Professional Guidelines

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

The Virginia State Bar

Professional Guidelines

13-22 Board Proceedings Upon a Guilty Plea or an Adjudication of a Crime

  1. Action Upon Receipt of Notification. Whenever the Clerk receives written notification from any court of competent jurisdiction stating that an Attorney (the “Respondent”) has been found guilty or convicted of a Crime by a Judge or jury, pled guilty to a Crime or entered a plea wherein the facts found by a court would justify a finding of guilt, irrespective of whether sentencing has occurred, a member of the Board shall forthwith and summarily enter an order of Suspension requiring the Respondent to appear at a specified time and place for a hearing before the Board to show cause why the Respondent’s License to practice law should not be further suspended or revoked.  A copy of the written notification from the court shall be served upon the Respondent with the Board’s order of Suspension. The Board may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of a Respondent who is incarcerated and unrepresented by counsel at any time it appears that such an appointment may be appropriate to protect the interests of the Respondent.
  2. Time of Hearing, Continuance and Interim Hearing. The hearing shall be set not less than 14 or more than 30 days after the date of the Board’s order.  Upon written request of the Respondent, the hearing may be continued until after sentencing has occurred.  Upon receipt by the Board of a certified copy of a notice of appeal from the conviction, proceedings before the Board shall, upon request of the Respondent, be continued pending disposition of such appeal.  The Board shall, upon request of the Respondent, hold an interim hearing and shall terminate a summary Suspension while the sentencing or appeal is pending, if the Board finds that the summary Suspension, if not terminated, would be likely to exceed the discipline imposed by the Board upon a hearing on the merits of the case.
  3. Reversal of Conviction. Upon presentation to the Board of a certified copy of an order setting aside the verdict or reversing the conviction on appeal, any Suspension shall be automatically terminated and any Revocation shall be vacated, and the License shall be deemed automatically reinstated. Discharge or Dismissal of a guilty plea or termination of probation shall not result in the automatic termination of the Suspension or vacation of the Revocation. Nothing herein shall preclude further proceedings against the Respondent upon allegations of Misconduct arising from the facts leading to such conviction.
  4. Burden of Proof.  At the hearing, the Respondent shall have the burden of proving that he or she was not convicted of a Crime and why his or her License should not be further suspended or revoked.
  5. Action by the Board and Notice to Respondent. If the Board finds at the hearing that the Respondent has been found guilty or convicted of a Crime by a Judge or jury, pled guilty to a Crime or entered a plea wherein the facts found by a court would justify a finding of guilt, an order shall be issued, and a copy thereof served upon the Respondent in which the Board shall continue the Suspension or issue an order of Suspension against the Respondent for a stated period not in excess of five years; or issue an order of Revocation against the Respondent.
  6. Demand for Three-Judge Circuit Court.  If the Respondent elects to have further proceedings conducted pursuant to Va. Code § 54.1-3935, the Respondent shall file a demand with the Clerk not later than ten days prior to the date set for the hearing before the Board, and simultaneously provide available dates for a hearing not less than 30 nor more than 120 days from the date of the demand.  Upon such demand and provision of available dates as specified above, further proceedings before the Board shall be terminated and Bar Counsel shall file the complaint required by Va. Code § 54.1-3935.  The hearing shall be scheduled as soon as practicable.  However, the 30- to 120-day time frame shall not constitute a deadline for the hearing to be held.  Any summary Suspension issued by the Board shall remain in effect until the court designated under Va. Code § 54.1-3935 enters a final order, unless earlier terminated pursuant to subparagraph 13-22.B.  If the Respondent fails to file a demand, and provide available dates, as specified above, the Respondent shall be deemed to have consented to the jurisdiction of the Board.

The amendments effective July 16, 2021revised Paragraph 13 to promote greater fairness, efficiency, consistency, and transparency in bar proceedings.

The amendments effective December 1, 2019revised Paragraph 13-22 to clarify and simplify language.

The amendments effective March 19, 2010, rewrote Paragraph 13-22.

Updated: July 14, 2021