One of the common concerns we hear from hardworking people who want to get a license is “I don’t think the Board would take somebody like me.” These are often young, well-meaning, accomplished people who made a mistake in their late teens or early 20s that turned out to be criminal. Maybe they drank more than they should, maybe they had a crew of friends that wasn’t career-focused, or maybe they just made a bad decision that led to criminal consequences. If you are denied a professional license because of your criminal record, the most important question to worry about isn’t “can I get this expunged” or “how much time do I have to wait” or “do I have to disclose this to the agency?” The most important question is “am I the same person now as I was when I committed the crime?”
For the vast majority of our clients, the answer to that question is “no, of course not.” They grow up, they get jobs, they get new friends, they stop drinking, they pursue life goals, and they bear nothing in common with the less mature person who committed the crimes on their record. The challenge is in the proof—how do you prove to the agency that you’re not the same person you were?
That’s where experienced counsel makes all the difference. A lawyer who’s experienced in licensing law will know exactly how to take all the positive changes you’ve made in your life and present them to a judge or to an agency so that you have the best chance possible of reaching your career goals. All of those questions we posed above, about expungement or waiting or disclosure, are very important, but they’re only important insofar as they help you prove that you are different. In fact, most agencies have specific rules that dismissal of a case alone does not prove rehabilitation, notwithstanding the new regulations that were meant to make things easier for people who get their cases expunged. In the same way, most agencies have specific rules that say “the passage of time alone is not sufficient,” so our clients have to make sure they are spending that time wisely, rehabilitating themselves and gathering evidence to answer the most important question: “Am I the same person?”
If you’re worried that your criminal record will keep you from getting a professional license, consult with an experienced professional license defense attorney. It’s what we’re here for.