someone else, like a co-worker, reports the issue to the board. The more serious the offense is, the more likely it is to result in a disciplinary hearing.
When the board decides to discipline you
Typically, a criminal conviction that might affect your licensing will result in a board review. You will receive formal notice of a hearing. During a hearing, you have the opportunity to defend yourself. You can even bring an attorney to help.
Unless a majority of the licensing board votes to suspend or rescind your license, you can continue to work in your chosen profession, even after a disciplinary hearing. Showing that the offense will not impact your professional performance or providing information about your efforts at personal rehabilitation could be part of your license defense strategy.
Planning to defend your professional license can help you protect your income and your prior investments in your career after a criminal conviction.