Professional License Lawyer in North Carolina

What impact does a fraud, or similar, conviction have on an application for a professional license?

What impact does a fraud, or similar, conviction have on an application for a professional license?

Today, I want to talk a lot about what happens if somebody applying for a professional license or somebody that already has a professional license is criminally convicted for something related to fraud, a fraud conviction, or a theft conviction, or some sort of criminal conviction related to a dishonest practice per se. That could involve fraud, as I mentioned, theft, or something along those lines, just anything involving dishonesty.
So when you are applying for a license, you have some protection in regards to if you have a criminal history that’s under North Carolina General Statute 93B-8.1, and there have been some changes to it over the years. Basically if you have a criminal conviction directly related to the type of work that is in the profession for which you are seeking your professional license, then they can deny you licensure. There are also a bunch of factors that they have to go over, and if you meet those factors, then they can deny the licensure based off of that. So that one is clearly laid out in the statute.
Now, the other one is: what if you have a license and you are arrested for a dishonest type criminal infraction? Being arrested for something is way different from being actually convicted for it. Some licensing entities require that you report a criminal arrest within 30 days. Some don’t have that requirement, but when you do the renewal application, that’ll ask you in the last 12 months or the last 24 months, depending on when your renewal application is up: have you been arrested criminally for any of these misdemeanors or felonies or any DUIs, etc. You got to answer honestly on that.
If you do report, if you’re part of one of the board’s organizations that require reporting within 30 days of the arrest, you definitely want to do that. Obviously, you want to go through the criminal process; you don’t want to really make statements to anybody because that could impact your criminal case. And then if you are eventually convicted of it, the worst ones that the board’s going to look at, or again, anything involving dishonesty, theft, lying, which is fraud, anything along those lines, those the boards look at pretty much, not to sound funny, but across the board as being directly related to your profession.
And there’s a little bit, in my opinion, of some subjectivity there, but most of the time when you’re dealing with a licensing entity, regardless of what profession, if you’re convicted of something involving dishonesty, they’re likely to, at the very least, attempt to line that up with being directly related to that profession. And in some respects, depending on what’s in their code or statute, they don’t even have to do that. They can just look at: there was a criminal conviction for X, Y, or Z, and as a result, we’re implementing X, Y, or Z penalty there. Obviously you want to be really careful. Let the criminal process go forward, hire a good criminal defense attorney and then see what happens on that. You got to be very careful what you do with criminal cases because it can impact your professional license and your livelihood depending on what happens with it. Definitely want to be careful on that.

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