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Are you being investigated as a respiratory therapist for failing to report a conviction of a crime to the board within 30 days of that conviction?

October 11, 2016
Est read time: 4 minutes

Have you received an administrative complaint against your respiratory therapist license for failing to report a conviction of a crime to the board within 30 days of that conviction? If you have, it is very important that you contact an experienced health care attorney to go over the charges. These charges are serious and can have a negative impact on your license and your ability to practice as a physical therapist in Florida.

The Law

The law states that disciplinary action can be taken against your license failing to report a conviction of a crime to the board within 30 days of that conviction. Florida law on point here is Florida Statute 468.365(1)(x). The statute says the following in particular:

 

(1) The following acts constitute grounds for denial of a license or disciplinary action, as specified in s. 456.072(2):

 

(x) Violating any provision of this chapter or chapter 456, or any rules adopted pursuant thereto.

 
Chapter 456.072(1)(x) says the following:
(1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which the disciplinary actions specified in subsection (2) may be taken:
(x) Failing to report to the board, or the department if there is no board, in writing within 30 days after the licensee has been convicted or found guilty of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction. Convictions, findings, adjudications, and pleas entered into prior to the enactment of this paragraph must be reported in writing to the board, or department if there is no board, on or before October 1, 1999.

 

 

There is a statutory requirement here that within 30 days of you being convicted or found guilty of a crime, or pleading no contest to a crime, you must report that conviction or plea to the Board of Respiratory Care. It does not matter if adjudication has been withheld or not. It also does not matter what jurisdiction it was in; any will do, including other states. If you do not report this to the board within 30 days, you could be subject to discipline. Even if you had this happen to you before October 1, 1999, you must report it to the board. If you have had complaints made against your license for violation of this statute, you should contact an experienced health care attorney immediately to go over your options. There can be severe repercussions for you if you wait.

Penalties

There are a range of actions that can be taken against you should the Board of Respiratory Care decide to take disciplinary action against you. The penalties you could face are found in the Disciplinary Guidelines for the Board of Physical Therapy, particularly in Rule 64B32-5.001 in the Florida Administrative Code. The rule states the following for disciplinary guidelines for violation of the statute:
FIRST OFFENSE:
From reprimand to six months suspension and a fine from
$300 to $1,000.

 

SECOND OFFENSE:
From one year probation with conditions to revocation with
no ability to reapply and a fine from $1,000 to $10,000.
For a firsts offense, you could face a reprimand, all the way up to 6 months suspension and a fine from $300 to $1,000. Your license could be suspended for a first offense. This is serious. For a second offense, you could face 1 year probation with conditions, all the way to revocation with no ability to reapply a fine from $1,000 to $10,000. Your license to practice could be revoked for a second offense. Not only that, but for a second offense, the board could prevcent you from reapplying for licensure again. You should also be aware that these are guidelines that the board should follow in handing out discipline, but are not set in stone, and can be accompanied by other penalties or deviated from. These penalties can be found in Florida Statute 456.072(2), which you should review with your health care attorney.

Aggravating/Mitigating Circumstances

The board hearing your case can take into account various factors that could affect the discipline you receive. These factors are called aggravating and mitigating circumstances. Aggravating circumstances are factors that can hurt your case. If aggravating circumstances are proven you could face harsher penalties. Mitigating circumstances are factors that can help your case. If mitigating circumstances are proven you could face lesser penalties. These factors can also be found in rule 64B32-5.001 in the Florida Administrative Code. If either side can prove with clear and convincing evidence the aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the discipline you face could be altered by the board. Here are the factors:

(2) The range of disciplinary penalties which the Board may impose includes any and all set forth in Section 456.072, F.S., unless the conduct to be disciplined falls within the purview of Section 456.0635, F.S., in which case the Board shall impose the penalty specified in Section 456.0635, F.S. In determining the appropriate disciplinary action to be imposed in each case, the Board shall take into consideration the following factors:
(a) The danger to the public;
(b) The length of time since the date of the violation;
(c) The number of previous disciplinary cases filed against the applicant or licensee;
(d) The length of time the applicant or licensee has practiced;
(e) The actual damage, physical or otherwise, to the patient;
(f) The deterrent effect of the penalty imposed;
(g) The effect of the penalty upon the applicant’s or licensee’s livelihood;
(h) Any efforts for rehabilitation;
(i) Any other mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

The board can take into account any of these factors, or other factors, in your hearing. The board can deviate from the standard disciplinary guidelines if they find that any of these aggravating or mitigating circumstances exist. These are very important factors that you should discuss with your health care attorney.

Conclusion

If you are a licensed health care professional in Florida and have received an administrative complaint for violation of the statutes, you are probably concerned about how this may affect your license. To set up a FREE no obligation consultation with Jeff Howell contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong, Attorneys at Law at 850-877-7776. We represent licensed health care professionals and facilities statewide, including out of state clients who are concerned about the status of their Florida license

Have Questions? Let's Talk

Contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong at 850-877-7776 to set up a FREE no-obligation consultation. Our firm represents physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other licensed professionals statewide.
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