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Will I lose my professional license if I am arrested?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Starting a well-paid career in Michigan often begins with making significant investments. For example, professionals ranging from cosmetologists and barbers to auctioneers and real estate agents must obtain state licensing to practice their chosen professions.

The state requires a certain number of hours in the classroom or of hands-on work experience, as well as standardized testing to obtain professional licensing. Individuals in licensed professions, including accountants and physicians, also need to renew their licenses for as long as they intend to continue working in specific capacities. They need to remain compliant with all requirements, including continuing their education and following state laws.

Personal issues may sometimes put a professional license at risk. For example, someone arrested for a crime in West Michigan may be at risk of losing the license that allows them to work, depending on the circumstances of their situation.

Arrests alone won’t impact licensing

The boards that oversee professional licensing in Michigan typically perform background checks for those applying for new licenses or renewing an existing one. They will also investigate complaints or reports made by concerned parties about a licensee’s alleged misconduct.

Certain types of criminal activity could make someone ineligible for a professional license. They could lose their existing license or be unable to renew it when it expires. Violent crimes, drug offenses and many other types of other criminal activity could affect someone’s eligibility for a specific license. However, just an arrest would not be grounds for the loss of someone’s license. The person accused typically needs to plead guilty or get convicted at a trial for an arrest to affect their professional options.

Anyone in a licensed profession therefore has a very good reason to respond assertively after an arrest. Those who are able to defend against pending charges can eliminate the possible career consequences of a recent arrest. Even after a conviction, a professional will generally still have the option of having their case heard in front of the licensing board. They can both bring in a lawyer to represent them at hearings to reduce the risk of penalties and appeal unfavorable decisions that would have a long-term impact on their career.

Ultimately, understanding the possible secondary consequences of a recent arrest may help someone choose the most thoughtful and proactive response to pending criminal charges in Michigan.