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When you work in the mental health field, a criminal conviction can really hurt


As a mental health practitioner, you’re likely aware of the role played by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). One of its primary responsibilities is to ensure that patients receive care from competent and “safe” mental health clinicians.

If you’re charged with a crime, the good news is that BBS presumes a professional license holder innocent until proven guilty. The bad news is that any criminal conviction could put your license — and your entire career — in danger.

What requirements counselors must meet

It’s likely that most of the interaction you’ve had with the Board up until this point was to secure your professional license from them or renew it. You may find yourself needing to interact with the Board more if you wish to keep your job pending the outcome of your criminal case. One requirement BBS requires any license holders to meet is to disclose any misdemeanor or felony convictions within 30 days of judgment.

What happens after you report a conviction

BBS immediately requests a copy of your Criminal Offender Record Information from the California Department of Justice as soon as you report any conviction. The state agency reviews the report and requests any additional information necessary to determine if you can remain in a client-facing position of trust.

The state agency generally weighs the offense’s recency and severity, whether you have previous convictions and have undergone rehabilitation or complied with sanctions when deciding what to do with your license. They may end up suspending or revoking your license, put you on probation or do nothing at all.

Why you need to aggressively fight any criminal charges you face

You’ll want to consult with a criminal defense attorney to learn more about your rights and the defense strategies you might be able to employ when the stakes are as high as they are in your legal matter. If you’ve been charged with a crime that could endanger your professional license, seek help right away.

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