Facing criminal charges can be frightening for anyone. However, if you are a doctor, being accused of a crime takes on heightened importance. Not only is your freedom at risk, but you also face the possibility of your medical license being suspended, restricted, or revoked if you are convicted of a criminal offense.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with committing a crime, time is of the essence if you want to save your medical license. An attorney with successful experience with medical license and criminal defense cases can help protect your Florida medical license and your future, especially if he intervenes early on your behalf. Call Attorney Jonathan Rose today at 407-894-4555 or submit the “Tell Us What Happened” form on our website to get the help you need from an experienced Florida license defense attorney for doctors.
Pathways to Criminal Charges for a Doctor
As a doctor, you could wind up facing criminal charges in one of two ways. The first involves a state or federal law enforcement agency engaging in an independent investigation in which you are a target. Depending on the criminal offense(s) (e.g., Medicare fraud, illegal prescribing of drugs) involved and the agency conducting the investigation, you may or may not be made aware that an investigation is underway.
The second pathway to facing criminal charges begins with a complaint filed against you with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). The FDOH will review the complaint to determine if it warrants an investigation by the Prosecution Services Unit (PSU). If the PSU decides that the complaint should be referred to state or federal prosecutors, you could wind up being charged with a criminal offense.
Understanding What Is at Stake If a Doctor Is Charged with a Crime
When a doctor is formally charged with committing a criminal offense, he/she faces the same judicial penalties as any other defendant if convicted. For example, if you are convicted of violating the federal anti-kickback statute you will have a felony conviction and face up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000. If you are convicted of Medicare fraud, you could be fined up to $250,00, sentenced to a prison term up to 10 years.
However, unlike other defendants charged with a felony, you could also face the suspension or revocation of your medical license and other possible penalties, such as being excluded from CMS programs, even if you are not convicted. In other words, if you are a physician, a criminal charge threatens your freedom, your financial security, and your future.
What Can I Do to Save My Medical License?
It can be very frightening to realize that you are the target of a criminal investigation; however, the worst thing you can do as a doctor who is facing criminal charges is to do nothing. On the contrary, the key to saving a medical license is often found in swift and decisive action on the part of a doctor facing criminal charges. The following steps should be taken if you are a doctor and you have reason to believe you are being investigated for, or have already been charged with, a crime:
- Review letters/documents immediately. If the federal government is conducting an investigation, you may receive a “target letter” informing you of the nature of the investigation. Likewise, if a complaint filed against you has been referred to the Department of Health’s Prosecution Services Unit, you may be notified of the nature of the complaint. Do not ignore letters, notifications, or other documents you receive relating to a criminal investigation.
- Do not respond without an attorney. Whether you receive a target letter asking you to appear before a Grand Jury, a notification of a complaint asking for documents, or a telephone call asking you to contact a detective, do not respond without first consulting with an attorney. Do not ignore the requests – but always protect yourself by seeking advice and guidance from a knowledgeable attorney.
- Do not attempt to hide or destroy evidence. It can be tempting to hide or destroy potentially incriminating evidence when facing criminal prosecution. Do not give in to that temptation. There is a good chance that the authorities will uncover your actions, which could lead to additional criminal charges. Moreover, what you believe to be incriminating evidence could, in fact, turn out to be exculpatory evidence after you discuss the evidence with an attorney.
- Consult with an experienced medical license defense attorney. Consult with an experienced medical license defense attorney the moment you have reason to believe criminal charges have been filed or could be filed, against you. You have constitutional rights as a defendant in a criminal prosecution, as well as procedural rights that apply to disciplinary action taken against your medical license. The sooner an experienced medical license defense attorney is involved, the better your chances are of saving your medical license.
Often, the early stage of an investigation is the best time to potentially prevent criminal charges from being filed against you. An experienced medical license defense attorney can intervene early in your case and hopefully help you avoid being charged altogether.
Contact an Experienced Florida Medical License Defense Attorney
If you are a doctor who is facing criminal charges, it is crucial that you do everything possible to prevent a conviction and save your medical license. To do that, you need an experienced medical license defense attorney on your side as soon as possible.
Criminal prosecutions involving doctors are often complex cases, both factually and legally. Attorney Jonathan Rose has the experience, resources, and dedication needed to help protect you and your license to practice medicine. Contact Attorney Jonathan Rose today by calling 407-894-4555 or filling out the “Tell Us What Happened” form on our website.