What Happens if you are a Professional Licensee Charged with a Crime in Kansas or Missouri?

Professional and occupational license holders in Kansas and Missouri have a duty to hold themselves out as exemplary citizens in the community by virtue of their professional status. Professional and occupational licensees have a heightened responsibility, perhaps exceeding that of the average worker, because their chosen profession places them in a position in which people must rely upon their expertise, knowledge, and understanding in their profession or occupation. Additionally, the state issuing the professional or occupational license has a compelling interest to make sure that the public is safe. Therefore, most licensing boards have the statutory authority to issue professional discipline for violations of the criminal law. Accordingly, professional and occupational licensees must self-report to their respective licensing boards if they have been charged with a crime, irrespective of whether the charges arise within the jurisdiction in which they hold a license or in another state.

Not every individual charged with criminal behavior is a career criminal. Perhaps one of the charges with which professional and occupational licensees are charged is driving under the influence. Although driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs is dangerous behavior and could call into question the judgment of the licensee because such a crime is inexcusable and utterly avoidable, police charge people from all walks of life with DUI, no matter the profession. Facing a DUI charge, for example, is embarrassing for the professional licensee, and could have a deleterious effect on the licensee’s ability to perform their job, due to license loss, the potential for incarceration, and the court-ordered rehabilitation, not to mention the damage to the reputation the licensee might experience. Notwithstanding, a professional or occupational licensee could recover professionally from a DUI charge if the licensee conducts himself or herself appropriately.

A person should conduct themselves appropriately with law enforcement officials at all times. Technological advances allow the police and by-standers to record interactions between police and the citizenry. Therefore, everyone, but especially professional and occupational licensees, must be respectful of the police, especially if the licensee does not agree with the officer’s decision to interact with him or her. The licensee should be aware that any recordings made of the interaction with police might be reviewed by a state licensing board and considered by the board when deciding whether the licensee must receive professional discipline.

Being polite and cooperative with the police does not mean the licensee must forfeit his or her rights as a person charged with a crime. On the contrary, professional and occupational licensees enjoy the same constitutional and statutory protections as every other person in Kansas or Missouri. Consequently, the licensee may wish his or her right to remain silent and not speak with police without counsel present or exercise a right to a phone call, for example. However, the licensee can be firm but polite when asserting his or her rights.

The licensee must be aware that speaking to the police without an attorney present is not advisable. Most people know that whatever he or she says to police could be admitted in evidence against him or her at a criminal trial. The admissibility of the statement in evidence at a criminal trial is subject to strict constitutional and statutory strictures. However, the body adjudicating professional disciplinary hearings might be able to consider those statements even though they were not admitted in a criminal trial. Therefore, the licensee should seek the advice of competent counsel before speaking to the police. Furthermore, licensees must contact an attorney as soon as possible after being charged with a crime to immediately start defending against the criminal allegations and allegations of professional misconduct.

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger: Protecting the Rights of Professional and Occupational Licensees

Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger works closely with criminal defense attorneys to protect you and your family from the fallout caused by one ill-advised decision. Contact Attorney Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to find out more.