Criminal Actions and Their Impact on a Healthcare Professional’s License

When charged with a crime, physicians, nurses and other licensed medical professionals must defend their actions twice: in criminal court and before the state licensing board for their respective profession. That’s because almost all criminal issues directly affect their professional license, even if the charge is unrelated to their practice.

Unfortunately, criminal defense attorneys who do not practice administrative law often plead criminal cases in such a way that makes it difficult to avoid licensing actions. They are not aware of the intricacies of the Public Health Code and the requirements imposed on licensed health professionals.

But we at Chapman Law Group are different.

Because our attorneys handle both criminal and administrative law in the health care field, we know the collateral consequences a criminal conviction brings. From the onset of your representation, we consider all licensing ramifications when developing a strategy, and we will represent you aggressively during criminal and administrative proceedings.

What Happens If I am Facing Criminal Charges?

There are four reasons why, immediately after your arrest, you should contact a skilled professional licensing attorney:

1. Criminal Charges Almost Always Result in Disciplinary Action

If you have been served with a criminal complaint or federal indictment, you can anticipate that the state, the Department of Health (Florida) or the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (Michigan) will investigate whether you have violated the Public Health Code.

Common criminal complaints include:

Robert Andretz, who handles criminal and regulatory matters at Chapman Law Group, talks about what happens when physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other licensed healthcare professionals are charged with DUI/DWI/OWI — and the possible solutions when you have a healthcare-based criminal law attorney on your side.

2. A Felony or Misdemeanor Conviction May Lead to Suspension of License

If you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges related to alcohol or substance abuse, you may be subject to a summary suspension or emergency suspension — which immediately prevents you from practicing.

In the event of a felony conviction, your license will probably be immediately suspended. If you receive an alcohol-related misdemeanor conviction, you may also face an immediate suspension. 

3. Pleading Guilty Has Serious Consequences in Disciplinary Proceedings

A guilty plea is the strongest form of proof under the law. When you plead to a criminal offense, you are prevented from arguing differently in a subsequent administrative proceeding. In Michigan and Florida, the Administrative Code allows for mandatory suspension of a health professional’s license for felony convictions and certain misdemeanors.

Before accepting an offer or entering a plea of guilty, it is imperative that you are advised on the collateral consequences of your plea and its effect on your professional license. All too often, criminal attorneys do not appreciate the consequences of a guilty plea, and clients are forced to accept a less-than-desirable outcome at an administrative proceeding. But an experienced licensing attorney can advise you on which misdemeanor pleas are less likely to result in suspension of your license.

4. Criminal Convictions Must Be Reported to the Licensing Authority

In Michigan and Florida, a licensed health care professional is required to report a criminal conviction to the relevant board (Board of Medicine, Board of Nursing, etc.) within 30 days. In some professions, the professional must update his/her online profile within 15 days.

If the licensing board believes your criminal conviction has the potential to affect your ability to practice your profession, they may impose sanctions up to and including license revocation.

That’s why it is crucial for your report of conviction to put you in the best light possible, showing the board you can still safely and skillfully practice your profession. An experienced professional licensing attorney will put together a plan to prove your character and fitness to the board.

We Have the Experience and Know-How to Defend You

If you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, it is imperative you seek the advice of an attorney who can navigate both the criminal and administrative courts — to get you the best possible result that will protect your freedom and livelihood.

At Chapman Law Group, we not only have attorneys with 35 years’ experience representing health professionals, we also have attorneys who are also licensed nurses and physicians with real-world practical knowledge.

For more than three decades, we have provided top legal service for licensed healthcare professionals all across Michigan, including the Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Dearborn, and Troy areas; in Florida (Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Orlando, and other regions); and nationally.

Aggressive representation at the outset will improve your chances of receiving a more favorable result in both criminal court and before your respective board. Call us at Chapman Law Group and let us put our know-how in healthcare law and criminal law to work for you.

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