The California Department of Consumer Affairs, The Medical Board of California, the Board of Registered Nursing, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States Attorney’s Office, and District Attorney’s Office are even more actively targeting medical doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and unlicensed individuals who are not adhering to California’s licensing laws and regulations.
If you are a California doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, physical therapist, counselor or other healthcare professional, you should know that practicing your profession without a valid, current license is a criminal offense. Business and Professions Code 2052 is the California statute that stipulates that the unlicensed practice of medicine (without a valid license), for example, is a crime. This offense may be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony in California and can carry up to 3 years in custody.
“Unlicensed Practice” Criminal Charges and Your California Professional License
The unauthorized practice of medicine occurs when someone gives medical advice or treatment without a valid and current professional license (for example under a suspended or revoked license). Under California Penal Code 2052, it is a crime for any person to practice, attempt to practice, or advertise practicing, any treatment of the sick including diagnosis, operation, or prescription for an ailment, blemish, deformity, disease, disfigurement, disorder, injury, or any other physical or mental condition without a valid certificate or authorization for doing so. It is also considered a crime under the statute to conspire with others to commit such acts. And you can be convicted of violating Penal Code 2052 even if you have not caused any harm or bodily injury to others. If harm of injury did occur, however, during a case of unauthorized practice, this can also lead to additional criminal charges.
These cases can even occur if, for example, an unlicensed medical assistant tries to diagnose or treat another person or an unlicensed individual injects botox or fillers at a med spa or “botox party”.
If you are arrested and charged with a criminal offense such as “unlicensed practice”, your ability to apply for a professional license and be successful or have your license reinstated is greatly compromised. An arrest, plea or conviction may also result in the loss of your job, hospital privileges, specialty board certification and membership in professional organizations. Unlicensed health care providers may also be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), excluded from the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs and placed on the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Exclusions List.
Healthcare License Defense: Why You Need an Attorney Experienced in Criminal AND Licensing Law
If you have been charged with a crime such as “unlicensed practice”, you should retain the services of an attorney with both a criminal and a licensing law background who understands the implications of these charges from both legal standpoints.
Hiring An administrative lawyer who might be able to assist you with the licensing board complaint is not able to protect your rights in criminal court. Alternatively, a criminal defense attorney may suggest that you settle your criminal case without realizing that this can negatively impact the outcome of your licensing case. Criminal attorneys might also suggest that you agree to go through a criminal diversion program to get your criminal charges dropped but, importantly, this is not the same as a criminal dismissal of your charges from the standpoint of your state licensing board.
At the Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister, our 30+ years of experience handling legal defense for clients in both these areas is an invaluable asset to anyone facing this type of serious threat to their career, reputation and short and long-term livelihood.
If you are a California professional with a hybrid licensing law and criminal law situation, call the Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister immediately. The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister have successfully represented a wide range of California licensed professionals and we are experienced in handling all types of licensing accusations and licensing issues as well as criminal cases. Let us help you protect your professional license, your reputation, and your livelihood.
For additional information or to schedule a consultation on a professional licensing issue, please contact our law offices today at (877) 280-9944.