IF YOU ARE CONVICTED OF A CRIME AND YOU HOLD A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE, YOUR CAREER MAY BE IN JEOPARDY.
Are you a nurse or are you licensed professionally? You may have special reporting duties that other people do not because of your licensure. If you are convicted of certain crimes like possession of marijuana or a DUI, your license—your very career—may be in jeopardy. And if you fail to report such a conviction to the State, you could be in even more trouble.
Professional Licenses and Criminal Charges: Macomb County Criminal Defense Lawyer
No matter what type of professional license you hold or what crime you’ve been charged with or convicted of, you shouldn’t try and maneuver the legal maze on your own. You need an experienced and dedicated attorney who knows the law, the courts, and where, when, and how to file a notice with LARA.
Goran Antovski is Michigan Justice’s lead criminal defense attorney. He has handled many cases for and with the Macomb County Prosecutor’s office. He now uses his unique knowledge in an effort to secure the best possible representation and outcomes for his clients. If you’re facing any criminal charge in Michigan or Macomb County, or if you’ve already been convicted and need help reporting to LARA or your disciplinary committee, please contact Michigan Justice and Attorney Goran Antovski at (586) 221-4100.
Reporting Your Conviction: It’s the Law
So, you’ve been convicted of a crime (or you’ll be convicted soon enough). What does that mean for your career if you’re a licensed healthcare professional? Well, first of all, Michigan’s Public Health Code requires that you report any criminal conviction within 30 days of the “conviction date” to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The “conviction date” is the date when judgement is entered by the court—it is not the sentencing date, which can sometimes be days, weeks, or months later, (and by then you’ll have missed the 30-day deadline for self-reporting).
The law makes no distinction between reporting a misdemeanor or a felony, though LARA (and healthcare employers) are especially attentive to misdemeanors like DUI’s and marijuana possession because these crimes are more common than felonies and they illustrate a “lack of good moral character” and are “reasonably related to or adversely affect the licensee’s or registrant’s ability to practice in a safe and competent manner.” MCL 333.16221(a)(vi) & (xi).
Failure to “self-report” a conviction can lead to a fine, probation, reprimand, and other sanctions—and these penalties are in addition to the board’s disciplinary measures you will face because of the underlying conviction. Also, it should be noted that if you do fail to self-report, there’s a good chance LARA will know about the conviction anyway, as the courts are also required to file a notice informing LARA each time a healthcare professional is convicted of any felony (and certain misdemeanors).
Which Licensed Health Professionals are Subject to Reporting?
Athletic Trainer Chiropractor
Counselor Dentist, Hygienist, RDA
Dietitian or Nutritionist Marriage & Family Therapist
Massage Therapist Nursing Home Administrator
Occupational Therapist, OTA Optometrist
Physician: MD and DO Pharmacist
Physical Therapist Physician’s Assistant
Respiratory Therapist Sanitarian
Speech/Language Pathologist Social Worker Nurse: RN and LPN
The Disciplinary Subcommittee’s Administrative Powers
Up to this point, we’ve talked about the duty to self-report and the consequences of failing to do so. But what happens once you’ve reported the conviction to LARA?
After obtaining a reported conviction, LARA will inform the appropriate licensing board. Each licensing board has its own disciplinary subcommittee. These disciplinary subcommittees, based on a licensee’s conviction, have the power to impose sanctions, fines, probation, suspension, denial of license renewal, and permanent revocation. Unfortunately, many employers will terminate an employee who has been disciplined and finding new work with a “black mark” on your record can be very difficult. Still, it may not be the end of the road for your career, and a good lawyer can make an impact on the board’s disciplinary decision which, in turn, could help your future job prospects. Therefore, it’s critical that you retain a competent attorney as soon as possible if you’re a licensed professional and you’ve been charged with a crime.
Convictions and Employment at Federally Funded Facilities
In addition to Michigan’s self-reporting requirements and licensing boards’ powers to discipline professionals, the State also has rules that punish employees (licensed or not) if they have been convicted of certain crimes and work in federally funded healthcare facilities, called “covered facilities.”
It works like this: Every hospital is federally funded; since the federal government is contributing money to these hospitals, the “feds” can require background checks on hospital employees, and based on your criminal history, you may be fired or otherwise excluded from employment at these facilities. The relevant law says that “a covered facility shall not employ, independently contract with, or grant clinical privileges to an individual who regularly has direct access to or provides direct services to patients or residents in the covered facility” if they are convicted of any of the crimes listed under this law.
The list of crimes under this provision is extensive too, and it includes misdemeanors such as possession or delivery of a controlled substance (which includes marijuana), assault, criminal sexual conduct, abuse and neglect, home invasion, embezzlement, larceny, and shoplifting. Felonies listed include the use of a firearm or dangerous weapon, felony criminal sexual conduct, abuse, neglect, the diversion or adulteration of a prescription drug or other medications (or any felony related to health care fraud), “any felony that involves the intent to cause death or serious impairment of a body function, that results in death or serious impairment of a body function, that involves the use of force or violence, or that involves the threat of the use of force or violence.” MCL 333.20173a(1)(b)(i).
The law also prescribes certain exclusionary time-frames for employment based on the crime committed. The exclusionary period is tied directly to the crime’s severity. So, for example, if you are convicted of felony criminal sexual conduct, you would be unable to work at a covered facility for 15 years after you satisfactorily completed “all conditions of sentencing, parole, and probation for that conviction.” So, if you did everything you were supposed to do under your sentencing (prison time, parole, etc.), and then 15 years went by, you could then apply for a healthcare job at a covered facility. Other time frames are shorter: a misdemeanor involving abuse or neglect excludes you for 10 years; a misdemeanor home invasion conviction excludes you from employment at a covered facility for 5 years; and a misdemeanor third-degree shoplifting conviction will exclude you for 3 years. Again, the exclusionary period is tied to the crime’s severity, and it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time applying for a healthcare job, or if you are trying to get back into healthcare again after a conviction—the time-frame is still the same based on the crime committed.
Macomb County, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney: Help with Professional Licenses and Criminal Charges in Macomb County and throughout Southeastern Michigan is Available
If you’re professionally licensed or work in a hospital and you are facing criminal charges in Michigan or Macomb County, please contact Michigan Justice and Attorney Goran Antovski at (586) 221-4100. Your career, your reputation, and your way of life could be at stake. It is critical that you have an experienced and dedicated lawyer ready to protect your rights and your freedom.