All professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers, complete significant education hours and licensing examinations to get the credentials needed to practice in their chosen fields. They also have worked hard to build their careers and maintain their livelihoods. Unfortunately, a complaint against your professional license can lead to losing all you have worked so hard to achieve. When you are in this situation, you need to consult a seasoned license defense attorney to assist you in protecting your rights and your career.
Each profession has different standards that practitioners must follow to remain in good standing. These rules and laws often contain broad prohibitions on unprofessional conduct and more specific situations that can lead to disciplinary proceedings against one’s license. However, some situations commonly result in disciplinary action across multiple professions.
Many rules and statutes that govern various professions specify certain crimes for which a conviction will lead to disciplinary proceedings. Typically, specified crimes include crimes of violence, crimes that cause bodily harm to others, sex crimes, crimes against children and the elderly, and serious drug crimes. Other rules are broader, such as those that refer to any felony offenses, crimes involving moral turpitude, or crimes involving fraud, dishonesty, or misrepresentation. Most professions also are subject to some type of broadly stated catch-all provision that arguably could encompass even crimes that are not specifically stated, such as “unprofessional conduct.”
In many professions, a criminal conviction is not necessary for disciplinary action. For instance, many first-time, low-level drug offenders may receive deferred adjudication for a criminal charge in Texas. Essentially, adjudication of conviction is deferred while the individual serves a term of probation. If the individual completes the terms and conditions of probation, then the court will dismiss the criminal case, and the individual will have no criminal conviction or record.
However, the lack of criminal conviction in a deferred adjudication case does not mean that you are clear of any disciplinary proceedings. You still can and likely will face disciplinary action for the underlying criminal offense, despite the lack of a criminal conviction.
Professional malpractice or misconduct is another area where many professionals face license suspension or other disciplinary proceedings. What type of situation constitutes malpractice depends on the rules that govern the profession in question. However, most incidences of malpractice that lead to disciplinary action result from some harm that the professional inflicts on the patient or client by breaking professional ethical rules.
For instance, an incident of medical malpractice can lead to disciplinary proceedings. A doctor who provides care to a patient that falls below the standard of care for the medical profession, such as misdiagnosing a patient to that patient’s detriment, might commit medical malpractice. Likewise, a lawyer might face disciplinary action if they fail to provide legal representation according to the profession’s standards, such as failing to advise a client of an important deadline.
Conduct Involving Fraud, Deceit, and Misrepresentation
Most professionals also have rules that provide for discipline in the event of fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, and general dishonesty. These situations might involve criminal conduct, mismanagement of client funds, or billing fraud. However, these situations also could include engaging in false advertising, falsifying records, or filing false insurance claims.
With respect to the medical profession, another common source of fraud or deceit occurs concerning controlled substances. Doctors may illegally prescribe controlled substances for themselves, mythical patients, or people they are not treating. Other medical professionals may steal prescription pads and write prescriptions without authorization. These actions can often lead to falsifying records to cover up the illegalities and fraudulent prescriptions. The state requires the close tracking of controlled substance dispersal through a database.
Many rules and laws that govern professionals focus on fraud and similar conduct because they are crucial elements in the relationship between the professional and the client or patient. When the professional does or fails to do something that eliminates trust, an essential component of the professional relationship, it questions the professional’s ability to provide professional services adequately and competently. In other words, the professional may present more of a risk of harm to the public than a benefit.
Allow Us to Represent Your Interests Before Your Licensing Board
If you face a complaint from your licensing board, you need to act immediately to protect your license and career. The sanctions you may receive during disciplinary proceedings before your licensing board can include a suspension of your professional license, impacting your ability to earn a living. Your goal is to avoid or minimize these sanctions at all costs and preserve your clean record to the greatest degree possible, which you may be able to do with the help of an experienced license defense attorney. Contact Bertolino LLP today at (512) 515-9518 or visit us online