Below are answers to questions frequently encountered by the lawyers at Kosnett Law Firm in our practice representing students, professionals, and other individuals in education law, professional licensing matters, and attorney-client fee disputes in Central and Southern California. If you have other questions or require advice or representation on a particular matter, contact our office for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
My child was suspended from school for three days for violating the school’s dress code. Can they do that without any sort of a hearing?
I am a nurse facing a criminal prosecution. Will a misdemeanor conviction cause my nursing license to be revoked?
I applied to a professional licensing board but forgot to list a ten-year old conviction on my application. The Board found out about it and is questioning me regarding my failure to list the conviction. I truly meant to be fully forthcoming, and the mistake was inadvertent, but what do I do now?
A. A suspension of five days or less is known as a short-term suspension, and a hearing before the school board is not required. However, except in an emergency, a student cannot be suspended without some level of due process, which usually includes notice of the infraction and the evidence against the student, and an opportunity to be heard (to give his or her side of the story) before the suspension is ordered.
The longer the suspension, the more due process is required. For instance, in order to expel a student, the student is entitled to a hearing before the school board or a hearing officer or administrative panel designated by the board. The student is entitled to be represented by an attorney at this hearing, to present evidence and testimony, and to cross-examine any opposing witnesses.
A suspension of any length can negatively impact a student’s academic performance and future. If your child is facing a suspension, contact an attorney to determine what level of process is due and what steps can be taken to protect the student’s rights.
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A. A criminal conviction, even a felony conviction, may not automatically result in a license suspension, or cause your application for a license to be denied. However, when it comes time to renew your license, the Board of Registered Nursing will review the conviction in relation to the functions of the job, considering the nature and severity of the offense and other factors. In general, crimes involving assault, abuse, mandatory reporting, theft, dishonesty, or sex offenses are considered grounds for revocation, unless you can show rehabilitation to the satisfaction of the board. You may be entitled to a hearing before any revocation, and you may be represented by an attorney to help you throughout the process.
A. Depending upon the profession, not all convictions need necessarily be reported. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to get your criminal record sealed or expunged, especially if a long time has passed or you have completed a period of probation. Keep in mind, however, that for some professions, such as in the health or security fields, you may be required to report all convictions short of minor traffic violations, even if the record has been expunged or if you have completed a diversion program and had the conviction dismissed.
If a mistake was made, the best recourse is to correct it as soon as possible, along with an explanation as to why the conviction was left off in the first place. An experienced administrative law attorney can help you present yourself in the best light. If you are unsure about whether you need to list a particular conviction on an application, contact our office to discuss the matter with an attorney experienced in helping people through the professional licensing process.
I am an alumni adviser for a fraternity at USC. The chapter was involved in a disciplinary action with the university. After receiving unusually harsh and unfair sanctions from a student/faculty review committee, our chapter sought counsel from James Kosnett. He attended a hearing with USC administrators, and prepared a compelling written appeal.