By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
Criminal Charges Do Impact Professional Licenses.
Licensing authorities are charged with protecting the general public, not the individuals they regulate. Most health care practitioner practice acts include criminal convictions as one of the grounds for the denial or discipline of a professional license. Some of those acts (for example, Florida) allow the disciplinary authority to impose discipline upon a conviction even when adjudication is withheld.
These authorities can and do impose discipline based upon the facts underlying a conviction, even when the conviction itself is not directly related to the practice of a profession. For example, a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) or reckless driving can raise the question of whether the practitioner could be impaired or reckless while providing patient care. The licensing authority will most likely investigate these matters and the facts underlying the offense to determine if the practitioner poses a threat to the public.
Therefore, if you have been arrested for DUI, disorderly conduct, assault, or any other misdemeanor, you can anticipate that the state, the Department of Health (DOH) or the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will start an investigation. It is imperative that you retain an attorney who can immediately defend your freedom during your criminal case and also protect your livelihood during licensing proceedings.
Conviction of Felony or Misdemeanor Charges May Lead to Suspension of Professional License.
In the event of a conviction, in many cases, this may trigger a report to the state licensing board. In Florida, for example, a physician or other licensed health professional who is required to have a practitioner profile must update that profile with the information about the conviction within 15 days. In Florida, a physician or other licensed health professional must also notify his or her licensing board for the Department of Health (when there is no board), in writing, within 30 days.
If you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, it is imperative that you seek the advice and experience of an attorney who can navigate the criminal and administrative courts and get you the best possible result to protect your freedom and livelihood. Remember, your profession is often your only means of support.
Practitioners who have been arrested generally want their criminal cases resolved as quickly and quietly as possible. Unfortunately, they may inadvertently accept a plea arrangement that results in severe discipline or revocation of their license. All health care providers and their criminal attorneys should consider the consequences to the practitioner’s license before accepting a plea arrangement and should consult with an experienced health law attorney. Click here to read one of our prior blogs for more information on this.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Licensure Matter and Disciplinary Matters.
If you have been arrested, it is strongly recommended that you retain an experienced health care attorney who can advise you and your criminal counsel as to the effects a potential outcome could have on your license.
The Health Law Firm routinely represents physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners in licensure matters. We frequently consult with criminal defense attorneys regarding defense strategies tailored to minimizing criminal sanctions while at the same time preserving the practitioner’s license.
To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
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