Regardless of your position, the truth is that anyone can find themselves in legal trouble. Just like anyone, doctors can get into domestic violence situations, nurses can be accused of stealing prescription medications, lawyers are no strangers to DUIs, and an accountant could be arrested for theft. These situations are serious for anyone, but in addition to possible jail time and the other criminal consequences, licensed professionals also need to worry about the negative impact to their careers.

If you have questions about what you need to disclose to a Pennsylvania licensing board or are concerned about the impact an arrest will have on your license, call Pennsylvania professional license defense lawyer Michael Fienman at (215) 839-9529 to schedule a consultation.

Types of Charges to Disclose

When a licensed professional is charged with a crime, one of their first questions asked is understandably, “Will this affect my license?” In most cases, the professional would need to consider if the offense is related to their occupation. For example, if your license involves access to confidential information or clients’ money, a theft or fraud charge can certainly lead to sanctions. For other charges, this may be easier said than done. While you may believe that a DUI charge is embarrassing and troubling, it should not reflect poorly on you as a healthcare professional. However, the Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs will likely initiate an investigation since a DUI could show irresponsibility or a substance abuse issue, inappropriate for a medical professional.

Some licensing authorities in Pennsylvania have stricter regulations than others when it comes to disclosing a pending charge or past convictions. All become aware of these situations through various sources. For instance, the state Board of Nursing requires that pending criminal charges and criminal convictions MUST be reported within 30 days of the action. In other cases, a licensing authority may learn about your charges once you are fingerprinted following an arrest because it is a matter of public record.

There is often a compulsion for licensed professions to try and conceal a criminal charge instead of self-reporting. Unfortunately, if the board discovers this, not only will you face disciplinary action (especially if you are convicted), but you will also likely receive harsh punishment for trying to hide the charge. Remember, a criminal charge is not a conviction and it is best to disclose it, after consultation with counsel, rather than to deal with the repercussions that follow for concealing the matter. 

To help provide some guidance, below is a sampling, not an exhaustive list, of professions and the charges you will need to disclose: 

  • Physicians – Any felony or serious misdemeanor offense, particularly any crime related to drugs, sexual misconduct, DUI, fraud, and theft.
  • Accounting & Financial Professionals– Any felony charges or misdemeanor related to fraud, theft, or dishonesty.
  • Nurses – Any felony or misdemeanor charges, related to drugs, sexual misconduct, DUI, fraud, and theft.
  • Dentists – Any felony or other charges related to drugs, DUI and sexual misconduct.
  • Attorneys – Felonies and other charges related to fraud, dishonesty, drugs or moral turpitude.

***Please note that this is not meant to be a comprehensive list and is subject to change depending on the particular licensing agency. If you are facing charges, you should consult an attorney with criminal licensure defense experience.***

Why It’s important to Have the Right Attorney

Licensed professionals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey often make the mistake of not taking these matters seriously or believe that their respective licensing board will allow some time and flexibility to deal with difficult situations. After all, you’ve dedicated much of your life to this industry and the boards are comprised of your colleagues. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case and how you handle criminal charges from the beginning will be crucial to preserving your ability to practice and protect your license.

By working with a defense lawyer who not only knows how to handle the criminal aspects of your case, but also the various state licensing boards, you can obtain an outcome that best serves your long-term interests. A standard criminal defense attorney may know how to facilitate a plea that involves probation and treatment in a drug possession case, but probably won’t realize what effect entering treatment will have on your license or if you will be permitted to continue practicing while on probation.

Some professionals try to handle their board’s disciplinary process on their own, but these are complex administrative hearings that do not conform to traditional court rules. Additionally, in their effort to show cooperation, many professionals say too much and there is a real danger of incriminating yourself when a board representative asks you seemingly innocuous questions concerning your case.

Contact Fienman Defense

Not every attorney is equipped to handle the complexities of the defending you in criminal court as well as in front of an administrative panel, convened to determine the fate of your career. It takes a skilled attorney with an in-depth knowledge of how both operate and what it takes to secure a positive outcome.

When you’re charged with a crime, your professional credentials are also at stake, so nothing should be left to chance. With an impressive track record for defending various licensed professionals across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, attorney Michael Fienman knows how these state regulatory agencies operate, what they consider, and how to present your case to the panel that will adjudicate your case. We’ll begin by getting to know you, every detail of the issues affecting your license, and will zealously pursue an outcome that keeps your career and reputation intact.

Call Fienman Defense at (215) 839-9529 and personally discuss your situation with a dedicated Pennsylvania professional license defense attorney.

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