Disciplinary proceedings by administrative boards are not the same as criminal proceedings. A professional can sometimes be charged with a crime and can, depending upon the nature of the offense, face no threat to a professional license. Likewise, a professional can face administrative action by a professional board which leads to suspension, loss of a license, or other consequences even if no criminal activities have occurred.
The question, however, is what happens to your license while charged with a criminal offense. Lawyers with experience in professional license defense can evaluate the situation. For many professionals, what happens to their license while a criminal case is pending, or upon conviction or resolution, is as important as defending against criminal wrongdoing.
Disciplinary Board Proceedings and Criminal Cases
Houston Chronicle reported on one recent case in Texas, which helps illustrate the impact a criminal case can have on a doctor's ability to practice medicine.
The doctor is a Houston pediatrician who was accused of molesting a seven-year-old boy. The accusations of fondling the boy were made against him based on an alleged incident in 2014. When he was indicted by a grand jury for indecency with a child, his medical license was suspended.
Prior to his license suspension, he had served as a medical school pediatrics profession for University of Teas medical school, and was chief medical officer for a Children's Memorial Hospital. He also had privileges at several additional hospitals. The suspension of his license effectively put an end to his ability to do all of this important work.
Now, however, the state regulatory agency has lifted the suspension which had been placed on his license, even though the criminal case is not yet resolved. The suspension was lifted because agency rules require a medical license to stay in place "until final disposition of the case." In other words, a doctor cannot and should not have his license suspended just because accusations are made against him and just because he is indicted. Until the case has been resolved, it is unjust to take away a medical license solely on the basis of an indictment which has not let to a conviction.
The doctor in this case is facing legal limbo in his criminal case, as the first trial against him ended in a mistrial. The judge presiding over the case rebuked prosecutors for their conduct and the defendant doctor has accused prosecutors of misconduct, claiming the prosecutors goaded the defendant to ask for a mistrial because the jury was about to acquit. Double jeopardy would have prevented an additional attempt at prosecution if the jury did acquit, so the prosecutor engaged in tactics aimed at getting a mistrial declared so they could prosecute the doctor again.
The prosecutor has declined to drop charges and indicated it plans to retry the case, and the defendant has petitioned to try to prevent future prosecution because the Constitution's double jeopardy provision says a case cannot be tried again if the prosecutor forced the mistrial.