The Effect of Conviction of Professional Licenses in Texas
For people in certain industries, the primary concern about criminal charges is the effect that a conviction will have on their professional licenses. With many occupations, a conviction can result in licenses being suspended or even revoked.
It is important for any alleged offender to immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to help avoid any long-term professional licensing consequences because of sentences in criminal cases. Having qualified legal representation will give people the best chance to have any alleged criminal offense cause additional harm to their current or future employment.
Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with any kind of criminal offense in Texas, do not take any chances of having a conviction undermine your professional aspirations. Matt Horak understands the tremendous burden these allegations place on ordinary people, and he works to achieve the most favorable outcome to cases with the fewest possible consequences.
Horak Law represents clients all over the Houston area, including Liberty County, Waller County, Montgomery County, Harris County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Fort Bend County. Let us review your case by calling our firm at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Professional Licenses in Harris County Criminal Cases
- Which types of convictions result in licenses being revoked or suspended?
- What agencies are responsible for issuing professional licenses?
- What can a person do to regain eligibility after his or her criminal case is resolved?
Texas Occupations Code § 53.021 gives licensing authorities the power to suspend or revoke a license, disqualify a person from receiving a license, or deny to a person the opportunity to take a licensing examination if the person has been convicted of:
- An offense that directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation
- An offense that does not directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation and that was committed less than five years before the date the person applies for the license
- An offense involving aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated sexual assault, burglary, capital murder, compelling prostitution, criminal solicitation, indecency with a child, injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, murder, sexual assault, sexual performance by a child, or trafficking of persons
- A sexually violent offense
This provision does not apply to people who have been convicted only of offenses punishable as Class C misdemeanors unless they are applicants for or the holders of licenses that authorize them to possess a firearm and the offense for which the person was convicted is a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
A licensing authority cannot consider a person to have been convicted of an offense if the alleged offender meets all of the following requirements:
- The person entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere
- The judge deferred further proceedings without entering an adjudication of guilt and placed the person under the supervision of the court or an officer under the supervision of the court
- At the end of the period of supervision, the judge dismissed the proceedings and discharged the person
The above exceptions do not apply if the person is an applicant for or the holder of a license in the following occupations:
- Law Enforcement
- Public Health
- Safety Services
- Financial Services
There are several different licensing agencies in the state of Texas, some of which are responsible for multiple professions. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Advisory Board of Athletic Trainers — Athletic Trainers
- Board of Law Examiners — Attorneys
- Court Reporters Certification Board — Court Reporters / Stenographers
- State Board for Educator Certification — Teachers
- State Securities Board — Securities Dealers / Investment Advisors
- Texas Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) or the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) — Interpreters For The Deaf
- Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners — Chiropractors
- Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors — Professional Counselors
- Texas Board of Architectural Examiners — Architects, Interior Designers, Landscape Architects
- Texas Board of Nursing — Registered Nurses (RN) / Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN)
- Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners — Occupational Therapists
- Texas Board of Orthotics and Prosthetics — Orthotists / Prosthetists
- Texas Board of Professional Engineers — Professional Engineers
- Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying — Land Surveyors
- Texas Commission on Fire Protection — Fire Protection Personnel / Firefighters
- Texas Commission on Law Enforcement — Law Enforcement Officers
- Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services — Long Term Care Nurse’s Aides and Nursing Facility Administrators
- Texas Department of Agriculture — Pesticide Applicators and Fish Farmers / Aquaculturists
- Texas Department of Insurance — Insurance Adjusters and Insurance Agents
- Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation — Tax Professionals, Water Well Drillers / Pump Installers, Boxing Promoters, Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Auctioneers
- Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services — Child Care Administrators
- Texas Department of Public Safety — Private Investigators and Security Guards
- Texas Department of State Health Services — Massage Therapists, Medical Radiologic Technologists, Respiratory Care Practitioners, Code Enforcement Officers, Emergency Medical Technicians, Midwives, Opticians, and Chemical Dependency Counselors
- Texas Funeral Service Commission — Funeral Directors / Embalmers
- Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner — Pawnbrokers
- Texas Real Estate Commission — Real Estate Brokers / Sales Agents and Real Estate Inspectors
- Texas State Board of Dental Examiners — Dental Hygienists and Dentists
- Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists — Psychologists
- Texas State Board of Medical Examiners — Physicians
- Texas State Board of Pharmacy — Pharmacists
- Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners — Plumbers
- Texas State Board of Public Accountancy — Certified Public Accountants
- Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners — Social Workers
- Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners — Veterinarians
With the exception of applicants for licenses that would allow them to provide law enforcement services, public health, education, safety services, or financial services, Texas Occupations Code § 53.0211 states that unless an applicant has been convicted of an offense described in § 53.021, a licensing authority should issue the license for which the applicant applied a provisional license for a term of six months to an otherwise qualified applicant who has been convicted of an offense. It should be noted that the individual agencies for applicants seeking licenses in law enforcement services, public health, education, safety services, or financial services have their own unique procedures in place for restoring licensing eligibility if an applicant has been convicted of a criminal offense.
Texas Occupations Code § 53.022 states that a licensing authority shall consider the following when determining whether a criminal conviction directly relates to an occupation:
- The nature and seriousness of the crime
- The relationship of the crime to the purposes for requiring a license to engage in the occupation
- The extent to which a license might offer an opportunity to engage in further criminal activity of the same type as that in which the person previously had been involved
- The relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity, or fitness required to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of the licensed occupation
Additionally, Texas Occupations Code § 53.023 states that a licensing authority shall consider the following when determining the fitness of an applicant to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of the licensed occupation when the person has been convicted of a crime:
- The extent and nature of the person's past criminal activity
- The age of the person when the crime was committed
- The amount of time that has elapsed since the person's last criminal activity
- The conduct and work activity of the person before and after the criminal activity
- Evidence of the person's rehabilitation or rehabilitative effort while incarcerated or after release
- Other evidence of the person's fitness, including letters of recommendation from:
- Prosecutors and law enforcement and correctional officers who prosecuted, arrested, or had custodial responsibility for the person
- The sheriff or chief of police in the community where the person resides
- Any other person in contact with the convicted person
The applicant also needs to furnish proof in the form required by the licensing authority that the applicant has:
- Maintained a record of steady employment
- Supported the applicant's dependents
- Maintained a record of good conduct
- Paid all outstanding court costs, supervision fees, fines, and restitution ordered in any criminal case in which the applicant has been convicted
Horak Law | Criminal Defense Lawyer in Houston
It is extremely important for any person who has or is seeking professional licensing to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible when they have been charged with a criminal offense. Houston criminal defense attorney Matt Horak aggressively defends clients in Harris County and such surrounding areas as Pearland, Sugar Land, Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring, Richmond-Rosenberg, Galveston, Missouri City, Pasadena, and League City.
Horak Law provides several pre-trial and post-trial services, and our firm offers a free legal consultation to review your case. Call us today at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 to see how we can help.