You can lose a medical license after an arrest; however, an arrest alone does not guarantee loss of your medical license. Conviction for a serious offense most likely does. If the court finds you guilty or if you plead guilty or no contest for certain crimes, the relevant health care board will pursue disciplinary action and suspend your medical license per Florida Statute Chapter 456.
If you work in healthcare and have been arrested for a crime, call our defense attorneys to discuss your case. The team at Goldman Wetzel understands the unique aspects of professional licensing in Florida and can provide the aggressive representation to protect your license.
Call 727-828-3900 for a free consultation today.
How Criminal Charges Can Affect Your Professional License
After an arrest, as a medical professional, you face not only criminal proceedings but also administrative proceedings. The State of Florida has strict requirements for medical professional licensees, including ethical standards. The administrative board reviews each licensee’s criminal charges on a case-by-case basis. Felony and certain misdemeanor convictions can thwart your entire career.
If you hold a license to practice medicine in Florida and have been arrested for certain crimes (discussed in the next section), the appropriate state department will investigate to determine whether you have violated public health laws.
If the board finds that you have demonstrated professional misconduct, unprofessional conduct, or unsafe, illegal, or unethical behavior, it may take any number of disciplinary actions, such as:
- Issuing warnings;
- Placing you on probation;
- Filing a reprimand on your official record that indicates you have been disciplined;
- Ordering fines and issuing citations;
- Imposing sanctions and specific orders to cease a particular activity;
- Mandating appropriate professional courses;
- Detailing remedial terms for license reinstatement;
- Offering an alternative-to-discipline program;
- Mandating community service;
- Monitoring and supervising your practice;
- Suspending your license temporarily;
- Issuing an emergency suspension of your license; and
- Revocation of your license.
Furthermore, the board may report any disciplinary action to federal data banks, the National Practitioner Data Bank, and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank.
Crimes that May Disqualify Applicants for a Medical License
All medical license applicants must provide detailed information about their criminal history and report all criminal offenses to the Florida Board of Medicine. They must also submit to fingerprinting for background screening.
Convictions for certain crimes can disqualify (either permanently or temporarily) you from holding a medical license in Florida. These include crimes that relate to:
- Drug crimes, substance abuse;
- Tax fraud;
- Failure to pay child or spousal support;
- Medical malpractice and patient abuse and neglect;
- Sexual misconduct; and
- “Any other crime involving moral turpitude, fraud, dishonesty, or deceit in any jurisdiction of the courts of this state, of any other state, or of the United States.” [Florida Statute § 458.331(1)(pp)(4)]
Reporting Your Charges to the Licensing Board
Florida Statute § 456.072(1)(x) mandates that healthcare licensees have 30 days to report to the board that they have been convicted or found guilty of or entered a plea of no contest (nolo contendere) to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction.
Protecting Your Career and Freedom
Protect your freedom, livelihood, and future by securing a defense attorney immediately. Our defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel can assist with any state or federal criminal charges in Florida. We will explore defense principles and plans of action with you to avoid a criminal conviction and safeguard your license.
Below are a few examples of defense strategies for protecting your medical career after an arrest:
Pleading Not Guilty
Medical licensing boards treat pleadings of guilty and no contest the same: both can result in license suspension. Speak to an attorney before your arraignment for counsel entering your plea.
Avoid a Conviction
The best way to keep your license is to avoid a conviction. No matter the type of charges you face, our defense attorneys can develop a personalized defense strategy that aims to win a dismissal or acquittal.
Plead to Different Charges
In some cases, negotiating a plea deal that involves pleading to different crimes that will not affect your license might be the best-case scenario.
Sealing Your Records
If applicable, we may be able to obtain approval to have your records sealed or expunged, which can positively impact your professional status.
Some defendants may qualify for a diversion program, drug court, or pre-trial diversion, which may help you sidestep the board’s disciplinary action.
Free Consultation with a Goldman Wetzel Defense Attorney
Our defense attorneys have a passion for helping Florida medical professionals with their legal needs when facing criminal charges. Call our office at 727-828-3900 and schedule a confidential meeting to discuss how we may be of assistance.