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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Criminal Convictions Involving California State Employees

Criminal Convictions Involving California State Employees
As an employee of the California civil service system, what happens to your position if you have to face a criminal arrest or conviction?
In California, some criminal convictions can mean administrative discipline for a state employee.  Peace officers are measured by a more strict standard than others, because an officers’ duty is to uphold the law.
If you’re a state civil service employee and you are looking at possible punitive action as a result of a criminal charge, our California Criminal Defense attorneys might be able to help you.  Our firm represents  state employees accused of crimes.  We assist them in resolving and evading disciplinary action.
In this article, we offer you an overview of criminal convictions that involve California State Employees.  We cover:

  1. What regulating body oversees state civil service employees?
  2. Could a criminal conviction be cause for discipline?
  3. What special rules are there for California state peace officers?
  4. Will I be able to fight to keep my job?


  1. What regulating body oversees state civil service employees?

In matters of discipline, including sanctions for having been subject to criminal arrest or conviction, the California State Personnel Board (SPB) regulates civil service workers.  This is the body that enforces civil service statutes in keeping with the California Constitution. Dismissals, suspensions, demotions and salary reductions are among the possible disciplinary “adverse actions” one can face.
The factors that are assessed in connection with a disciplinary penalty are:

  • Any actual or potential harm to public service,
  • what the circumstances of the misconduct were, and
  • the likelihood of it happening again.


  1. Could a criminal conviction be cause for discipline?

Among the 24 grounds for California civil service discipline of a state employee, conviction of a felony crime or a misdemeanor offense that involves “moral turpitude” is a major factor.  The general definition of “felony” is an offense punishable by state prison or death.
Other offenses (which are not infractions) are misdemeanors. California law defines crimes of moral turpitude as ones involves fraud or dishonesty, the corruption of others, or particularly egregious acts.
Some examples of moral turpitude found by the State Personnel Board include:

  • Cases involving fraudulent vehicle registration
  • The act of fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits
  • Incidences of battery on a child of sexual nature

A conviction can be a guilty plea, guilty verdict, or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere, also known as a  “no contest” plea.
On top of that, a conviction for certain California crimes renders you ineligible to hold any public office in the state of California.

  1. What special rules are there for California state peace officers?

More considerations apply with respect to criminal convictions for state employees who are peace officers.  This category includes officers with the California Highway Patrol, corrections officers and special agents at the Department of Justice.
Pursuant to California legislation, a felony conviction disqualifies an individual from being a peace officer.  This disqualification includes all felony convictions, even those from out-of-state and any that were expunged.
A few exceptions apply, specifically those relating to California Drug Diversion, such as PC 1000 (Deferred Entry of Judgment) programs, alternate felony-misdemeanor possession offenses and parole/probation officer positions.
Non-punitive Termination on the Basis of Inability to Carry a Gun
Since peace officers carry fire arms, the collateral problem of preventing an officer from complying with a job requirement tjat certain convictions can cause– could possibly lead to “non-punitive” termination. California’s “felon with a firearm” legislation makes it a crime to own, possess or use a gun if you’ve been convicted of a felony or specific enumerated misdemeanors.
Those who successfully complete a diversion program can be helpful in misdemeanor cases involving the disqualification to carry a gun, as this might avoid entry of  “judgment” of conviction.

  1. Will I be able to fight to keep my job?

Because you are a permanent civil service employee, you have a legally protected interest in continued employment.  You are entitled to procedural safeguards with regards to disciplinary actions, including the right to receive notice of any adverse action.
Stage one in the discipline process is the pre-termination Skelly hearing.  During this hearing, you will have the chance to orally plead your case and attempt to work something out.
Stage two is the SPB Appeals Division.  You (or you and your lawyer) are entitled to a more formal hearing with evidence and witnesses.  A hearing officer or an administrative law judge hears your matter and returns a decision. Once they do, you can file a petition for rehearing.  You also have the option to file a writ of administrative mandamus with the trial court.
The California Criminal Defense Attorneys At our Firm Can Help.
Have you or a loved one been charged with a crime.  Is the person who was charged a state employee?  If you need to hire an attorney to represent you, please feel free to contact us at Shouse Law Group for your initial consultation.

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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

5 Stars
It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything was explained and any concerns...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

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