As of June 1, 2018, most active attorneys in California are required to be re-fingerprinted, according to The State Bar of California. Under California Rule of Court Rule 9.9.5, active lawyers and multijurisdictional practitioners must comply before the prescribed deadline of April 30, 2019, or face penalties.
It turns out that up until last year the state was out of compliance with a statutory mandate that requires the State Bar be notified of attorney arrests and convictions from the California Department of Justice (DOJ). While attorneys always get fingerprinted upon admission to the State Bar, neither the Bar nor the Department of Justice held onto said fingerprints. Which means, if an attorney found themselves on the wrong side of the law, both organizations have nothing in the records for future notification services.
Of the 190,000 active attorneys in the state, as many as 19,000 may have unreported criminal activity, according to the State Bar of California.
Failure to Comply
As mentioned above, the deadline for compliance before the penalty period begins is April 30th of next year. If the Bar’s requirements are not met, noncompliant lawyers will be required to pay a fine of $75 and will have approximately three months to get the problem situated before paying monetary penalty number 2 of $100. Attorneys found not cooperating at that juncture will have until December 1, 2019, to comply before their status with the bar is changed to “involuntary inactive.”
- Monetary Penalty I – $75 — May 1, 2019
- Monetary Penalty II – $100 — Aug 1, 2019
- Final Warning Notice of Status Change — Nov 1, 2019
- Status Change to Involuntary Inactive — Dec 1, 2019
According to the California State Bar, Foreign Legal Consultants and Registered In-House Counsel have until February 1, 2019, to submit fingerprints when renewing their registration. If you have more questions about the fingerprinting process, please contact the State Bar’s Office of Attorney Regulation and Consumer Resources — 888-800-3400.
Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
Attorney Ronald G. Browser has more than three decades of experience helping clients receive favorable outcomes in the courts. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, please contact our office to learn how we can advocate on your behalf.