Simas & Associates, Ltd. Newsletter | March 6, 2015 | Volume III, Issue 3
Firm Announcement

Increased Importance (or Impotence) of Criminal Expungement 

Sacramento, CA - On September 28, 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 2396, which provides that an individual with an expunged conviction cannot be denied a license solely because of the expunged conviction, notwithstanding any other law in the Business and Professions Code. An expungement in California is a court order issued after probation is complete, or after more than one year after a conviction for which no probation was ordered, dismissing the conviction in a limited fashion.  Expungement is granted upon a motion after successful completion of probation.

"What this means," explained Steven L. Simas, owner of Simas & Associates, Ltd., "is that any licensing agency under the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) cannot merely plead a conviction in order to obtain license discipline. In the past, DCA attorneys or Deputy Attorney Generals (DAGs) would merely allege the conviction in the Accusation and that was sufficient notice and evidence for license discipline. With the passing of this law, the State decided to make it more of a contest." 

By "more of a contest," Mr. Simas is addressing that the operative word of the change in law is "solely." Because of the word, "solely," some of the licensing agencies are taking the aggressive stance that the conviction can still be used, so long as the underlying actions by the licensee that led to the conviction are also pleaded and proven at hearing. And because almost all licensees are required to self-report convictions or even expungements, the licensing agency will know the facts and circumstances in the criminal matter and use that as their blue print to seek discipline for unprofessional conduct.

"What makes most disappointing is the standard of proof is different," continued Simas. "Criminal matters are beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas most licensing matters standard is a less robust, clear and convincing. So, the licensee may have been convicted or pleaded guilty / no contest to a lesser charge in the criminal matter. But the underlying conduct will then get pleaded in the Accusation. And because of the lower threshold, the licensee may receive a far more severe form of license discipline because a finding of abhorrent misconduct will be more likely." 

Presently, however, it does not appear that some of the licensing agencies had even noticed a change.

"No change in pleading, thus far," explained Mr. Simas. "It could be because the agencies do not think that the standards go into effect until the application or Accusation is filed after January 1, 2015. Furthermore, this change in rule - good or bad - does not affect non-DCA licensing agencies like the Department of Insurance or Department of Social Services."
For more information on our practice areas, please visit our website at
Staff Announcement

Justin Hein Nominated as Vice-Chair of Administrative Law Section

On March 6, 2015, Justin D. Hein learned that he would be nominated as Vice Chairperson of the Administrative Law Section of the Sacramento County Bar Association. Mr. Hein will be nominated along with Chairperson, Jon-Paul Valcarenghi, Law Office of Kaizuka & Valcarenghi, and Secretary / Treasurer, Adam Richards, Rothschild, Wishek & Sands, LLP

"It is a great honor," stated Hein upon learning of the nomination. "I am really excited by the prospect of working with Jon-Paul, Adam, as well as any other member of the section who wishes to join our committees. If elected, I am sure our slate will bring some new perspectives while making sure to adhere to some of the sections traditions and goals." 

Mr. Valcarenghi and Mr. Hein had previously been appointed to serve on the Executive Committee of the section. Mr. Valcarenghi served on the Planning and Events Committee and Mr. Hein served on the Media Committee. Nevertheless, this will be all three individuals first-time as nominated-officers of the Section. 

"I think that we still have a lot to learn to make sure this section is as successful as it has been in the past," stated Hein. "Luckily, I still have Mr. Simas to bounce ideas off from. He has been such an asset to the section and the county bar in the past. And so his thoughts will not be unheard."

The election will be conducted electronically in the coming days. The slate is expected to be elected, unopposed.
Client/Vendor of the Month
Whit's Turn Tree Care
P.O. Box 1784
Templeton, CA 93465
P: 805-462-9958
F: 805-462-9978

Trees are a beautiful addition to one's property and provide many benefits. However, all trees have a lifespan, and at some point become too old or unsafe to remain on residential or commercial property. For this reason, it is a good idea to occasionally have the health of trees inspected by a professional.

Whit’s-Turn Tree Care specializes in the health and safety of trees while preserving their natural beauty. It employs skilled tree workers that follow ISA standards and continue to learn the latest techniques and applications in science and tree work. With a combined experience of over 40 years, Whit’s-Turn Tree Care takes pride in treating its clients with care and ensuring it delivers a complete and quality job each and every time.
Simas & Associates, Ltd. appreciates serving as Whit's Turn Tree Care's attorney since earlier this month.  If you would like to be featured as our law firm’s “Client/Vendor of the Month,” please contact us at
Featured Agency Announcement

Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to Establish Task Force

Sacramento, CA — Pursuant to Senate Bill 1247 (Lieu), the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE )is establishing a Task Force. This new Task Force will review standards for educational training programs specializing in innovative subject matters to assist students in high-demand technology fields. The Task Force will submit a report of its recommendations to the BPPE Advisory Committee by January 1, 2016.

Postsecondary education experts, owners of institutions, consumer advocates focused on education, high technology employers, students of short-term focused high technology training programs, and providers of high technology training in subjects including, but not necessarily limited to, programming, software development, computer science, and coding.

If you are interested in serving on the BPPE Task Force, please click here for the application to apply.
Featured Blog Entry
Correcting Mistakes on Your Criminal Record

Under California law, the 
Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice are responsible for maintaining summary criminal history information on those arrested or convicted of crimes in California. every time a law enforcement agency makes an arrest, it is required to transmit the arrest report to the DOJ.  Further, it is the duty of law enforcement or the court of a jurisdiction to furnish a disposition or result of the arrest to the DOJ (see Penal Code §§ 11115, 13150, and 13151).

The problem is, as with all computer records, the DOJ records sometimes have mistakes and inaccuracies.  And these inaccurate criminal histories, often referred to as a "rap sheet," can be devastating to one's career, professional license, and ability to perform their profession.

To keep reading this entry, please click here:
Correcting Mistakes on Your Criminal Record. For more blog entries from our attorneys and legal staff, please visit our law firm’s official blog – Wit of Mandate.
Word of the Month

Wage Theft

The illegal withholding of accrued wages, income, compensation, vacation, or benefits that are rightfully owed to an employee or misclassified worker. Takes place through a variety of methods, some intentional, and some through recklessness or negligence of the employer. This includes but is not limited to failures to pay wages, minimum wages, overtime, or vacation; employee misclassification; overtime exemption misclassification; illegal deductions in pay; working off the clock; denial of employee benefits.

For more terms related to our practice areas, please visit our law firm’s glossary at - Glossary.
Upcoming Calendar

March 6 - Happy Dentists' Day! Also, Employee Appreciation Day!

March 8 - International Working Women's Day.

March 11 - 
Schwartz-Levi American Inn of Courts.

March 12 -
Women Lawyers of Sacramento Mixer.

March 14 - National Pi Day!

March 15 - Ides of March.

March 17 - Happy
St. Patrick's Day

March 19 -
Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association "Literary Liberates". Also, SABA Social Hour.

March 20 - Sacramento County Bar Association and Sacramento Legal Secretaries Association
Legal Practice Bootcamp.

March 25 - 
St. Thomas More Society Special Mass. Also, San Luis Obispo County Bar Association, "How to Win at Trial."

March 31 - Happy César Chávez Day! Offices are closed.

April 1 - Sonoma County Bar Association, "
How Lawyers Can Help the Courts Run Effectively." Also, Happy April Fools Day!

And a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to... Simas & Associates, Ltd., which will turn 13 years old this month! 
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