When the government judges a person’s character, it should do so based on who they are today—not who they were in the past. The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners (NCSBDE), however, appears to be judging Sarah Smith by who she was 10 years ago, not who she is today. Earlier this year, NCSBDE denied Sarah’s application for licensure solely because of three nearly decade-old drug possession convictions.

In Sarah’s previous life—a life before she went to dental school and started working as a dental hygienist in Idaho and Tennessee—Sarah struggled with drug addiction and was the victim of domestic violence. Courts convicted Sarah of felony drug possession in 2014 and two misdemeanor drug possessions in 2015 because of her addiction. Sarah hit rock bottom after her drug convictions, and after spending 30 days in jail, she checked into a rehab program. Eight years later Sarah has maintained her sobriety and is now trying to become a licensed dental hygienist in North Carolina.

But after applying for a license from North Carolina, NCSBDE told Sarah in February that she wasn’t eligible, solely because of her long-past criminal record. Instead, Sarah was only able to receive a provisional license, which will expire in a year. There’s no reason why Sarah’s drug convictions should prevent her from receiving a license. Dental hygienists have no power to prescribe drugs and have no access to prescription strength drugs. More importantly, denying Sarah’s license violates North Carolina law, and it’s unconstitutional.

That’s why the Institute for Justice sent a letter to NCSBDE on Sarah’s behalf, calling on them to allow individuals with past criminal convictions—like Sarah —to become licensed dental hygienists. People like Sarah have worked hard to give themselves a fresh start, but NCSBDE is holding their past against them.