Under California law, an applicant for a pharmacist license is required to disclose any misdemeanor or felony criminal offense they have been convicted of.

Under the State Board of Pharmacy process, it is the applicant who has the burden of providing the information. The Board does not pre-screen applicants to determine whether they are eligible for licensure. Instead, you must provide the information and allow the Board to investigate.

  • You must report any misdemeanor or felony conviction, except juvenile court convictions.
  • You must still report any conviction that has been dismissed or expunged.
  • You must report any traffic conviction that involved alcohol or a controlled substance.

If you fail to disclose this information, your application for licensure may be denied for providing false information. Also, if you fail to provide all of the underlying information requested, your application could be withdrawn. If that happens, you will have to file a new application, assuming you are eligible, provide new fingerprints and pay a new application fee.

Moreover, failing to report a criminal conviction can put your license at risk in the long term. Even if the Board of Pharmacy does not discover the conviction at the time of licensing, your license could be at risk if the information comes to light during a disciplinary process.

Common excuses that will not hold up

The State Board of Pharmacy has heard some excuses in the past for why people failed to disclose their criminal convictions:

It was over __ years ago.

It wasn’t drug or alcohol related.

It was expunged or dismissed by a court.

It wasn’t a felony.

I was told that I wouldn’t have to disclose it.

I thought it had dropped off my record.

I didn’t understand the requirement.

None of these reasons will hold water with the Board.

What do I need to include with the disclosure?

First, you should provide a written explanation including:

  • The type of offense
  • The date of the offense
  • The location and specific circumstances leading to the offense
  • If drugs or alcohol were involved, which specific substances
  • For theft or stolen property offenses, the type of property involved

Second, include a copy of the arrest or incident report for each offense. Also include a certified copy of any court documentation for the offense, such as the criminal complaint, court minutes, the sentencing memo and/or a probation order.

If you are on probation, you will need to provide proof of your compliance with the probation. This could include, for example, evidence of participation in a drug or alcohol program, an anger management program or a theft program, your payments for fines, fees and restitution, and completion of any required community service.

If you were convicted of DUI or another traffic offense involving drugs or alcohol, you should submit a current DMV (not Internet-based) printout of the status of your driver’s license, any additional traffic violations, and any driving school or offender programs you have completed.

What happens now?

If you have been convicted of an offense in the past, the Board will evaluate your criminal history and make a determination as to your ability to practice safely. Even if you have a prior conviction that is substantially related to the practice of pharmacy, however, you can still be approved for a license based on sufficient proof of rehabilitation.

If you are applying for a California pharmacy license and have a prior conviction to disclose, or if your license application has been denied, ask for help from an attorney who handles professional license defense.