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Nurses, Physicians, Architects and other Professionals

Nurses, Physicians, Architects and other Professionals: What are the Reporting Requirements / Ramifications of an Arrest or Conviction?

A New York Criminal Lawyer said that, criminal arrests are upsetting to everyone but can be particularly problematic for financial and securities professionals because of the possible employment and licensure consequences. Brokers, traders, bankers, financial advisors, and other financial professionals typically have to be licensed through FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Some of the most common licenses include Series 7 and Series 63, but there are many. For those licensed professionals, criminal arrests and convictions may trigger updating of the U4 FINRA form.

Attorneys are human beings and make mistakes just like everybody else. Unfortunately for them, those mistakes that result in criminal arrests can have especially dire professional consequences. In New York, New York State Judiciary Law § 90(4) requires attorneys to immediately report to the bar certain criminal convictions, and certain convictions can result in suspension or disbarment from the practice of law.

The rule provides that, any person being an attorney and counsellor-at-law who shall be convicted of a felony as defined in paragraph e of this subdivision, shall upon such conviction, cease to be an attorney and counsellor-at-law, or to be competent to practice law as such. b. Whenever any attorney and counsellor-at-law shall be convicted of felony as defined in paragraph e of this subdivision, there may be presented to the appellate division of the supreme court a certified or exemplified copy of the judgment of such conviction, and thereupon the name of the person so convicted shall, by order of the court, be struck from the roll of attorneys. c. Whenever an attorney shall be convicted of a sex crime in a court of record of the United States or of any state, territory or district, including this state, whether by a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or from a verdict after trial or otherwise, the attorney shall file, within thirty days thereafter, with the appellate division of the supreme court, the record of such conviction. The failure of the attorney to so file shall be deemed professional misconduct provided, however, that the appellate division may upon application of the attorney, grant an extension upon good cause shown.

A convicted felon: 1. loses the right to become an elector and cannot vote, hold public office, or run for office, although he can have these rights restored; 2. is disqualified from jury service for seven years, or while he is a defendant in a pending felony case (CGS § 51-217); 3. loses the ability to have firearms; and 4. could lose a professional license or permit, although licensing agencies are restricted in their ability to revoke licenses because a person cannot be disqualified from engaging in any occupation, profession, or business for which a state license or permit is required solely because of a prior conviction of a crime except under certain conditions.

Employers can ask job applicants whether they have been convicted of a crime although federal anti-discrimination laws place some restrictions on the use of criminal histories. State law also prohibits employers, including the state and its political subdivisions, from taking certain actions against people who have their conviction records erased by an absolute pardon.
Many statutes authorize government agencies to revoke or suspend licenses or permits for conviction of a felony. But the law also restricts the ability of agencies to do so. A person is not “disqualified to practice, pursue or engage in any occupation, trade, vocation, profession or business for which a license, permit, certificate, or registration is required to be issued by the state of Connecticut or any of its burglary agencies solely because of a prior conviction of a crime” (CGS § 46a-80(a)).

Connecticut law declares a public policy of encouraging employers to hire qualified ex-offenders (CGS § 46a-79). A person is not disqualified from state employment solely because of a prior conviction of a sex crimes. The state can deny employment or a license, permit, certificate, or registration if the person is found unsuitable after considering (1) the nature of the crime, (2) information pertaining to the degree of rehabilitation of the person, and (3) the time elapsed since the conviction or release (CGS § 46a-80). These statutes (CGS § 46a-79 et seq. ) prevail over agencies’ authority to deny licenses based on the lack of good moral character and to suspend or revoke licenses based on conviction of a crime. But they do not apply to law enforcement agencies, although an agency can adopt such a policy (CGS § 46a-81).

Many licensing and permit statutes authorize an agency to suspend or revoke a license or permit based on conviction of a felony, including the following. 1. Architects (CGS § 20-294). 2. Private detectives, watchmen, guards, and patrol services (CGS § 29-158). 3. Professions under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Health specifically including healing arts, medicine and surgery, osteopathy, chiropractic, natureopathy, podiatry, physical therapists, nursing, nurse’s aides, dentistry, optometry, opticians, psychologists, marital and family therapists, clinical social workers, professional counselors, veterinary medicine, massage therapists, dietician-nutritionists, acupuncturists, paramedics, embalmers and funeral directors, barbers, hairdressers and cosmeticians, and hypertrichologists (CGS § 19-17 and various other statutes). 4. Attorneys (CGS § 51-91a). 5. Judges, family support magistrates, workers’ compensation commissioners (CGS § 51-51i). 6. Radiographers and radiologic technologists (CGS § 20-74cc). 7. Midwives (CGS § 20-86h). 8. Licensees for (a) electrical work; (b) plumbing and piping work; (c) solar, heating, piping, and cooling work; (d) elevator installation, repair, and maintenance work; (e) fire protection sprinkler systems work; (f) irrigation work; and (g) sheet metal work (CGS § 20-334). 9. Major contractors (CGS § 20-341gg). 10. Lead abatement consultants, contractors, and workers (CGS § 20-481). 11. Public Service Gas Technicians (CGS § 20-540). 12. Public Accountants (CGS § 20-281a). 13. Psychologists (CGS § 20-192). 14. Individuals and businesses selling insurance (CGS § 38a-702k)

In addition, statutes prohibit licensing a convicted felon as a pawnbroker (CGS § 21-40) or a professional bondsman (CGS § 29-145). A person convicted of a felony cannot be employed as an agent, operator, assistant, guard, watchman, or patrolman, subject to the general state policy (CGS § 29-156a). The Department of Consumer Protection can suspend, revoke, or refuse to grant or renew a permit for the sale of alcoholic liquor if convicted of a felony (CGS § 30-47).

CGS § 19a-80 allows the Public Health commissioner to suspend or revoke a day care provider’s license if any employee having direct contact with children has been convicted of any felony in which the victim is under age 18.

In the past year alone, the Manhattan based criminal defense firm has represented a significant number of professionals including physicians, nurses, teachers and architects in addition to lawyers and individuals employed in finance. For many of these professionals, there are serious issues that may arise from a criminal case beyond the potential of incarceration.

For certain professionals, New York State requires that they certify and meet licensing requirements. The Office of the Professions is a tremendous source of information and includes applications that may be downloaded for re-certification and licensing. Even if you do not need to re-certify, you and your attorney can review the applications for particular professions to ascertain what an acceptable disposition for your case is as it relates to your career. It is important to note, however, that these licensing requirements are not the only place you should look. If, for example, you are employed by a hospital, that hospital may have additional reporting requirements relating to arrests and/or convictions. Therefore, it is imperative to not only review the information retrieved from the Office of the Professions website, but the literature, contracts, and licensing requirements from you specific employer.

Even professionals can be held liable for a crime, seek the help of a New York Criminal Attorney and New York Order of Protection Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates in order to know your remedies.