As an attorney, you have put in a considerable amount of time and energy toward becoming a licensed professional, including law school and passing the Texas Bar Exam. Being accused of a crime risks losing all that you have worked so hard for.
Yet when an attorney has been charged with a crime, particularly a crime that the State Bar has determined to be one whose commission is germane to a lawyer’s fitness to practice law (which is most intentional crimes), and which is intentional and tends to indicate moral turpitude, they are put at risk for disbarment.
As outlined in Chapter 8 of the State Bar’s Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (particularly 8.04 (2)) and the comments thereto, and in the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Disciplinary Procedure Part VIII, when an attorney licensed in Texas is either convicted of having committed an intentional crime or is placed on probation whether or not they have been found guilty, then a disciplinary action will be instituted by the Chief Disciplinary Counsel with the purpose of instituting compulsory discipline.
If the attorney was found guilty, then that conviction is considered conclusive evidence for purposes of the disciplinary action—but having not been convicted does not preclude the disciplinary action from proceeding. The questions of law and fact will then be heard and determined by the Board of Disciplinary Appeals. Suspension of a license occurs if the attorney’s case is under deferred adjudication or if it is being appealed to a higher court. When the conviction of an intentional crime becomes permanent, or the attorney has accepted probation (whether or not there has been a determination of guilt), then the attorney will most likely be disbarred except under particular circumstances when the Board of Disciplinary Appeals chooses to opt for suspension of their license.
An attorney at risk of losing their license should act quickly to counteract any risks of being convicted of their crime via hiring a good criminal defense attorney; and they should act just as quickly to work for the retention of their license by getting an experienced professional license defense attorney on their team.
BERTOLINO LLP handles matters related to licensure, grievance complaints, ethics, and other important professional licensing issues. If you have received a licensing complaint, BERTOLINO LLP can help.
To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.
Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.