How Does the Florida Board of Medicine Handle a Conviction?
What is the process for a licensed medical doctor who is convicted of a crime?
A doctor may be able to maintain their license even though they are convicted of a crime. The penalties correlate to the type of crime that was committed. Relatively minor infractions, such as failure to document CME hours, usually incur an administrative fine and/or a reprimand on the first offense. Additional offenses see higher penalties issued from the Board. Felonies can prevent someone from practicing for a period of time or having their license revoked.
Aggravating or mitigating circumstances can allow the board to deviate from stated penalties. Such situations can include the legal status at the time of the offense and exposure of the patient or the public to actual or potential injury.
The process to retain a license, when applicable, involves timely payment of all fines and applicable costs, updating the court on current residence and practice addresses, adherence to any tolling provisions for when respondents leave Florida for 30 or more days, and compliance to requested community service or continuing education requirements.
What actions or fines can the Florida Board of Medicine impose?
The Florida Board of Medicine can independently punish and fine doctors according to their own guidelines. Punishment may include reprimands, fines, a suspension, or revocation of a license.
A few examples of actions or fines imposed by the board are:
- A first offense penalty for dispensing a controlled substance listed in Schedule II or III can range from probation to revocation and a stated administrative fine from $5,000 to $10,000. A second offense will result in a possible penalty of suspension, a period of probation to revocation and a higher administrative fine of $7,500 to $10,000.
- A first offense penalty for providing deceptive or false expert witness testimony related to the practice of medicine can range from a reprimand to a revocation, with an administrative fine of $5,000 to $10,000. A second offense can result in revocation of a license and an administrative fine of $7,500 to $10,000.
- Failure to comply with the controlled substance prescribing requirements can result in a suspension of a license for six months, followed with a probationary period, and a $10,000 administrative fine, or all the way to a revocation of a license and an administrative fine of $10,000. A second offense increases the suspension to one year, followed by a probationary period and the same fines.
An extensive listing of all possible actions and penalties are available here in more detail.
What happens when you plead “no contest” and not guilty?
A plea of no contest or nolo contendere may work against you regardless of final adjudication. The same applies in an admission of guilt. If any crimes are felonies falling under Chapter 409, 817, or 893, you may be prevented from getting a license. Simply entering a guilty or no contest plea may make it more difficult to obtain a license.
What do you need to do and provide when convicted of a crime and applying for a license from the Board of Medicine? What documents need to be disclosed?
The Florida Board of Medicine requires anyone applying for a Medical Doctor license to disclose any criminal convictions. Minor traffic offenses are the only exception to this rule.
A background screening with a fingerprint submission to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will alert the board to any criminal record you may have. This history can be disseminated to other parties and inaccuracies can be challenged.
In addition to meeting the requirements to apply for a licensure by endorsement or by examination, if you have been convicted of a felony you must also include documentation of:
- Successful completion of a drug court program (when applicable) and proof that a plea of guilty or no contest has either been withdrawn or dismissed
- The sentence and period of probation for a conviction has ended
- A period of five to 15 years has passed, depending on the crime
This applies in cases where a felony has been committed according to section 456.0635 of the Florida Statutes.
A section of the Florida Board of Medicine Medical Doctor Licensure application inquires into your disciplinary actions or criminal offenses. When filing the application, you must include the following documents if you have been convicted of a crime:
- A final disposition and arrest record from the Clerk of the Court or a letter from the Clerk of the Court
- Completion of sentence documents from the Department of Corrections
- A self-explanation of what happened, including dates, city and state, charges, and final results
What crimes would automatically stop you from getting your license?
If you have been convicted of Medicare or Medicaid fraud, prescription drug fraud, illegally selling or possessing a controlled substance, or economic fraud, this could prevent you from getting a medical license.
This stands regardless if individuals entered a guilty or no contest plea and were not convicted. Drug abuse offenses or a similar felony offense can be forgiven when individuals successfully complete a drug court program and provide proof that that the charges were dismissed or the plea was withdrawn.
How can an attorney help you protect your medical license?
To protect your medical license, or to successfully apply for a license, after being convicted of a crime an attorney can help:
- Detail the current laws that apply to your individual case
- Researching Florida laws that apply according to your period of enrollment in an educational institution
- Presenting any mitigating circumstances
- Provide direction on the type of plea that would best serve your future interests
In certain cases, an attorney can assist you in retaining your license or being able to reapply for licensure after a court judgment. Hillsborough Defense has the expertise to navigate the procedures and outcomes of a criminal proceeding or conviction, as well as disciplinary hearings with the Florida Board of Medicine.