As a healthcare worker in California, your future and livelihood could be in question if convicted on alcohol or drug charges. Depending on the regulating board, convictions prior to your application may prevent you from receiving a license in the first place.

According to the National Conferences of State Legislatures, nearly 50 occupations require professional licensing. Each of these professions has a governing board that may withhold, suspend or terminate your license if you have certain types of criminal convictions.

Professional licensing boards

A board may deny you a license if you have a criminal conviction related to the duties, qualifications or functions of the profession for which you applied. For example, a cosmetologist may not lose her license due to a DUI as it has no substantial relationship to her business duties. However, if a pharmacist has drug charges on her record, the board may revoke or suspend her license. Healthcare-related professions that have local or federal licensing boards include:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacists
  • Chiropractors
  • Veterinarians

Depending on your profession, you may experience disciplinary action after one conviction or arrest.

Actions after charges

Although you must report a conviction and dismissed charges to the licensing agency, reporting requirements differ, depending on the board. It may be at the time of your application, upon license renewal or within a particular time. If you have charges dismissed or records expunged, you might not avoid the initial consequences, but it may be an essential element of your defense and rehabilitation. An appeal process or specific requirements, such as a diversion program or substance abuse treatment could present alternatives to a revoked license.

Misdemeanor or felony drug charges can affect your standing in the professional community. However, you may have options that help you avoid the life-altering consequences. Learn more about your options here.