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Criminal Charges, Arrests May Affect Your California Physician’s License

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can land just about anyone in trouble with the law. For most people, minor criminal charges are little more than a costly, though temporary, annoyance. If you are a physician, however, even a criminal charge that does not lead to a conviction can have serious repercussion on your livelihood and your professional identity.

Indictments And Convictions Must Be Reported

You might require medical license defense for a number of reasons. From DWI arrests to sex crime charges, doctors facing allegations of wrongdoing may have to appear before the Medical Board of California even if the underlying incident does not seem to be facially related to the practice of medicine.

In fact, under Section 802.1 of the California Business and Professions Code, a doctor must self report certain criminal charges to the Board even if he or she is ultimately acquitted. Within 30 days, any information or indictment bringing a felony charge against a doctor must be reported. Convictions, including guilty pleas or no contest pleas, must also be reported within 30 days for both felonies and misdemeanors. Those who fail to make a required report can be fined up to $5,000.

Board Has A Great Deal Of Discretion In Addressing Criminal Charges

Once the Board knows of a conviction or pending criminal charge against a physician, it will evaluate the individual circumstances of the situation. The Board has wide discretion to impose disciplinary sanctions, including remediation activities, probation and medical license revocation. Punishable conduct for a criminal conviction under Section 2236 of the California Business and Professions Code includes anything "substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a physician." Not only is this definitely open for a wide degree of interpretation, the Board may also consider "underlying issues" that led to the conviction.

Whether a conviction is for a felony or a misdemeanor may be significant in the eyes of the criminal court when handing down a sentence, but no distinction is made in Section 2236 of the California Business and Professions Code. Other factors, like a prior history of arrests or the physician's level of compliance with court-ordered sanctions, may be more important than the status of the charge as a felony or misdemeanor.

Are You A California Doctor Charged With A Crime? Talk To A Medical License Defense Lawyer.

While the great discretion of the Medical Board of California in considering the suspension or revocation of a license to practice medicine due to the physician's involvement in a criminal case can be scary to think about, it is a double-edged sword. This discretion also means that you have a great opportunity to convince the Board to consider lesser sanctions or to forgo sanctions entirely through your medical license defense.

Keeping your license to practice medicine is not just essential for your livelihood; it is a matter of reputation and personal pride. If you are facing criminal charges, get ahead of disciplinary action by the Medical Board of California and contact a medical license defense lawyer today.

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