CHILD ABUSE & PROFESSIONAL LICENSING
Many occupations require current and valid professional licenses to legally practice their trade. Social workers, health care providers, psychiatrists, and others rely on their professional licenses to work and make a living. However, a conviction of child abuse or maltreatment can result in a revocation of those professional licenses.
HOW A CONVICTION OF CHILD ABUSE COULD AFFECT A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE
Being accused and charged with child abuse is a stressful experience, particularly for someone who relies on a professional license for a source of income. A conviction could mean the revocation of a professional license in addition to other criminal penalties. Depending on the legal and administrative findings, persons convicted of child abuse may face fines, prison time, suspensions, reprimands, disciplinary actions, or other negative effects.
Who may be at risk for license revocation?
- Real estate brokers
- Foster care parents
- Day care workers
- Other licensed professionals
By law, a professional or business license may be revoked or automatically suspended due to a conviction of “unprofessional conduct.” This includes not only child abuse, but also other felony or criminal offenses. Health care professionals may also face the suspension of their professional licenses if convicted of child abuse or maltreatment, in addition to other penalties and disciplinary actions.
Under Nebraska Statutes 38-178 and 38-179, licenses can be revoked for “… any departure from or failure to conform to the standards of acceptable and prevailing practice of a profession or the ethics of the profession, regardless of whether a person, consumer, or entity is injured…”. The accused, therefore, may be at risk of losing their license regardless of whether or not they directly caused harm.
UNDERSTANDING THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE ACCUSED OF CHILD ABUSE
If a person is accused of child abuse, he or she has the right to request a hearing and obtain legal counsel. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) investigates all instances of child abuse or maltreatment. A professional disciplinary board will decide whether to revoke a person’s license, and can do so even if criminal charges are not filed.
At the hearing, it is important to provide evidence to uphold the defendant’s innocence. This may include witness testimonies, employment records, phone records, receipts, and other pieces of documentation that would support the defendant’s defense. The defendant will be able to present his or her case and seek their desired outcome.
If the professional disciplinary board has revoked a person’s license or imposed a suspension from working with children, the aggrieved may appeal the decision by requesting a hearing. Having experienced legal assistance throughout the process can also provide a defendant with the tools to pursue a beneficial outcome.
DEDICATED REPRESENTATION FOR THOSE FACING CHARGES OF CHILD ABUSE
Berry Law Firm provides aggressive legal services to clients facing charges of child abuse or maltreatment. From day care providers to registered nurses, the Lincoln and Omaha criminal defense attorneys at Berry Law Firm have helped hundreds of clients seek successful outcomes across Nebraska.
A conviction of child abuse can mean the temporary or permanent loss of a professional license. Thus, it is often important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible after an accusation. With more than 100 years of combined experience, Berry Law Firm can handle a variety of legal issues that may arise.