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Penal Code 23: License Suspensions in California

Douglas Parker

Facing criminal charges is a painful and difficult experience –  the stress, the uncertainty, the fear. Now, imagine that on top of all that, your livelihood is potentially on the line, thanks to a little-known law called California Penal Code 23.

For professionals licensed by the state of California, the stakes escalate further with the possibility of license suspension under Penal Code CA 23.

This code empowers state licensing boards to intervene in criminal cases, seeking license suspension as a bail condition or probationary term. Understanding PC CA 23, its implications, and your legal options becomes crucial in such situations.

Legal Framework of PC 23

PC 23 grants state licensing agencies, like the California State Bar[1] or the Medical Board[2], the authority to participate in criminal proceedings against their licensees. These agencies can:

  • Submit information to the court relevant to the charges and their potential impact on the licensee’s ability to safely practice their profession.
  • Recommend specific conditions of bail or probation, including license suspension, to protect public safety and uphold professional ethical standards.
  • Request the court to order license suspension based on the specific circumstances of the case.

PC 23 applies only to criminal cases involving state-issued licenses. It doesn’t encompass federal licenses or unlicensed professions.

Also important, license suspension under PC 23 is separate from the criminal charges themselves. It’s a distinct administrative action with potentially severe consequences.

Charges Applicable Under PC 23

While PC 23 can apply to various offenses, it holds particular weight in situations where the alleged crime directly relates to the licensee’s profession or raises concerns about their ability to practice safely and ethically. Examples include:

  • Doctors charged with medical malpractice or drug-related offenses.
  • Lawyers facing accusations of fraud, theft, or ethical misconduct.
  • Teachers accused of child abuse or neglect.
  • Therapists charged with sexual misconduct or boundary violations.

Prosecutors often cite PC 23 during bail hearings, arguing that license suspension is necessary to protect public safety or prevent further harm. They may present evidence linking the charges to the licensee’s professional capacity.

It’s essential to understand that, in bail hearings[3], prosecutors play a pivotal role in invoking PC 23 considerations.

The prosecutor at your bail hearing throws Penal Code 23 at you like a legal curveball. Why? They’re basically saying, “Your profession is at stake here, and public safety matters.”

They’ll dig up dirt, linking your charges to your work, painting a picture where letting you keep your license is a risk. It’s a double whammy – they highlight how serious the case is and try to shut down any chance of you causing more harm while things get sorted out.

pc 23

Penalties and Bail Considerations

The potential penalties associated with the underlying criminal charges are separate from the consequences of a PC 23 license suspension. However, PC 23 can significantly impact:

  • Bail amount: Judges may set higher bail, considering the potential risk to public safety if the licensee continues practicing.
  • Bail conditions: License suspension may be ordered as a specific condition of pre-trial release, restricting the licensee from practicing their profession until the case is resolved.

Several factors influence the severity of potential consequences, including:

  • The seriousness of the criminal charges: More serious offenses typically warrant stricter bail conditions and higher concerns about public safety.
  • The defendant’s criminal history: Prior offenses, especially related to the profession, might strengthen arguments for license suspension.
  • The nature of the alleged offense: If the charges directly implicate the licensee’s professional conduct or ability to practice safely, PC 23 becomes more applicable.

Legal Defenses Under PC 23

Navigating PC 23 involves understanding your legal options and proactively defending your license. Common defenses include:

  • Challenging the connection between the charges and the licensee’s ability to practice safely.
  • Demonstrating a low risk of harm to the public, even if convicted.
  • Presenting alternative bail conditions that ensure public safety without suspending the license.
  • Negotiating with the prosecutor and court to reach a compromise on bail and release terms.

Effective legal representation plays a critical role in crafting a strong defense against license suspension under PC 23. Your lawyer can:

  • Gather evidence and assess the strength of the accusations.
  • Develop legal arguments tailored to your specific situation.
  • Negotiate with the prosecutor and court on your behalf.
  • Represent you in court hearings and advocate for your best interests.

How to Contact a Lawyer

Are you currently confronted with the possibility of having your license suspended under California Penal Code 23? Don’t attempt to handle this situation on your own!

It is advisable to seek out the services of a lawyer who possesses expertise in both criminal defense and bail proceedings.  They have the ability to defend your rights in a legal setting, present arguments opposing suspension, and guarantee your comprehensive understanding of the entire procedure.

Above all, it is crucial to promptly seek assistance without any reservations. Being aware of your rights under PC 23 is critical, and a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can offer the necessary support and representation you require.


Having a comprehensive understanding of the implications and potential impact on professional licenses is imperative for individuals facing criminal charges under California Penal Code Section 23.

This particular law carries significant ramifications that should not be underestimated. It is important to bear in mind that you possess certain entitlements, and seeking the assistance of a lawyer is crucial in maneuvering through this difficult circumstance.

Selecting a proficient attorney well-versed in PC 23, and skilled in maneuvering through bail hearings, can have a profound influence on the final result of your case. It is of utmost importance to keep in mind that seeking legal assistance promptly is essential. Avoid any delay, as your career prospects could potentially be at stake!