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DUI Conviction: How Can It Impact Professional Licenses?

licenses.jpgIn California, many professions require a license by the State of California. When applying for or renewing a license, the applicant is usually asked if they have ever been convicted of a crime, this includes the crime of driving under the influence.

These licensing agencies are governed by the California Business and Professions Code (B&P Code). B&P Code Section 480 explains the process by which a board may deny a license to an applicant.

Under B&P Code Section 480(a)(3)(B), “The board may deny a license pursuant to this subdivision only if the crime or act is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which application is made.”
When filling out the forms, it is imperative that you are truthful because under B&P Code Section 480(c), “A board may deny a license regulated by this code on the ground that the applicant knowingly made a false statement of fact required to be revealed in the application for the license.”

If the conviction has been expunged under California Penal Code Section 1203.4, you are not relieved from the obligation of disclosing the conviction in response to any direct questions in any questionnaire or application for licensure by any state or local agency. However, you can indicate on the form that the conviction was expunged.

If you already have a license, B&P Code Section 490 provides the criteria for license suspensions and revocations. This is basically the same as B&P Code Section 480, stating: “In addition to any other action that a board is permitted to take against a licensee, a board may suspend or revoke a license on the ground that the licensee has been convicted of a crime, if the crime is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which the license was issued.”

Each agency is required to have guidelines or criteria to reference when considering denying, suspending, or revoking a license. The guidelines are used to determine if the conviction is “substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which the license was issued.” Therefore, the guidelines of the individual agency, which issued the license or is considering your application, should be reviewed to see if a drunk driving conviction would result in the loss of your professional license or the denial or your application.

Some agencies require licensees, such as doctors and pilots, to self report. Failure to notify the licensing agency within a specified amount of time may result in denial, suspension, or revoking of your license.


If you have a professional license, or intend on applying for one, and you are charged with drunk driving in San Diego, you have more at stake then just a conviction. Your livelihood may be at stake. Do not just plead guilty! Contact the exclusively DUI defense firm, The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman, immediately for a free consultation to discuss your rights, possible implications, and the best strategy on how to handle your matter. To schedule an appointment use the “Contact Us” form on this page or call today, 619-260-1122.