Do Attorneys Have to Report Convictions to the Bar?

As an attorney, you spend hours fighting to get the best results for your clients’ cases. However, you may not know what to do when you yourself are facing a conviction. Here’s why it’s imperative for attorneys to communicate with a license defense attorney immediately to resolve these matters quickly.

Disciplinary Charges

The California Business and Professions Code requires that an attorney report their convictions of a misdemeanor charge to the State Bar if it involves dishonesty or moral turpitude. In most circumstances, you have 30 days to report these misdemeanor convictions. 

However, if an attorney is charged by information or indictment of a felony, they must report this issue to the State at the time of filing and prior to officially receiving a conviction.

Additionally, prosecutors and the court clerks are required by the State Bar to inform the State Bar of any charges filed against an attorney. This doesn’t leave you much time to protect your career.

Related Article: How to Submit a Positive Moral Character Application for the California State Board

State Bar Investigation

Once the State Bar has been alerted of your actions, they will reach out to you about your disclosure.  Depending on your response, the council may proceed with an official investigation. Based on their findings, they can do the following:

  • Issue a dismissal with prejudice and drop the matter completely
  • Issue a dismissal without prejudice and consider reopening the case if more evidence is received
  • Recommend a diversion or mentoring program
  • Issue a letter of caution
  • Issues a letter of reprimand
  • File for a formal proceeding

In all these instances, you will be at the mercy of your State Bar. Dealing with these matters alone can feel overwhelming and discouraging if they don’t go well. We strongly encourage you to consult with an attorney that has knowledge in this area.

Working with Unlock Legal

At Unlock Legal, our attorney discipline professionals frequently assist attorneys to determine whether their conviction constitutes moral turpitude and if it is leading to discipline. If you are facing issues with the State Bar of California, the attorneys at Unlock Legal are here to help.

Unlock Legal provides focused representation in criminal defense and defense for California licensed professionals. Contact Unlock Legal today or give us a call at 949-997-1471 to speak with a professional about your case and your unique needs. You’ll find we are compassionate, easy to talk to, and willing to help in any capacity we can.

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