A criminal conviction can reach into many aspects of your personal and financial life. There have been some restrictions placed on the impact of certain convictions for job applicants. But conviction of certain offenses, such as drunk driving, can restrict the right to engage in certain professions and mandate reporting to licensing boards.
For example, convictions may affect a health practitioner’s ability to practice medicine in California. Conviction of certain offenses could constitute unprofessional conduct under state professional licensing laws. Medical doctors, osteopathic physicians and podiatrists face possible loss or restriction of their licenses.
These offenses are defined in licensing laws as crimes that substantially relate to the practitioner’s qualifications, functions or duties. Some of these offenses may be obvious, such as writing fraudulent prescriptions or assaulting a patient. But these may also include other less apparent offenses such as DUI, drug offenses and sex offenses involving a nonpatient.
In reaching a decision on imposing professional discipline, the Medical Board of California considers all relevant facts related to the case. These include the date of the arrest, its circumstances, the practitioner’s arrest and conviction history, and their compliance with the terms and conditions of the sentence.
Physicians are also required to file a written report of certain legal actions with the Board. These actions include the bringing of an indictment or information charging a felony offense and any verdict or plea of guilty or plea of no contest to any felony or misdemeanor. The Board’s reporting form seeks information on the crime and sentence.
These reports must be filed within 30 days. A practitioner who does not submit this report commits a public offense and faces a fine of up to $5,000.
A physician’s conviction of a DUI and other offenses can have a double impact that may not be apparent during the arrest or court proceedings. A physician or other licensed professional facing criminal charges should seek legal representation to protect their rights and, when appropriate, reduce the conviction’s impact.