FAQs About Prior Criminal History Disclosure
What if I have a criminal conviction?
A prior conviction does not necessarily prevent you from obtaining a license; there are no “barrier crimes” that are an absolute prohibition to licensure. State law requires DPOR regulatory boards to evaluate applicants with past convictions on a case-by-case basis to determine whether their criminal history is related to the profession. Boards must take into account the nine factors outlined in § 54.1-204.B of the Code of Virginia. Only a full Board, voting in public session at a regular meeting, can make the decision to deny an application for licensure.
If you have a criminal conviction, you must submit the Criminal Conviction Reporting Form, along with a state police criminal history for every state where you have convictions, or a national criminal history, or a certified copy of the Final Order, decree, or case decision by a court with lawful authority to issue such Order, decree, or decision. Once DPOR receives this information, the Board may request additional documents from you pertaining to the conviction, and you may be required to attend an Informal Fact-Finding conference.
What is an Informal Fact-Finding Conference?
An Informal Fact-Finding Conference, or IFF, is a due process administrative proceeding required by state law (the Administrative Process Act), to allow the boards to obtain facts “on the record” about a specific matter. It is an opportunity for an applicant or licensee to present evidence and provide the board with information relating to their case. If the IFF is required due to an applicant’s criminal convictions, the board will be seeking information relating to the nine factors described in § 54.1-204.B of the Code of Virginia, to assist its deliberations about whether the criminal history is related to the profession and if a license should be issued.
The IFF will be conducted by a presiding officer (a Board member, former Board member, or Department staff person); a court reporter will be present to transcribe the proceedings; and you may bring any witnesses you wish. You may also submit additional documents, including letters of reference. The IFF conference is your opportunity to provide your input to the board. You do not need to have an attorney (although it is certainly your right to be represented by counsel if you choose).
After the conference concludes, the presiding officer will make a recommendation to approve or deny the license application. This recommendation will be presented to the board at its next regularly scheduled meeting, along with all of your documents, and a copy of the transcript from the IFF conference. You will receive a copy of the recommendation prior to the Board meeting. At the board meeting, when your case is called, you are allowed five minutes maximum to address the board on whether you agree or disagree with the recommendation, and why. You cannot present new evidence or information at the board meeting. The board will then consider all of the information and vote to approve or deny your application.
How long does the process take?
The IFF process is lengthy and takes several months because it includes application review; drafting a referral memo; mailing the hearing notice and scheduling the IFF; conducting the IFF; writing the recommendation; and then waiting for the next scheduled board meeting.