A question that our office commonly receives is how a criminal conviction may impact a Physician’s Medical License. Unfortunately, this question does not have a simple bright line answer. This is because each case, and underlying criminal conviction, is different and needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Business and Professions Code Section 2236 states that the conviction of any offense “substantially related” to the qualifications, function or duties of a physician constitutes unprofessional conduct which can be cause for disciplinary action.
The Medical Board of California closely scrutinizes all convictions – felonies and misdemeanors. Convictions such as a wet reckless, reckless driving, DUIs, and varying sex crimes may be determined grounds for disciplinary action. Although the Board does go behind the conviction to evaluate whether to pursue an Accusation or Discipline against the Physician, it also considers surrounding mitigating circumstances, any previous history of arrests or convictions, the physician compliance with court orders, and any proactive rehabilitation efforts.
A Physician has a duty to report criminal actions under the following circumstances: 1) The bringing of an indictment or information charging a felony against the Physician; and 2) The conviction of the licensee – including any verdict of guilty or plea of no contest to any felony or misdemeanor violation. (Physician Report Criminal Actions Business Professions Code Section 802). A failure to make a proper criminal conviction disclosure could result in a fine and will most likely result in more severe discipline. When physicians are arrested and fingerprinted, the Medical Board is notified via the Department of Justice as a result of prior fingerprinting records when you applied for your license.
As humbling and overwhelming the process may be maneuvering thru the criminal court system, it is important to be proactive by building mitigating and rehabilitation evidence early in the process to defend your medical license in the event you do sustain a criminal conviction, or in the event that the Medical Board initiates an investigation (which can occur with or without a conviction).
At the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, we are experienced in helping medical physicians and other healthcare professionals in presenting persuasive mitigation evidence, sitting for interviews with the Medical Board’s investigator, and building a team of professionals to help defend your medical license.