California Dentist Criminal Convictions and License Discipline

What Happens in California if Dentists Face Criminal Convictions?

Hey there, let me paint you a picture. You’re a dentist or a hygienist in lovely, sunny California and, through whatever circumstances, you get tangled up in a criminal case. It’s not pretty, the situation could mean your professional license gets the boot. The big wigs at the Dental Board of California could even bar you from entering the profession if:

  • You picked up am a criminal conviction in the past seven years that, for better or worse, has a lot to do with your dental duties; or
  • You got caught with any “serious” crimes, like murder, rape, or grand theft. Doesn’t matter when it was, the Board might say “no way, amigo” to an aspiring dentist or hygienist; or
  • You landed a criminal conviction – anytime, anywhere – that tags you as a registered Tier II or Tier III offender. Not a good look, friend.

How Do Criminal Convictions Impact Your Dental License?

In the legal trenches, Todd Spodek and the Spodek Law Group have seen their share of dentists and other professionals fighting tooth and nail to keep their licenses during disciplinary actions. They’re happy to tackle your challenging legal questions and guide you through things like:

  • The public watchdogs for dental professionals in California;
  • The criminal charges that merit Board discipline;
  • Your chances of defending your license; and
  • Whether or not you can use the “7-year rule” to your advantage.

The Guard Dogs of the Dental Profession in Sunny California

Picture the Dental Board of California as the strict principal presiding over dentists, dental assistants, and those cutting-edge dental assistants with extended functions. Falling under the California Department of Consumer Affairs, their aim is to safeguard California’s dental patients, pursuant to the Dental Practice Act.

Can the Dental Board Discipline Dentists?

Sure can. This group has got the power to spank licensees with reprimands, probation, suspension, or even license revocation – all for unprofessional conduct, lapses in skill, individual and repeated bouts of negligence, and, you guessed it, criminal convictions.

What Convictions Ruffle the Board’s Feathers?

The Board could pull a dentist or dental assistant over hot coals for any criminal convictions that are deemed close enough to the qualifications, functions, or daily grind of their jobs. If these convictions pop up during the license application process, the Dental Board could swat it down.

What’s a “Substantially Related” Conviction?

Think of “substantially related” convictions as a big, broad umbrella. Anything that hints at a licensee’s inability to do their job in a way that’s in line with public health, safety, or welfare can fall under this umbrella. Navigating this can get messy, so you’d be smart to chat with Todd Spodek or his crew at the Spodek Law Group.

Dental Licensing and Convictions: The Low-Down

For the Dental Board, a conviction can include any felony or misdemeanor verdict that came from you pleading guilty, a judge making a call, or you opting for “no contest.” Even if it gets expunged later, it’s still on their radar. That said, expunging a conviction can help your case by showing that you’ve turned over a new leaf since your crime. But here’s the kicker, the Dental Board can still exercise their powers and slap you with disciplinary action, even if you’ve walked through a court-ordered diversion program without stumbling.

Sex Offenses and Licensed Dentists

If you get convicted for a crime that requires you to register as a sex offender, that good old license gets straight-up revoked. That’s solidified in California legislation, and they make no allowances for probation. The only exceptions being if your registration is terminated or if you’re registered for misdemeanor indecent exposure.

Rehabilitation Counts, Pal

The Board doesn’t just discipline without considering a few factors. If they’re pondering on what to do about a licensed dentist, they’re also considering whether the dentist has emerged victorious from their flirtation with crime.

What Piques the Board’s Interest?

They’re interested in:

  • The hardcore facts of your crime;
  • Your overall rap sheet;
  • The interval from when your crime was committed;
  • If you’ve stayed within the boundaries of your probation or parole terms;
  • Proof that you’ve expunged your record;
  • Any other proof that you’ve changed your shady ways.

The 7-Year Rule: Can You Use it?

That depends on the flavor of the offense. In California, the Dental Board of California is known to refuse dental or hygienist licenses to people who have been convicted within the past seven years of a crime that ties a little too snugly to the qualifications, functions, or duties of dentistry. Any old criminal conviction for severe crimes could be rejected as well. On the flip side, If you’ve managed to stay away from criminal convictions for the past 7 years, you might just be able to tip the scale in your favor.

The Importance of Being Honest with The Board

A good bit of honesty gets you a long way with the Dental Board. Concealing convictions won’t cut it as the Board has its ways of sniffing out the secrets, such as background checks. Court clerks are even obliged by law to hand over copies of convictions and other info. Plus, the in-house Enforcement Unit, with its team of sworn peace officers, are keen on investigating complaints. If you’re not sure about revealing convictions, your best bet is to talk to Todd Spodek or another pitbull from the Spodek Law Group.

Fighting for Your License: You Can Do it!

If your back’s against the wall, as in you’re hit with the news that the Board wants to drag you to a hearing or you’re already licensed and get told that the Board is looking to discipline you, you’ve got the right to duke it out. Time’s the enemy here, you must respond quickly to keep that right. Fast action in reaching out to an attorney like Todd Spodek could be the difference between keeping your license or kissing it goodbye.

What’s a Disciplinary Hearing Like?

Think of your disciplinary hearing as a courtroom but your judge is an administrative law judge. Someone from the Attorney General’s Office will be there to represent the Board. You get the chance to give your account and present evidence in your favor. Then, the judge will assess it all and suggest a decision to the Board. If things don’t go the way you planned, you can swing at an appeal to the state trial court. Even if you still lose your dental license, times can change, and you might have a shot at pleading with the Board to get it reinstated.