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How Criminal History May Impact Your Professional License

Have you been arrested, convicted, or placed on deferred adjudication for a crime? If so, this may impact your eligibility for a professional license. If you currently have a professional license, you may have to file a report with the licensing agency. If you are planning on applying for a license, you may have to report the action on your application.

Deferred Adjudication

Many licensees believe that they do not need to report deferred adjudications to their licensing agencies. This is not correct. In the State of Texas, a licensing agency may treat a deferred adjudication as a conviction! This means, for example, if you are a nurse preparing a renewal form, you must not only report a misdemeanor conviction, but also any misdemeanors for which you were placed on deferred adjudication.

Many people have this erroneous view due to the advice of their criminal attorneys or to the judges, who often say that receiving a deferred adjudication “is not the same as being convicted.” While this may be true in other circumstances, it is not true with regard to licensing agencies. If you have been placed on deferred adjudication, you should be sure that you have met any reporting requirements of your license or on your application.

When May a Licensing Agency Deny/Revoke a License Based on a Criminal Conviction?

When you report your arrest, conviction, or deferred adjudication to your licensing agency or on your application, you should be advised that the agency usually cannot revoke or deny your license without considering certain factors. These factors are listed in the Texas Occupations Code and include important facts such as whether the license would enable further similar criminal activity, the length of time that has passed since the crime was committed, or evidence of rehabilitation.

Many professionals are unaware that these factors must be considered by the licensing agency when the agency considers a criminal conviction. A professional licensing attorney can help you prepare an application or report to the licensing agency that ensures that the licensing agency will consider these factors in order to prevent a denial or revocation.

Some licensing agencies have additional power to deny licenses. For example, under the Texas Finance Code, the Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending may deny a residential mortgage loan originator a license if the licensee does not prove good moral character, including honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity. This is a flexible standard that gives the Department a lot of power. This power is another reason why professionals that have been arrested, convicted, or placed on deferred adjudication should seek legal advice before applying for a license or reporting to a licensing agency.

If you have any questions or comments about the material included here, please contact FosterLaw. Don’t let an arrest, conviction, or deferred adjudication threaten your livelihood.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

 

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