Conduct On and Off the Job
Medical professionals in California are held to high standards. Not only do licensed medical professional need to be at their best on the job, but they also need to be mindful of their conduct off the job as well. Medical professionals have to abide by a code of ethics whether they are treating a patient or not. In our society, we often look to physicians and other medical professionals for moral guidance and insight. Thus, when medical professionals are convicted of a crime in California, they could lose their license and thus their job if their morality is seen as compromised.
A conviction in California can affect your ability to maintain (i.e. keep or renew) your medical license and your ability to get a license if you are a new applicant. The Medical Board of California is the agency that oversees the licensing of physicians. The Board ultimately makes the decision of whether or not a conviction will affect a physician's license. The good new is the Board handles such situations on a case-by-case basis. There are no hard and fast rules about how a criminal conviction can affect your state-issued medical license in general. Rather, the Board evaluates each case holistically, considering the seriousness and nature of the offense, the facts and circumstances surrounding the offense, the time passed since the conviction occurred and other similar factors.
The Board will also consider how the conviction relates to the professional duties and responsibilities of the defendant. For example, a DUI conviction may appear as a sign a physician is negligent, but if it is an isolated incident and the physician has no other indicators that he or she is negligent on the job or off, the Board might decide against an adverse action. Convictions for offenses such as assault or sexual offenses could have a much greater bearing on a physician's license. In the end, every case is different, and thus it is impossible to predict how a conviction will affect a physician's license.
Although the Board handles these types of decisions case by case, it does maintain the legal authority to take adverse action against a physician's license on its discretion. The Board may suspend or revoke a valid license or deny the issuing or renewal of a license to an applying physician.
The court will notify the Board of any pending charges if you are a licensed physician. So, even before you are convicted, the Board may find out about any criminal charges you are facing as well as any facts about the offense. Upon conviction, the court will send notice to the Board within 48 hours. Needless to say, you should take swift action if you are facing criminal charges and are a licensed physician. You could potentially face immediate action from the Board when facing criminal charges. For this reason, you should contact an attorney immediately if you are a licensed physician and are facing charges.
If you are applying for a license, a past criminal conviction can hold you back, but getting a conviction dismissed could prove to be a mitigating circumstance upon Board review. When a conviction is dismissed, you can truthfully answer “no” when asked if you've ever been convicted of a crime. You should know, however, that in many cases you should still disclose the conviction, but you can note that it was “dismissed in the interests of justice.” A dismissal means the court found it was in the interests of justice to remove the plea or verdict from your record. It can connote to the Board that you have been rehabilitated and are unlikely to commit another crime. Inquire with the Board or your license-issuing agency to determine if a dismissal can benefit you.
Physicians are expected to maintain a certain standard of conduct both on and off the job. Unfortunately, this could mean you lose your license if the Board feels you did not uphold this standard. If you need to maintain a state-issued medical license for your profession, your off the job conduct can put your career at risk. If you are facing criminal charges, speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney right away. Don't take any chances when it comes to your case because a single conviction could result in the loss of your license. An attorney can explain what your charges mean and advise you on the best course of action for dealing with your case. Sometimes this means fighting the charges outright or negotiating a plea bargain for a lesser offense. In any case, an attorney can help you minimize the risk a conviction will have on your career.
Are you facing criminal charges in California and concerned about your professional license? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his team for legal help in Tulare, Fresno or Kings County. Specializing in criminal defense and record cleaning, Mr. Martens can take immediate action in your case to defend your rights. With over ten years experience in criminal defense, Attorney Martens has taken over 50 cases to trial and will not be afraid to do the same for you. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.