Fighting For Your Rights Since 1999

Defense of Doctors and Medical Professionals

Because of their profession, medical professionals adhere to a strict code regarding the use of alcohol and controlled substances. Licensing boards must ensure that licensees are not abusing their access to medication. Diverting medication from its intended use is a severe violation. Moreover, a medical professional who is under the influence is a danger to a patient. Even OWI arrests can cause consequences in this field.

Medical professionals include:

● Doctors

● Surgeons

● Dentists

● Nurses

● Nurse Practitioners

● Pharmacists

● Physicians

● Physician’s Assistant

● Veterinarian

As a profession that takes an oath to do no harm, assaultive conduct is also viewed as highly reprehensible. Avoiding a conviction for these common offenses can make a difference between a valid license and a suspended one.

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

Impact: A conviction for drunk driving is an early indicator of a potential substance abuse issue. While a conviction may not trigger life-altering consequences, it’s important to consult with someone who can direct you to the best possible counselor. Taking control of any potential substance abuse issue will satisfy LARA while also ensuring no future convictions. However, a second OWI will lead to a loss of your driver’s license and possibly your medical license.

Penalties: Up to 93 days in jail for the first offense, $300 - 500 fine, plus costs. License sanctions depending on the conviction. Probation with drug/alcohol testing. Substance abuse counseling.

Domestic Violence

Impact: Any assaultive conduct is a red flag for someone who works closely with the public. Potential professional licensing sanctions may result depending on the facts of the case and the ultimate conviction. The odds of LARA involvement increase if you were under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances at the time.

Penalties: Up to 93 days in jail for a first offense. Additionally, some form of counseling and/or anger management may be ordered. If alcohol or controlled substances are involved, random testing will occur for those substances. Additionally, you will be barred from accessing a firearm.

Possession of a Controlled Substance

Impact: For a medical professional, this is an incredibly devastating offense. The future of your professional license will be in jeopardy if the controlled substance you were in possession of was diverted from it’s intended medical purpose. This will always require reporting to LARA, and enrollment in a substance abuse program is highly advised.

Penalties: Most possession of controlled substances cases will result in felony charges. The penalty can vary between two years and decades in prison. This is especially relevant due to a medical professional’s access to controlled substances. Your attorney can advise you of the possible penalties related to the specific substance involved.

In order to avoid the most severe penalties from licensing boards, licensees should voluntarily seek out substance abuse treatment. This may take the form of AA/NA meetings or outpatient counseling. For more severe cases, LARA will favorably view a licensee’s participation in the Health Professionals Recovery Program (HPRP). Either way, this is all manageable if an experienced law firm provides assistance.

Knowing Your Rights

You have the right to a competent and effective defense. Often times, professionals allow themselves to be pushed around for fear of losing their license. However, defending yourself from criminal charges is the best way to avoid sanctions from a licensing board.

Even if your case is dismissed, many licensing bodies may still require arrest reports. If your offense involves controlled substances or alcohol, you must address the underlying issues surrounding your arrest.

Hiring a law firm to guide you from arrest to recovery is the most important decision you can make. While you will never be penalized for exercising your rights, neglecting to exercise these rights could mean the end of your professional license.

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