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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.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
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Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
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Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
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divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

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.

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