Fingerprinting – it’s on everyone’s minds right now. Many of us have already been fingerprinted when we volunteered at our kid’s schools, with Scouts or any other organization where volunteers work with vulnerable populations. Since I’m not an attorney I don’t need to be LiveScanned for State Bar purposes but I calculate that over the years I have been LiveScanned at least six times! When you work in the non-profit industry that is pretty much de riguer. Here’s what you need to know about the State Bar’s new LiveScan requirement:
California Rule of Court Rule 9.9.5 requires all active attorneys to be re-fingerprinted to ensure that the State Bar is in compliance with Business and Professions Code Section 6054, which requires the State Bar to receive notifications of attorney arrests and convictions from the California Department of Justice (DOJ). Until last year, the State Bar was out of compliance with this statutory mandate. The only way for the State Bar to come fully into compliance is to re-fingerprint licensed attorneys.
If you’ve been fingerprinted for another agency (volunteering for schools, scouts, non-profits) you still have to be fingerprinted as the fingerprints are not transferable from one agency to another. The State Bar will not share any of the information received or use it for any purpose other than licensing and regulation. The DOJ will retain fingerprints only for the purpose of notifying the State Bar of subsequent criminal offense information.
The State Bar will receive criminal record information from both the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This information specifically includes a summary of arrests, pretrial proceedings, the nature and disposition of criminal charges, sentencing, incarceration, court-ordered rehabilitation conditions, and release. The DOJ will send the State Bar notification of subsequent California arrests and the disposition of those arrests. At this time, the FBI will not send notification of out-of-state arrests to the State Bar.
Failing to comply with State Bar fingerprinting rule requirements by April 30, 2019 will subject you to monetary penalties. Noncompliance after December 1, 2019 will result in the suspension of your license to practice law in California.
Inactive attorneys do not need to be fingerprinted. In order to return to active status, an attorney would need to meet the fingerprinting rule requirements.
You can read more about the State Bar’s fingerprinting requirements here.
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When you get a letter from the State Bar, don’t go it alone! You need competent, experienced counsel to respond to the State Bar at every stage. Your license is at risk, so ensure you have the best representation from a former State Bar prosecutor before sending any response to an investigator or responding to formal charges leveled by the State Bar. You cannot make an informed decision without good advice. Call Erin now.