Arrest or Conviction?: When to Report a Crime to the Professional Licensing Board

There are some aspects of life in which if you commit a crime, you will need to report that to the proper authorities. However, there are some exceptions when it comes to arrests versus convictions. For example, your job may not require you to report an arrest, but you will need to report a conviction. After all, we are innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, if you hold a professional license, that may not be the case. It is tricky to figure out when you need to report a run in with the law, but there are some instances in which an arrest needs to be reported even if it doesn’t become a conviction or you risk consequences towards your professional license.


The truth is that even after an arrest, before any conviction, most crimes require you to self-report to the licensing board what you did and why you were arrested. After the charges have been filed, you will want to talk with your attorney about self-reporting. For this reason, it is typically prudent that those holding a professional license choose a defense attorney skilled in both criminal defense law and professional license defense law, since they will require legal aid in both.

However, not every crime will require self-reporting. The most important ones to self-report are those under the catch-all term of moral turpitude. As professional license holders are often those that serve the public in some regard, if they commit a crime that may endanger the public, they need to answer for that.

Sex crime, fraud, violent crimes, and theft are all fairly standard crimes that require reporting. Substance abuse crimes also require reporting as well as it can be one of the first signs of a larger personal issue that can affect your professional life. All of the above can have very serious criminal charges and can cause revocation of your license if you go about it the wrong way.

After you have been arrested, your lawyer will help you find the appropriate self-report form for your profession. They will also be able to advise you on if you actually need to report the crime. Some crimes don’t actually need to be reported, but it can still have negative consequences for your actions if you report it anyway.


If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor level crime, you do not need to self-report to the licensing board. However, while you do not need to report misdemeanor arrests, you do need to report misdemeanor convictions. This is the exception to the rule where many arrests need to be reported even before conviction.

If it is likely that even for a misdemeanor conviction you will face disciplinary action by the licensing board. However, depending on the nature and the circumstances of the crime, this is usually often just some sort of probationary period.


Usually there is a small window after arrest or conviction where you need to report. If you miss that window, don’t think that the crime will just be forgotten. Often if the licensing board discovers it on their own, the punishments will much worse. Furthermore, if you fail to disclose when you renew your license, and they already know, your license will be in serious peril.

If you are a professional license holder in Minnesota and need help, contact us today. Whether you don’t know if or how you should self-report or failed to self-report with a renewal coming up, we can help. The Speas Law Firm is long experienced in not only criminal defense, but professional license defense as well. Let us help you keep your livelihood after you made the mistake of committing a crime.