In Washington, the State may impose “reciprocal discipline” as unprofessional conduct, per se, regarding the various businesses and professions it regulates. This may be due to a restriction, suspension, or revocation in a different state for the same license, or as to a different type of license in Washington; Any restriction, suspension, or revocation can have an impact on your license(s) in the future, whether currently held or yet to be applied for.

You might be involved in a civil matter, that you do not think relates to your license, in which you choose to plea out to be done with the matter—then you find yourself with a statement of charges from the State simply because of an action in either another jurisdiction or profession, even if you did not agree with the allegations. Criminal defense counsel might not be able to advise you on the impact to your license(s) but ask your counsel if you need to seek additional advice on the issue.

This is where the rubber meets the road, though some of the individual Departments vary on how sanctions are applied. If you find yourself in this situation, you are likely faced with the prospect of trying to negotiate a settlement [including perhaps a fine], restrictions, revocation, suspension, or denial, or proceeding to hearing on the narrow question of what the sanctions should be.

You may very well be able to argue mitigating circumstances or unsubstantiated aggravating circumstances in the underlying matter, but know you are on an uphill battle.

For instance, the Regulation of Health Professionals only requires that a certified copy of the order, stipulation, or agreement be shown as being conclusive evidence of the revocation, suspension, or restriction. It does not mean that the same sanctions must be adopted, but one is arguing mitigation after-the-fact.

For many other professions or areas of licensure, the Uniform Regulation of Business and Professions Act requires that, so long as the conduct, acts, or conditions relate to the practice of the profession, then the certified copy of a final holding is conclusive evidence that the crime described in the indictment or information is conclusive evidence of the conduct. This is a harsh result, indeed, particularly to those who may plea guilty without any adjudication on the merits.

But in the latter scenario, the Department must provide a “nexus” as to the misconduct and the profession—i.e., there may be no nexus between one’s prior Domestic Violence conduct and cosmetology. The analysis changes when the professional requires the trust and confidence of their patient or client, such as a doctor, but otherwise the licensee’s due process is violated if there is no “nexus.”


RCW 18.130.180

RCW 18.235.130

Ritter v. State, Bd. of Registration for Prof’l Engineers & Land Surveyors, 161 Wn. App. 758, 764, 255 P.3d 799 (2011).



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