Defending Those Accused of the Unauthorized Practice of Law
Have you been charged with the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) in Los Angeles, CA? Your livelihood could be at stake, as you could lose your ability to practice law in the state forever. UPL is considered a criminal offense in California, so you might also face jail time.
Fortunately, you’re innocent until proven guilty; you have options available to you. The experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys with The Rodriguez Law Group can help defend your legal rights and interests. Our lawyers have more than 50 years of combined experience, and we’ve helped clients fight back against virtually every type of criminal offense since we were founded in 1999.
- 1 How The Rodriguez Law Group Can Help if You’ve Been Accused of the Unauthorized Practice of Law in Los Angeles
- 2 What Constitutes the Unauthorized Practice of Law in California?
- 3 What Are the Penalties and Consequences of an Unauthorized Practice of Law Conviction in Los Angeles, CA?
- 4 What Defenses Can I Raise Against an Unauthorized Practice of Law Charge in Los Angeles?
- 5 Schedule a Free Consultation With a Trusted Los Angeles Professional Misconduct Defense Attorney
UPL is a charge pursued by law enforcement and the State Bar of California. Depending on the facts involved in the situation, you could face a separate set of penalties from each respective governmental entity.
This is a unique offense that not just any criminal defense law firm can take on effectively. The Rodriguez Law Group is well-situated to help you combat your UPL charges. We’ve dedicated a sizeable portion of our law practice to helping those in the legal profession who have been charged with professional misconduct.
You’re probably used to representing clients in their time of legal need rather than looking for legal representation yourself. But considering these matters involve both state bar and law enforcement considerations, it’s likely in your best interest to have some assistance from an attorney well-versed in this area of the law.
Our Los Angeles professional misconduct defense lawyers can help you from the start. Reach out to us today in Los Angeles, California, to learn more.
UPL is covered by California Business & Professions Code 6125, which makes it illegal to practice law in California unless you are an active licensee of the State Bar. California law does not directly define what it means to “practice law” in this context, but it has been established that many behaviors can give rise to UPL charges, including but not limited to:
- Providing legal advice or performing legal services
- Continuing to provide legal advice or services after losing one’s license
- Representing, advertising, or holding oneself out as being authorized to practice law
These categories cover a broad range of conduct, meaning the State Bar and the prosecution has significant discretion in determining whether to charge someone with UPL. A Los Angeles professional misconduct attorney with The Rodriguez Law Group can go to bat for you regardless of the nature of your UPL charges.
The associated penalties of a UPL conviction are discussed under Business & Professions Code 6126. They are more severe if the accused was formerly an attorney. By default, for a non-attorney, this is a misdemeanor charge with penalties of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Subsequent violations carry a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 90 days in jail.
However, the penalties are more severe if the accused was formerly an attorney authorized to practice law. In that case, the offense is a “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. In this context, the penalty for a felony conviction can lead to a prison sentence of up to 3 years.
The State Bar may also assess its own penalties, with the most prominent being disbarment if applicable. On the whole, the penalties and consequences of practicing law without a license in California are steep, especially if you are convicted of the felony version of the offense.
There are defenses available to you if you’re facing UPL charges. This is a nuanced area of the law that requires the expertise of a Los Angeles professional misconduct attorney. Some possible defenses include:
- Your actions did not actually constitute the practice of law
- You were unaware of the fact that you were no longer authorized to practice law in the state
The prosecution must prove that you knew you were practicing law when unauthorized to do so, and knowledge can be difficult to assert with evidence. Of course, the exact defense or defenses available to you will come down to the facts involved in your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Trusted Los Angeles Professional Misconduct Defense Attorney
You might not be sure what your legal options are after you’ve been charged with UPL in Los Angeles, California. The Los Angeles professional misconduct defense lawyers with The Rodriguez Law Group are experts in this area of the law and can provide you with sound legal advice on how best to proceed as your case progresses.
We’re confident in our ability to provide you with effective, meaningful legal representation for this unique criminal offense. Reach out to our team today to learn more.
Last Updated on November 22, 2022