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California Business & Professions Code Section 6126(b) BPC: Practice Of Law By An Inactive Member Of The State Bar

The State Bar in California takes as many measures as possible to ensure that people who are licensed to practice law in California abide by both ethical and professional guidelines. Any person who violates these standards can be potentially suspended or disbarred. If an attorney is put on involuntary inactive status and they still practice law, it is considered a crime according to California Business and Professions Code Section 6126(b) BPC. This crime may result in being charged with a felony.

There are two related offenses to this crime: Practice of Law by a Non-Member of the California State Bar and Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.

Proving a Crime Occurred

In order to prove that the defendant practices law while inactive, they may show the following:

• The defendant was and involuntary inactive member of the California State Bar; they were suspended from their membership with the State Bar; they had been disbarred; or they had already resigned from the Bar and charges were pending.

• Additionally, the defendant either practiced or tried to practice law, advertised their law services, positioned themselves as a lawyer who was currently practicing, or showed that they could practice law at the time.

• Alternatively, the defendant was an involuntary inactive member of the California State Bar and they purposely practiced or tried to practice law, or they advertised that they could practice law, or showed that they were currently or entitled to practice law.

An example of this would be if a lawyer is suspended from the State Bar because they violated the rules of conduct several times and across various cases. Even though the attorney knows they are no longer allowed to practice law, they continue advertising their services and taking free consultations.

Defenses of the Crime

If the defendant did not realize that they had an involuntary inactive status with the State Bar and they continued to practice law or present themselves as an active attorney, they would not be considered guilty of the crime. For example, the attorney may send his dues to the California State Bar, but the Bar doesn’t receive the check, and the attorney technically misses the deadline. The Bar places the attorney on inactive status and lets them know about the change via mail. Between the time the deadline passes and the attorney receives the notice, he appears in court to represent his client. Once he receives the notice from the Bar, he stops practicing law and takes the steps necessary to pay the dues and go back to active status.

Also, since there is not a set definition of what “practicing” means in terms of law, the defense may use that gray area when showing that the attorney did not commit a crime. For example, if the inactive lawyer worked for another firm, it’s possible that their work did not technically involve practicing law.

Penalties for the Crime

A lawyer who engages in the practice of law while they are not an active member of the California State Bar can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor, the maximum sentence is one year in jail. If the defendant is charged with a felony, the maximum sentence is three years in prison.

Criminal Defense

If you or someone you know has been charged with practicing law while being an inactive member of the California State Bar, it’s necessary to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.


Charle Butler
Charle Butler
2021-03-12
Verified
I was hesitant to hire the Spodek Law Group. I read reviews and knew they have a great reputation. However, I thought I would spend money and not see or speak to my attorney. From the beginning to end of my case Todd and the entire staff were available and willing to help. We worked towards and end result that was way above my expectation and Todd delivered. I am forever grateful for patience and long days and night spent working on my case. Thanks Todd and the entire team!
Mesonista parsons
Mesonista parsons
2021-03-05
Verified
My attorney at Spodek was Abigail. She was very knowledgeable and helpful with all my questions and concerns, as well as responsive. Her fees are affordable and Abigail took the time to make sure I understood everything relating to my case. I highly recommend Abigail and will request her services in the future.
debabrata chakraborty
debabrata chakraborty
2021-03-03
Verified
Todd A Spodek is the experienced and best criminal lawyer at USA. He is very professional and always respond on time. Alex also very cooperative and always help me. They took care me and my problem like family member. I am 100% satisfied for their professional service. My result was unexpected and amazing. They dismissed my case. I am really grateful to them. I will recommend you to go there if you want to solve your problem. I wish all the best for them.
Asata Hendricks
Asata Hendricks
2021-03-02
Verified
Truly appreciate the work the guys did!. Exceptional team & I know they care about each and everyone of their clients. I am super thankful to be referred to Spodek Law Group and I am grateful Todd & Alex were able to work diligently to achieve an outcome I am pleased with. Despite COVID they stayed on top of things and kept me informed every step of the way. Very thankful.
Mike Moroff
Mike Moroff
2021-02-26
Verified
I'm very satisfied with the services rendered by Todd, Alex and Mary Lou. I whole heartedly recommend Spodek Law Group . I've worked with and have retained other attorneys in the past with Todd's firm being the cream of the crop for many reasons. A very serious legal matter was resolved after a year's hard work and effort. Todd expertly guided me through the process and was able to navigate and make the good journey bearable as well as successful. Mary Lou initially provided excellent assistance before referring my case to Todd. Alex's support was effective and timely. The customer portal (MyCase) is an invaluable communication tool that also kept track of my case. Various aspects of my case were explained and there were several options provided but I made the final decision of how the case would be handled. The legal fee was reasonable considering the effort and amount of work plus it was a flat fee regardless of the length of time required to conclude my case. Todd made himself available to me and we had many scheduled meetings to go over the progress and to discuss the next steps. I felt more confident after many discussions with him. You will not go wrong choosing Spodek Law Group for legal matters.
Josh Katz
Josh Katz
2021-02-24
Verified
Being that it was the first time that I was in need of an attorney, I was afraid and hesitant and knew I needed the absolute best. It is beyond understood why Spodek Law Group has a reputation of being the top, if not the best law firm in New York. Alex and Abigail were there every step of the way even at the most unconvenient hours. I could not have asked for more. They are extremely good at what they do and they delivered much much more than just winning my case. A big thank you to Alex and Abigail for all the guidance and counseling and their upmost loyal support that extended far more than just legally. If you need the absolute best than don't hesitate to hire Spodek Law Firm.
L.C.
L.C.
2021-02-24
Verified
I cannot tell you how thankful I am to Todd and Alex for their hard work and dedication to my case. I had never been in any trouble before but I had an unfortunate event occur and in the midst of COVID-19 at that therefore I knew I needed a team that was dedicated to my success. Today- my case has been finalized and I’m walking away with no record and can continue life as a mother and a Grad student worry free. I cannot express enough gratitude for their assistance.
AnnMarie Soliman
AnnMarie Soliman
2021-02-23
Verified
I received a summons and called Spodek law group for a free consultation. Alex took my call and was very quick and responsive. He was available anytime through multiple platforms and very reassuring when needed. They are extremely organized and thorough. They got my case dismissed! I’m very grateful. Thank you Alex and Todd!

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"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."

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