Simas & Associates, Ltd. Newsletter | August 7, 2015 | Volume III, Issue 8
Firm Announcement

Don't Leave Your Client's License Behind Bars

San Luis Obispo, CA — Simas & Associates, Ltd. has continued its efforts to serve Californians by offering free legal consultation services to criminal defense attorneys. All members of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Sonoma County Bar Association Criminal Law Section, and San Luis Obispo County Bar Association Criminal Law Section are eligible for twenty minutes of free advice and consultation services from the attorneys at Simas & Associates, Ltd. This service is to assist criminal defense attorneys deal with the conflicts that often arise when dealing with professional licensees who are facing criminal charges.  

"Unfortunately, we see it time and time again," explained Steve Simas, owner of Simas & Associates, Ltd. "Potential clients come to us confused and leave that initial conference a little heartbroken. They thought that a great deal had been swung in their favor and either pleaded nolo contendre or guilty to a lesser charge. However, in so negotiating that great deal, proper weight had apparently not been given to preserving the individual's current license or prospective license."

One of the more difficult aspect is the delay - between criminal sentencing and agency action.

"We do not assume that the [criminal defense] attorney who negotiated the deal did anything 'wrong'," explained Justin Hein, attorney at the firm's Santa Rosa office. "Rather, the defense attorney may very well have discussed licensing issues with their then client. Or, understandably, it was not that high of a priority for the client as avoiding jail time, a potential felony, or even the anxiety caused by going to trial. However, because the criminal matter is often resolved so quickly in relation to the licensing action, it may result in a delay of two, three years. And by that time, buyer's remorse undoubtedly sets in."

So what does Simas & Associates, Ltd. actually do when consulting with criminal defense attorneys?

"A little education," explained Hein. "Many do not know how broad of a definition 'substantially-related-to-the-profession' has been given by the courts and enforced by the various boards."

"We try to make sure that the right questions are being asked of the [criminal defense attorney's] client," explained Simas. "We also want the [criminal defense] attorney to ask about career prospects. A number of crimes are the result of bad decisions made by young adults. We want to make sure that a future podiatrist understands how the present guilty plea will impact their ability to get into medical school, get a license, get privileges at a hospital, get onto a insurance panel, etc."

"We also examine disciplinary guidelines," continued Hein. "Each of the licensing boards are required to provide disciplinary guidelines—the equivalent of sentencing guidelines.This helps the defense attorney let the client know what type of license discipline to expect."

"Finally," concluded Simas, "we discuss the differences between felonies and misdemeanors. And the importance in expungement of the conviction—especially in light of AB 2396."

For more information on advice-and-counsel services or this offer for criminal defense attorneys, please visit our website at
Staff Announcement

Julianne Allen Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Julianne Allen, Senior Paralegal at Simas & Associates, Ltd., recently celebrated her 5th anniversary at the law firm. In recognition, the team took her out for lunch and surprised her with a plaque as a small token of appreciation.

"I was totally surprised and thank you," stated Julianne, upon receipt of the plaque. "I love the people I work with. Overcoming the challenges so many of our clients face is only possible when we work well as a team. And I think this current team has accomplished and will accomplish great things moving forward."

A large part of the firm's success and growth is tied directly to Ms. Allen.

"Julianne has helped shepherd, an assortment of associate attorneys, paralegals, receptionists, and office managers during her time here," explained Steve Simas, owner of the law firm, and the only member of the current team whose tenure exceeds that of Julianne. "To be frank, she has helped shepherd me; in how we proceed on clients, matters, witnesses, evidence, and hearings. She is a great sounding board and someone I love going to battle with on my side."
Congratulations, Julianne!
Client/Vendor of the Month
Prairie Creek Animal Hospital
11180 Loma Rica Road
Loma Rica, CA 95901
P: (530) 749-6530
F: (530) 749-6534

Prairie Creek Animal Hospital is a full service animal hospital that will take both emergency cases as well as less urgent medical, surgical, and dental issues. Prairie Creek's veterinarians are experienced in all types of conditions and treatments. Beyond first rate pet care, Prairie Creek makes its clinic comfortable, kid-friendly, and a very calm environment so one's pet can relax in the waiting room and look forward to meeting his or her own "Loving" veterinarian. 

The hospital has a veterinarian and support personnel on duty 7 days a week during our regular business hours who are trained and equipped to handle any urgent care or problem one's pet may need or encounter. Usually an emergency team consists of at least one veterinarian and several technicians working together. Life-threatening emergency care will always receive immediate attention upon arrival and even non-life-threatening urgent care can often be squeezed in to Prairie Creek's normal schedule of care.
Simas & Associates, Ltd. appreciates the opportunity to represent Prairie Creek Animal Hospital as it continues to grow. If you would like to be featured as our law firm’s “Client/Vendor of the Month,” please contact us at
Featured Agency Announcement

BVNPT Cautions to be on the Look-Out for Unapproved Training Programs

Sacramento, CA — The Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT) has become aware of an increasing number of unapproved nursing programs operating within California or claiming to be approved by the Board. Applicants and prospective nursing students should be aware that the Board will not qualify an applicant to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), or to be licensed, after completion of an unapproved nursing program. In some cases, these unapproved programs have been or are operated by approved Continuing Education Providers that are operating beyond the scope of their approval.

If any portion of the instruction is completed at or through an unapproved nursing program, it is considered unapproved.

Please note that the BVNPT has not approved any distance learning programs. Even if a nursing school is appropriately approved by its own state or country, completion of a distance learning program and/or blended instruction will not qualify for the BVNPT or an applicant to sit for the NCLEX. Even if the unapproved nursing program represented to the student that it was approved or the applicant was found eligible by another state to take the examination after taking that nursing program, or even in the event the applicant successfully passed the examination in that other state. In all instances, the applicant would still not be eligible for licensure in California.

Please keep in mind these indicators that a program may be unapproved:
  • The program is not listed on the Board's website as an approved vocational nursing program or on the California Board of Registered Nursing website as an approved registered nursing program.
  • Lack of proof of approved in California (i.e., documentation from the Board verifying a specified period of approved).
  • Lack of a course syllabus for each course taught.
  • Lack of information regarding credentials for each program instructor that comply with the Vocational Nursing Regulations in California.
  • Representation of online, distance, and/or blended instruction.
  • Representation that transcripts and/or degrees will be issued by an out-of-state or international program rather than the program where instruction is provided.
  • Lack of concrete information regarding clinical instruction, such as the location of the clinical instruction or that clinical instruction is to be completed abroad.
  • Lack of concurrent instruction of theory and clinical practice.
Finally, you can always verify whether a nursing program is approved by reviewing the listing of the approved programs on the BVNPT website (last update on August 6, 2015) or by calling the BVNPT directly at (916) 263-7843.
Featured Blog Entry
Restrictive Covenant Law Lessons in HBO's Silicon Valley

Have you been laughing and cringing along with Silicon Valley on HBO? This half-hour comedy skewers the achievements and missteps of a technology startup, and the eccentric characters they encounter along the way. Set in the famous, eponymous region of northern California, Silicon Valley is an audacious comedy, and many of the situations that the characters face are wild and unrealistic. However, the most significant event of the second season hinged on a very real piece of California employment law.

Outside of the fictional world, are you sure that your employment agreements will stand up to California contract law? This can be a unique concern for companies that have employees living or working in multiple states, and warrants review by your employment law counsel.

To keep reading this entry, please click here:
Restrictive Covenant Law Lessons in HBO's Silicon Valley. 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

Wet Reckless

Guilty plea bargain of reckless driving which was "alcohol related." A wet reckless results when the defendant wants to avoid a charge of driving under the influence when the amount of blood alcohol was borderline illegal, there was no accident, and no prior record. The result is a lower fine, no jail time and no record of a drunk driving conviction, but if there is a subsequent drunk driving conviction the "wet reckless" will be considered a "prior" drunk driving conviction and result in a heavier sentence required for a second conviction. In California, it's not a charge for which you can be arrested. Rather, it is a charge that is only offered as a plea bargained settlement in place of a driving under the influence (see Vehicle Code, Â§ 23103, as per Vehicle Code, Â§ 23103.5.)

For more terms related to our practice areas, please visit our law firm’s glossary at - Glossary.
Looking to Hire
Sacramento Office of Simas & Associates, Ltd. is looking to immediately add a qualified Associate Attorney to its staff. If interested or if you know of qualified candidates, please visit or direct qualified candidates to visit our Employment Opportunities section of our website. Thank you.
Upcoming Calendar

August is National Eye Exam Month.  So, go find yourself a good Optometrist!

August 10 - Sonoma -
Deposition Objections

August 12 - Happy Middle Child's Day!

August 13 -
SCBA - Health Care Section Luncheon. Also, start of the 2015 PGA Championships in Whistling Straits, Wisconsin.

August 20 - SLO - 
San Luis Obispo City Attorney Examines New City Laws.

August 25 - Sonoma - Ethical Considerations in the Use of Paralegals.

August 26 - National Dog Day.

August 27 -
Women Lawyers of Sacramento Luncheon.

August 31 -
U.S. Open (tennis) begins.

September 2 - Sonoma - Problems and Pitfalls in Litigating Employment Cases.

And a (belated) happy  birthday to Julia R. Jackson
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