BPC 480 Prohibits Licensing Agencies from Using Expunged Convictions Against an Applicant

BPC 480 Prohibits Licensing Agencies from Using Expunged Convictions Against an Applicant

If you’re a licensed professional in California with a criminal conviction or an arrest record, your ability to practice in your profession may be in jeopardy. Fortunately, a recent law, AB 2138, which took effect July 2020, could protect licensed professionals from losing their dream careers. In this article, we’ll talk about how the law prohibits licensing agencies or boards from denying applications on the basis of an expunged record.

Can the Board just take away my license?

The short answer? It’s not that simple. Both state and federal laws grant individuals due process so that they can get a fair hearing and challenge a disciplinary action against them. In other words, you have a right to a hearing in order to contest any adverse action on your license through a procedural due process. Criminal Defense Heroes, P.C. has a team of professional licensing defense attorneys that aggressively take on such cases for their clients. 

What does the Business and Profession Code 480 say about licensure and convictions?

Whether or not you will lose your license because of a conviction will depend on many factors. Former Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 2138, which changes how an applicant’s criminal record may be assessed by their licensing board. To be clear, this new law only applies to Boards that adhere to section 480 of California’s Business and Professions Code (BPC). This law took effect on July 1, 2020, and now gives past offenders with a criminal conviction a better chance to apply for licensure in their respective successfully. 

According to BPC 480, Boards that follow this code cannot deny licensure under the following circumstances:

  1. If the criminal conviction is more than seven years old
  2. If the criminal conviction was expunged under Penal Code 1203
  3. If the offender received a Certificate of Rehabilitation
  4. For any arrests that didn’t lead to a conviction, diversions, infractions, and juvenile adjudications

The 7-year rule could apply to most offenses, but there are special incidences that exclude this rule. For instance, if the conviction was a serious felony under Penal Code 1192.7 or required registration as a sex offender under Penal Code 290, most Boards will automatically deny licensure without legal repercussions. 

Additionally, before the Board can deny your application because of your conviction, they must irrevocably show that the conviction is “substantially related” to the position’s qualifications, functions, or duties. This is particularly important because many people make mistakes early in their lives and learn from them. BPC 480 gives people a fair chance to rebuild their lives by obtaining a license as long as they can show they have shown their resolve not to repeat their mistakes. 

How can I keep my license?

Criminal Defense Heroes, P.C. recommends getting an expungement if you haven’t yet. An expunged record is as close to having a clean record as you can get. With an expunged record, you can confidently say you don’t have a criminal conviction without facing any legal consequences. 

Despite the opportunity that this law offers to ex-offenders, it is important to have a qualified and proactive attorney by your side to ensure the process is smooth and accurate. If your Board determines that your application was not truthful and accurate, they will most likely deny your application, and you might be subjected to a long waiting period before you can try again.  Keep in mind that you’re not legally required to disclose an expunged conviction in most cases. This, however, does not mean that your Board will not run your prints and a background check. Even if the background check reveals your conviction, your decision not to disclose your conviction should not be used as a determining factor in denying your application.

If the Board still proceeds to deny your application, you still have the option to present your case before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ seeks to find a balance between your right to earn a livelihood and public safety. The burden to prove that your conviction is substantially related to your profession will lie on the licensing agency.

At Criminal Defense Heroes, P.C., we have a team of professional licensing defense attorneys with the knowledge and skills to make a convincing defense. We understand that losing your license during these dire economic times can hinder your source of livelihood. If you have a conviction, whether expunged or active, and you’re wondering whether you can still practice, you can give us a call today at (323)-529-3660 to talk about your options. 

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