Florida Health Care License

Reducing Criminal Charges to a Lesser Offense to Protect your Medical License

jeff-howellOver the past couple of years I have noticed an uptick at the Department of Health (DOH) of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, paramedics and other licensed health care professionals who have received a letter from DOH inquiring about a recent DUI. The letter from DOH usually says something like:

The Consumer Services Unit has received a complaint concerning your criminal history.  Florida law allows this complaint to be resolved through mediation.  To correct this offense, please fill out the attached documents and mail them to our office at the address listed below.  Please include a copy of this letter or your case number on all pages.  If we do not receive a response from you within 30 days of the date of this notice, a formal complaint will be initiated and disciplinary action will be taken against your license.

The letter also includes a document entitled “Criminal History Reporting Form.” This form prepared by DOH requests detailed information about the health care licensee and a particular type of offense whether it is DUI, battery, prostitution, or drug offense. he form also goes on to request that the licensee provide a detailed explanation surrounding the offense or “what happened.”

The DOH letter and the accompanying criminal history reporting forms are an attempt by DOH to gather additional information to weed out what DOH believes are minor offenses which do not deserve discipline. However, more serious charges like DUI, battery, prostitution, or possession of drugs can lead to an actual discipline by your professional board. It all depends on how you complete the forms and what information you provide to DOH.

In many cases our law firm has been successful in advising clients to tell their criminal defense lawyers to try to get their cases pled down to a lower offense through the criminal courts. For example, in one case we had success with a client who was charged with prostitution. We informed the client to tell his criminal defense lawyer to see if the state attorney’s office would take a plea to the offense of “trespass.”  The state attorney agreed to the plea agreement for just the trespass charge and this was reported to DOH who eventually closed its file and did not do further investigation and discipline of the license. Similarly we have also seen successes where a doctor or nurse is charged with DUI and a case in criminal court is pled down to “reckless driving.”  In those cases it is possible that DOH will not investigate any further.

Update:

REDUCING CRIMINAL CHARGES TO A LESSER OFFENSE TO PROTECT YOUR HEALTH CARE LICENSE

Over the past couple of years I have noticed an uptick at the Department of Health (DOH) of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, paramedics and other licensed health care professionals who have received a letter from DOH inquiring about a recent DUI.  The letter from DOH usually says something like:

The Consumer Services Unit has received a complaint concerning your criminal history.  Florida law allows this complaint to be resolved through mediation.  To correct this offense, please fill out the attached documents and mail them to our office at the address listed below. Please include a copy of this letter or your case number on all pages.  If we do not receive a response from you within 30 days of the date of this notice, a formal complaint will be initiated and disciplinary action will be taken against your license.

The letter also includes a document entitled “Criminal History Reporting Form.”  This form prepared by DOH requests detailed information about the health care licensee and a particular type of offense whether it is DUI, battery, prostitution, or drug offense.  The form also goes on to request that the licensee provide a detailed explanation surrounding the offense or “what happened.”

The DOH letter and the accompanying criminal history reporting forms are an attempt by DOH to gather additional information to weed out what DOH believes are minor offenses which do not deserve discipline.  However, more serious charges like DUI, battery, prostitution, or possession of drugs can lead to an actual discipline by your professional board.  It all depends on how you complete the forms and what information you provide to DOH.

In many cases our law firm has been successful in advising clients to tell their criminal defense lawyers to try to get their cases pled down to a lower offense through the criminal courts.  For example, in one case we had success with a client who was charged with prostitution.  We informed the client to tell his criminal defense lawyer to see if the state attorney’s office would take a plea to the offense of “trespass.”  The state attorney agreed to the plea agreement for just the trespass charge and this was reported to DOH who eventually closed its file and did not do further investigation and discipline of the license. Similarly we have also seen successes where a doctor or nurse is charged with DUI and a case in criminal court is pled down to “reckless driving.”  In those cases it is possible that DOH will not investigate any further.

If you have received an inquiry from DOH regarding your professional license with a request that you furnish criminal history reporting information, it would be wise of you to consult an experienced health care attorney to provide advice and consultation through this process. If you would like a free no obligation consultation, please contact Jeff Howell at the law firm of JEFFREY S. HOWELL, P.A., Attorneys at Law at 850-877-7776.

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