Being accused of domestic violence in California can have severe consequences for your life. It can disrupt your daily routines and even force you out of your own home. You may also face fines and imprisonment, as well as a protective order that bars you from contacting your partner and possibly your children. However, the impact of such a conviction can extend beyond these immediate consequences and affect your career as well. Many licensed professionals have discovered this the hard way, as a domestic violence conviction can lead to the suspension or revocation of their professional license.
In this blog, we will explore how a domestic violence arrest can affect your career and what steps you can take to protect your livelihood.
A domestic violence arrest can impact your employment in several ways. Depending on your job, you may be required to disclose any criminal charges or convictions to your employer. If your employer discovers your arrest, they may take disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
In California, employers are generally allowed to terminate an employee for any reason, as long as it is not discriminatory or retaliatory. However, some types of employment are subject to additional protections. For example, unionized employees may have additional rights under their collective bargaining agreements, while government employees may have additional protections under civil service rules.
Additionally, some professions may have licensing requirements that are tied to criminal history. For example, certain positions in healthcare, education, and law enforcement require background checks and may bar individuals with certain criminal convictions, including domestic violence. Even if your current employment is not subject to licensing requirements, a domestic violence conviction could make it difficult to find future employment in certain fields.
Impact of Domestic Violence Arrest on Employment:
In California, many professions require licenses that are issued by regulatory agencies, such as the California Board of Registered Nursing or the California State Bar. These agencies have the authority to discipline licensees who are found to have engaged in unprofessional conduct or who have been convicted of certain crimes, including domestic violence.
The specific consequences of a domestic violence arrest on a professional license will vary depending on the profession and the circumstances of the case. In some cases, a licensee may face disciplinary action, such as probation, suspension, or revocation of their license. In other cases, a licensee may be required to disclose their arrest or conviction to the regulatory agency or to their employer.
Examples of Professions That May Be Affected:
As mentioned earlier, many professions in California require licensing or certification. Here are some examples of professions that may be impacted by a domestic violence arrest:
- Nurses: The California Board of Registered Nursing has the authority to discipline nurses who are convicted of certain crimes, including domestic violence. A conviction could result in probation, suspension, or revocation of the nurse’s license.
- Doctors: The Medical Board of California can discipline doctors who are convicted of crimes or who engage in unprofessional conduct. A domestic violence conviction could result in probation, suspension, or revocation of the doctor’s license.
- Lawyers: The State Bar of California can discipline lawyers who are convicted of crimes or who engage in unethical conduct. A domestic violence conviction could result in probation, suspension, or disbarment.
- Pharmacists: The California Board of Pharmacy can discipline pharmacists who are convicted of certain crimes or who engage in unprofessional conduct. A domestic violence conviction could result in probation, suspension, or revocation of the pharmacist’s license.
- CPAs: The California Board of Accountancy can discipline certified public accountants who are convicted of certain crimes or who engage in unprofessional conduct. A domestic violence conviction could result in probation, suspension, or revocation of the CPA’s license.
As professionals, doctors need to uphold a high level of integrity to ensure the safety of their patients. Lawyers are expected to provide unbiased legal representation to all parties involved in a legal proceeding, while nurses are required to provide competent and compassionate care while maintaining patient confidentiality. These ethical standards extend beyond the workplace, and any behavior that goes against these standards can put a professional’s reputation and credibility into question. Domestic violence is one such behavior, as it involves intentional harm and is considered a “crime of moral turpitude,” which carries more severe consequences than other types of crimes.
If you work in a licensed profession in California such as being a doctor, lawyer, pharmacist, CPA, and the like, you should be mindful of the potential impact a domestic violence charge or conviction could have on your career. This is an important matter that we should delve deeper into.
How Professional Licensing Boards in California Handle Criminal Convictions, Including Domestic Violence
In California, getting a professional license requires meeting strict qualifications. There are laws, called Business and Professions Code (BPC) Sections 480 and 490, that dictate how state licensing boards for different professions can deny or revoke licenses over criminal convictions. These laws say that if the crime committed is related to the job duties or qualifications of the profession, the licensing board can deny, suspend, or revoke the license. For instance, if you’re an accountant and commit a crime like forgery or embezzlement that shows dishonesty, you might not be able to hold a license. However, if you’re convicted of a crime that’s unrelated to your job, the licensing board may not take any action.
As a licensed professional in California, it’s important to know that most state licensing boards are automatically notified if you’re convicted of a crime, and some may even be alerted if you’re arrested. Moreover, some licensing boards may require you to disclose any criminal convictions or arrests when submitting an application or renewing your license. For professions that involve public trust, it’s likely that the code of ethics specifies that “crimes of moral turpitude,” including domestic violence, can result in disciplinary action by the licensing board.
So, if you are found guilty of domestic violence, your licensing board can take disciplinary measures against you. The degree of punishment will vary based on several factors, such as the type and severity of the offense, whether you have prior criminal convictions, if there are any underlying factors that contributed to the violence (like drug addiction), and whether you have taken any steps to make things right.
Will a domestic violence conviction lead to automatic suspension or revocation of your professional license?
Your license cannot be suspended or revoked without due process. This means that the licensing board must give you a fair hearing and an opportunity to respond to any complaints against you. Initially, the board may conduct a preliminary investigation and ask for a written explanation. If the case proceeds, you will have a chance to appear before the board or an administrative law judge in a formal hearing where you can present your side of the story and provide context to the charges.
After the hearing, the licensing board may decide to take disciplinary action against you, but revoking your license is not necessarily the only outcome. Other possible penalties, such as formal reprimands, fines, probation, or mandatory treatment, may still allow you to keep your license. However, even these lesser penalties could negatively impact your career since they will be made public record. Anyone who searches for your professional license online, including potential patients, clients, or employers, can see if any disciplinary actions have been taken against you.
Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges
Being charged with domestic violence is a serious matter in California and can result in significant disruptions in your personal life and career. As a licensed professional, a conviction for domestic violence could also put your career at risk. Therefore, it is important to have experienced legal representation to help you navigate through these charges. A skilled attorney may be able to help you obtain an outcome that does not result in a criminal conviction, which could minimize the chances of triggering disciplinary action from the licensing board. Contact our office today for a free consultation and let us help you protect your future. Overall, a Los Angeles domestic violence lawyer can provide invaluable assistance to someone facing domestic violence charges, ensuring that their rights are protected, and helping them achieve the best possible outcome in their case. If you’ve been charged with domestic violence in Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Beverly Hills, Orange county, Ventura County, Riverside, San Fernando, Burbank, Santa Monica or Orange County, it’s crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney who has extensive experience dealing with domestic violence cases. Tabibnia Law Firm offers legal services to individuals who have been detained or arrested for domestic violence in the Southern California area. Cyrus Tabibnia, the lead attorney, has a thorough understanding of the seriousness of these charges and how to defend his clients while avoiding jail time. He has a wealth of knowledge about the law and the legal system, and he has developed strong relationships with law enforcement and officials throughout the region. To know more about domestic violence charges expungement, check out our detailed blog post on the topic: Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Expunged in California?