DUI Charges and Prescription Medications

This holiday season parties will be plenty, alcohol will be flowing, and prescription medications will be taken. The day before Thanksgiving has been rated as the highest DUI arrest days in the county.  The driving under the influence problems arrests stemming from doctor prescribed medications, purchased at a pharmacy, and legally possessed and ingested, are rising.  They also count as a DUI the same as a DUI from alcohol. Whether combined or not with alcohol, these medication can still render you incapable of safe driving and guilty of DUI.

This happened to Ms. Graham on August 1, 2012.  In a Butler County in the Commonwealth Pennsylvania, Ms. Graham was driving too slow for the road conditions and was pulled over for investigation by a 16 year police veteran, knowledgeable of the signs and symptoms of individuals driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He concluded that Ms. Graham was unable to operate her motor vehicle safely as a result of an actual or physical impairment, and arrested her for alleged DUI.

Ms. Graham was charged with violating 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 3802(A)(1) and (D)(3). Subsection (D)(3) focuses on individuals operating or in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle under the combined influence of alcohol and a drug or combination of drugs to a degree which appears the individual’s ability to operate ability to safely drive, operate or be an actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle.

Ms. Graham went to trial. The officer testified that he observed Ms. Graham’s vehicle traveling below the speed limit and take evasive action in the road when the conditions were dry, clear and nothing was in the roadway requiring any type of invasive action. After initiating a traffic stop and approaching the vehicle, it appeared that Ms. Graham was talking on her phone and did not acknowledge him. Ms. Graham then “fumbled” around her wallet looking for her license and registration, but continued to speak on the phone.

Her eyes were bloodshot, glassy, and her speech was slow and slurred. The officer asked Ms. Graham what, if anything, she drank that evening. She voluntarily answered that she did not drink alcohol but that she did take her prescribed medications of Celexa, HydroPam, and Vistaril.  She stated the medications were prescribed for her depression and bipolar disorders. Ms. Graham refused the to submit to a blood draw, acknowledging there would be evidence of her medications in her blood.

The Commonwealth closed is case arguing that the officer’s observations and her failure on three field sobriety tests was insufficient evidence upon which the jury could find her guilty of violating § 3802(d)(3), operating the motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs in any combination. Significantly, the Commonwealth did not present expert testimony as to the medical effect of Ms. Graham’s admitted prescriptions on individual of her height and size.

In sum, the Commonwealth evidence was only the police officer’s testimony.  It did not present evidence of any blood or alcohol tests suggesting the presence of any medication or alcohol in Ms. Graham’s body.  Ms. Graham’s admission of drug ingestion was the only evidence of such.  The officer did testify about his observations of Ms. Graham’s physical demeanor on the night in question. The Commonwealth did not qualify him as an expert, but as a layperson with significant experience in these matters.

The jury found Ms. Graham guilty of violating 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3802(d)(3), driving under the influence of drugs that rendered her incapable of safe driving. Ms. Graham filed a petition for judgment of acquittal, asking the trial court to vacate the jury’s verdict, arguing the Commonwealth did not present sufficient evidence at the time of trial to meet its burden of proof. The trial court agreed.

The Commonwealth appealed to Superior Court, which reversed on November 26, 2013. Commonwealth v Graham, 2013 Pa.Super.306 (Pa. Super 2013).   Superior court rested its decision on the seminal case of Commonwealth v. Griffith, 32 A.3d 1231(Pa. 2011).  In Griffith the parties introduced no expert testimony as to the pharmacological properties of the drugs that the defendant ingested whether any of the drugs could have impaired the defendants ability to safely drive or call whether a combination of the drugs could have impaired the defendants ability to safely drive.  The Supreme Court stated the focus of Section 3802(d)(2) is not upon the type of evidence introduced, but upon whether the totality of the evidence proved to a  jury or fact finder that the defendant’s inability to drive safely “was the result of the influence of a drug or combination of drugs.”

The Graham Court then applied the law of Griffith to the facts of the case and expressly held that the evidence (an experienced police officer closely observed [the defendant’s] behavior, demeanor, unsteadiness, and inability to perform field sobriety tests, all of which led him to request laboratory tests for the detection of controlled substances in [the defendant’s] blood and the defendant’s admission to taking prescription medications) was sufficient to support the defendant’s conviction for driving under the influence of a drug or combination of drugs.

The lesson from both of these cases is to not talk or say anything incriminating to the police officer who stops you for a traffic stop.  Do not admit, acknowledge, suggest, explain, or answer any questions regarding any prescription medication ingestion. These are incriminating questions seeking answers or blurt outs that will be used against you. The police officer will put in his police report every word you utter regarding your medication use.

Consequently, if you refuse the blood test, to which you are allowed, the only evidence of drug use will be your own words. Admissions or tacit statements saying “I took my prescribed medications for…” or “Here is the medication I took, I have a prescription for this…” will be used against you. The mere fact that you are driving and the officer believes these medications rendered you incapable of safe driving is the problem.  Once you admit to taking the medication, the fact finder may consider that fact as the basis to for the officer’s description of your “odd” behavior during the traffic stop.

The Laws in the Commonwealth of Pa do not require the police to introduce an expert to testify how the medication affects the ability to drive, just that you took the medication and the office can testify how you actually were driving. It is then for the fact finder or Jury to decide if you were unable to operate a motor vehicle safely or you were incapable due to the effects of your medication.

So do not admit to taking any medication for any medical condition.  Call me about your case.

Holiday Financial Problems and your Professional License

Every year, the holiday time brings joy and financial difficulty. If you are a licensee with access to clients’ private residences, personal effects, and property, taking advantage of that access in an illegal way will cause you to lose your license. Stealing from infirm, disabled, or elderly clients to support a holiday life style, have gifts for your family, or pay utility bills is an unforgivable offense.

In these cases, typically video monitoring, family complaints, or client reporting triggers police investigations, criminal charges, and court appearances. Ultimately, you could be charged with theft by unlawful taking or disposition, a violation of 18 Pa. C.S. § 3921(a), and receiving stolen property, a violation of 18 Pa. C.S. § 3925(a).

Whether a licensee receives ARD (pre-trial probation without a verdict or guilty plea) or probation after a guilty plea, the licensing Boards take a hard look at these cases. It important to understand why. A similar disciplinary provision in each Board’s regulatory scheme, 63 P.S. §§ 666(a)(3), (4) and (8) , provides:
(a) The board may refuse, suspend or revoke any license in any case where the board shall find, that the licensee
(3) Has willfully or repeatedly violated any of the provisions of this act or of the regulations of the board;
(4) Has committed fraud or deceit in the practice of practical nursing or in securing his or her admission to such practice or to practical nursing school;
(8) Has been guilty of unprofessional conduct or such conduct as to require a suspension or revocation in the public interest ….
If you are not charged with a criminal offense, the Board investigators will investigate the cases, and the prosecutors may charge a violation of 49 Pa. Code § 21.148(b)(4), which provides: “a licensed practical nurse may not … [m]isappropriate equipment, materials, property, drugs or money from an employer or patient.”

Typically the hearing officer who conducts the hearing on behalf of the Board, which accepts the hearing officer’s case decision can still reject the agreed upon sanction. That can occur for any number of reasons. However, involving an attorney in these matters early and quickly is important.
In one case, a licensee admitted that even as a hard working nurse making good money, she was desperate to provide for her family, and did take the money from her patient in order to pay her electric bill. In this case, the Board found that the licensee, although admitted into ARD and the matter was expunged before her next reporting date, did violate the sacred trust that patients place in their caregivers, and that violation is exacerbated by Licensee’s actions which constituted elder abuse. The Board determined that the licensee took advantage of her elderly patient for her own financial gain.

Under professional licensing statutes such as the [Act], the Board is charged with the responsibility and authority to oversee the profession and to regulate and license professionals to protect the public health and safety. Barran v. State Bd. of Med., 670 A.2d 765 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996)]. The Board did agree with the hearing examiner that [Licensee’s] conduct was willful and did breach the fundamental element of trust, which in turn taints the nursing profession. The Board however, concluded that the [Licensee’s] conduct is deserving of a more substantial sanction, than determined by the hearing officer, to protect the public health and safety.

The Licensee strenuously argued that her expunged record precluded any use of the criminal record in the disciplinary proceedings. Citing the Criminal History Record Information Act, 18 Pa. C.S. §§ 9101-83, (the criminal code provision allowing for expungments) Licensee contended the Board erred in relying on an expunged offense as the basis for its disciplinary action. Licensee’s criminal record was expunged in April 2008. Licensee thus asserts the Board’s November 2008 order violated 18 Pa. C.S. § 9124 (relating to use of records by licensing agencies). Licensee argues the Board’s revocation order is based on the hearing examiner’s August 2007 findings and conclusions, which cited Licensee’s criminal record. Thus Licensee asserts the Board violated 18 Pa. C.S. § 9124(b) and her right to be free from the difficulties and hardships of a criminal record. See Commonwealth v. Butler, 448 Pa. Super. 582, 672 A.2d 806 (Pa. Super. 1996) (arrest record can be harmful to an individual’s reputation and opportunities for advancement in life).

However, because the licensee was not represented at the hearing or failed to properly answer the original Board pleadings citing to the criminal record, the Board found that the licensee waived this argument by failing to raise it either in her answer to the order to show cause or at any time before the Board’s final order. Pa. R.A.P. 1551(a). In addition, the licensee did not file a brief on exceptions challenging the hearing examiner’s proposed adjudication. Issues not raised in exceptions to the Board’s proposed adjudication are considered waived. 1 Pa. Code § 35.213; Mostatab v. State Bd. of Dentistry, 881 A.2d 1271 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005). See also Kindle v. State Bd. of Nursing Exam’rs, 512 Pa. 44, 515 A.2d 1342 (1986) (defense of laches must be raised at administrative level or it is waived).

Nonetheless, the Board alternatively argued that even without the criminal record, it could still find that the licensee committed fraud or deceit in the practice of nursing, engaged in unprofessional conduct and willfully violated a Board regulation. This conclusion may have been made by the licensee’ unrepresented factual admissions to an investigator, licensee’s testimony, or answers to the pleadings that while on duty, licensee committed theft by taking $ 125 from an elderly patient’s wallet. From these admissions, the Court ruled that the Board did not charge licensee with violating the Act due to her criminal conviction, but based upon the factual admissions of misconduct on the date in question.

The lessons learned from the cases is simple. Make sure you have counsel as soon as a work place investigation begins to properly protect your legal rights, don’t say anything stupid to a state investigator, and hire counsel that is aware of the pit falls of the factual allegation, pleadings, and presenting certain testimony at the hearing before the hearing officer. The proper framing of the case and what evidence is introduced into the record, upon which the formal Board will rely when agreeing to or modifying certain sanction, is important. Every step in the process is similar to a slow moving chess game. If you or your counsel does not know how to play the game of chess, you will be outwitted, out smarted, and lose your license.

Please call to discuss your case, any pending criminal matters, and the status of the license investigation.

Automobile Warrantless Searches and the Exclusionary Rules

Sometimes crazy things happen on the way to surrendering to federal prison. A recent case discusses issues a convicted federal felon confronted when he chose to not surrender but flee to the New Mexico border. When U.S. Marshals found him sitting in his car in the parking lot of a border motel, strange search and seizure constitutional violations of his hotel room and car began to take place. I am sure many of these search techniques are utilized daily.

The case is U.S. v. Donahue, out of the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The searches of his hotel room and car were incident to his arrest for failing to report to federal prison as ordered. However, at the suppression hearing, it was discovered that upon Donahue’s detention near his car, U.S. Marshal searches of Donahue’s car and hotel room were pursuant to instruction for a Scranton, Pa U.S. Marshal, not investigative in nature.

Importantly, the Court determined that the U.S. Marshal’s office in Pennsylvania authorized a search of Mr. Donahue’s car. An inventory search of the car was performed one day later by the New Mexico FBI office. It is at that time a gun was found. Donahue moved to suppress the search of his vehicle aiming to not be convicted of being a federal felon in possession of a firearm.

Donahue argued 1) he had standing to move to suppress the illegal car search as he was a permissive user of the car, 2) the searches were illegal because they were not pursuant to either a warrant or probable cause of criminal activity, 3) there were no exigent circumstances present allowing for the warrantless search of his car, and 4) the inevitable discovery doctrine regarding inventory searches was equally inapplicable.

The government argued that Mr. Donahue had stolen the car and therefore did not possess standing to seek to suppress the evidence. Thereafter, the government argued that the search was pursuant to a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity (a federal felon not reporting for prison), and even if there was no probable cause, FBI search procedures of vehicles impounded pursuant to criminal investigations warranted application of the inevitable discovery doctrine.

As the car was being inventoried, seats were moved and the gun was found underneath. My experience with these cases and the law addressing propriety of U.S. Marshall, FBI, and state police officers searching and inventory tactics is expansive. This case presents clear overreaching by government investigative measures and on the scene search techniques.  The governmental attorneys failed in their attempt to masquerade the search as a legal on the scene warrantless search or policy driven inventory search.

First the court addressed Donahue’s standing to contest the car search. The Court found that the vehicle was not stolen. The government cited a psychiatrist report stating Mr. Donahue stole the vehicle. The defendant presented vehicle owner testimony whom provided authority to operate the vehicle. As such, Mr. Donahue had standing to contest the search of his vehicle.

Having standing to object to the search, Mr. Donahue then contested the government’s search of his vehicle without a warrant. The Fourth Amendment guarantees that: “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” U.S. Const. amend IV. “What is reasonable depends upon all of the circumstances surrounding the search or seizure and the nature of the search or seizure itself. The automobile exception to the warrant requirement requires the search occur on a readily mobile car for which exigent circumstances present itself.

The government argued that because Mr. Donahue was a convicted felon who did not surrendered to prison, the car was the instrumentality of that crime and thus the warrantless vehicle search was proper . The same argument applied to the hotel room. The court expressly disagreed, citing the elements of the offense of failing to report to prison as a formal court order and failing to be present at the federal prison on the date and time identified. There is no requirement in the statute that the defendant be in a house, hotel room, or car. As such, searching Mr. Donahue’s hotel room or car did not present a fair probability that evidence of the crime (failure report to prison) would be discovered. Hence, the car and hotel room searches without a warrant were illegal.

Having determined that the search of the car illegal, the government argued that the government was still permitted inventory the contents of the car for the purposes of further investigative reasons. The court disagreed with this position as well. Because the car was searched based upon U.S. Marshal instruction and not FBI investigative procedures, the government’s argument was contrary to the evidence.  As such, there was no basis to inventory the items in the vehicle or apply the inevitable discovery doctrine. All evidence secured from the initial illegal search was therefore precluded and determined to be inadmissible.  The gun was suppressed and any additional criminal charges of a felon possessing a firearm while failing to report to prison would have to be dismissed.

Please call me to discuss your case.

Multiple License Holders and Multiple Prosecutions

Today I am confronted with the issue of whether a professional possessing multiple licenses, who successfully defends a prosecution against one license,  may be prosecuted by a different Board which regulates a different license for the same infraction. The short answer is yes, and this blog will discuss how, why, and what to do when facing disciplinary action if you hold several licenses.

A professional’s multiple licenses, (Medical & Psychiatry)(Nursing & Automobile Sales)(Hair care and Nursing) for example, are administered by separate and independent boards. The level of discipline hand down by one Board does not bind another Board.  However, the legal predicates in the disciplinary complaint that form the basis for disciplinary action (the rules and what constitutes a violation of those rules) are, essentially, the same under each Board’s establish regulatory scheme.

As such, factual stipulations that satisfy a violation of one Board’s governing regulations will be employed against the licensee in second Board’s prosecutions.  The distinction between disciplinary action versus factual stipulation is important to understand. Agreements as to factual actions or occurrences (criminal acts, diversion, or impairment) are binding facts before one Board that will be used in separate prosecutions by each license Board. The simplest example of this discipline by a PA Board stemming from factual agreements entered into with another state’s professional Board based upon an independent prosecution in that jurisdiction. Pa uses the stipulated facts, but determines the discipline itself. See my other blogs on this issue.

As such, factual agreements and resolving one license issue must include consideration of how any agreed upon facts will affect all licenses held.  Many of my clients hold several licenses (both in state and out of state) as their career took off, they secured new license as a financial latter to climb towards financial independence. Hence, I always have concerns as to what facts and before what Board are agreed in resolving one disciplinary action in light of all licenses (in state or out of state) held.

In one case I have been reading, a licensed vehicle DEALER, participated in an odometer rollback scheme where he purchased high mileage, late model vehicles, which were cosmetically refurbished and the odometers rolled back to correspond with their lower mileage outward appearance. He was prosecuted and entered into a consent decree (1986 decree) with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, acting through the Office of Attorney General, resolving a complaint in equity filed against him.

Under the terms of the 1986 decree, the DEALER admitted to participating in the odometer rollback scheme, agreed to abide by the terms of the Consumer Protection Act, the State Odometer Act and the Federal Odometer Act, paid restitution/civil penalty in the amount of $ 25,000.00, agreed to cease business as a motor vehicle dealer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a period of two and one-half years, and finally agreed that if Petitioner should violate any of the above mentioned statutes, or act as a motor vehicle dealer during the period of prohibition, Petitioner would forfeit all Commonwealth of Pennsylvania licenses as a motor vehicle dealer and salesperson and could never re-apply for or accept any such licenses in the future. Petitioner, however, was permitted to continue to hold a vehicle salesperson’s LICENSE under the 1986 decree.

Two Years later, 1988, a separate Board issued an order to show cause alleging that Petitioner had violated Sections 10(2) and 10(13) of the Board of Vehicles Act, Act of December 22, 1983, P.L. 306, as amended, 63 P.S. §§ 818.10(2) and 818.10(13). The bases for the action of the Board were the actions admitted to by Petitioner in the 1986 decree. Following a hearing, the Board revoked Petitioner’s vehicle salesperson’s license and assessed a civil penalty. The licensee appealed.

The issue before the appellate court was whether the 1986 decree (allowing him to keep his license) prevented the Board from revoking Petitioner’s vehicle salesperson’s license and prevented the Board from imposing a civil penalty. The Court found that the License Board had separate authority than the Dealership Board and the action was permitted.

The Petitioner argued that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Commonwealth) is a monolithic form of government, and that by entering into the 1986 decree, it is forever barred from further action on the same set of facts, unless Petitioner violates the terms of the 1986 consent decree. The Court disagreed, stating that “one need only look at decisions of this court regarding sovereign immunity to learn that the court recognizes a distinction between the Commonwealth and its administrative agencies. Hall v. Acme Markets, Inc., 110 Pa.Commonwealth Ct. 199, 532 A.2d 894 (1987). The Commonwealth itself is absolutely immune from suit, 1 Pa.C.S. § 2310. This absolute immunity has been waived only where any commonwealth agency or employee thereof is a party, and then only with respect to an act within the scope of his or her office or employment. 42 Pa.C.S. § 8501; 42 Pa.C.S. § 8522(a).

In the present case, the court determined that the Automobile Dealers and License Board was not a party to the action in which the 1986 decree was entered, nor did the complaint which began the action charge any violation of the Board of Vehicles Act. Contrary to the assertions of the Petitioner, the 1986 decree had no res judicata effects on the action of the Board. As the supreme court said in Sabatine v. Commonwealth, 497 Pa. 453, 457-458, 442 A.2d 210, 212 (1981):

A consent decree, however, is not a legal determination of matters in controversy; it has the binding force of a legal determination on the parties thereto only. Zampetti v. Cavanaugh, 406 Pa. 259, 265, 176 A.2d 906, 909 (1962). It is a contract binding the parties to the terms thereof, and a court has neither the power nor the authority, absent fraud, accident or mistake, to modify its contents . . . .

The Court determined that the Commonwealth, however, was not a party, to the equity action brought by the Attorney General in the Unfair Trade and Practice Act, and thus was not bound by its resolution. Petitioner, in effect, is seeking to modify the consent decree by adding the Board as a party to the action, and including new charges, i.e. the violations of the Board of Vehicles Act. The Court rejected this argument.

More importantly, the Court held that the legislature has placed the responsibility of administering and enforcing the Board of Vehicles Act upon the Board, not the Office of Attorney General. While Petitioner may have agreed to forego acting as a vehicle DEALER, there was nothing in the 1986 decree to prohibit him from reactivating his vehicle dealer license, if a franchise were available. The Board is the only body authorized to suspend or revoke a license. If we were to accept the arguments of Petitioner, we would be undermining the authority of the Board to administer the Board of Vehicles Act uniformly, and violating the intent of the legislature because they placed such authority in the hands of the Board, not the Office of Attorney General.

The Boards look at each Board as an independent entity charged with a limited enforcement scope, thereby permitting multiple Boards to act after one Board secures factual and legal conclusions that will help all prosecuting attorneys discipline the multiple licensee.

Fighting and Reporting Out-of-State Discipline to Pennsylvania’s Licensing Boards

A consistent and significant problem in many Pennsylvania disciplinary licensing matters I handle involve professionals who mistakenly stipulate to discipline in another state and then mistakenly fail to report the discipline to Pennsylvania’s licensing board. The reporting must be done within ninety days of the final disposition of that matter. This is a statutory requirement and set forth at 60 P. S. §221.1.

Failing to report is huge disciplinary error easily avoided. Pennsylvania’s licensing boards (including Nursing, Medical, Pharmacy, Osteopathic, Automobile, Real Estate, Social Work, Marital Counseling, or Psychiatry) receive notification of disciplinary decisions from other jurisdictions based upon information provided in many traveling professional’s applications for a second or third state license.When a final disciplinary order is entered in another jurisdiction, that jurisdiction communicates to every state for which the licensee holds a license. Pennsylvania is typically one such jurisdiction because many professionals secured their first professional license here upon graduating from one of our many fine teaching institutions. Failing to report a discipline is easily discovered by, and the basis for discipline in, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

With regard to the factual basis of any disciplinary proceeding, I see the same mistake many times: inexperienced council or unrepresented professionals erroneously agree to discipline and sign agreements or stipulations unaware of how the terms of the agreements will affect a Pennsylvania licensee. To the inexperienced practitioner (attorney or professional), seasoned state disciplinary counsel seek and secure amazing factual stipulations that admit medical errors, professional incompetence, or drug and alcohol impairments. These factual stipulations are then linked to legal stipulations that satisfy each jurisdiction’s legal burdens for suspension, probation, or revocation of a license. Once this is done, discipline in Pennsylvania is inevitable.

After agreeing to certain facts and what may seem moderate discipline, a certified order of stipulated facts and discipline makes its way to Pennsylvania. The unrepresented professional may forget this fact, but agrees to the discipline because of an inability to hire experienced counsel or the prohibitive cost of mounting an effective defense. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s respective licensing board commences its own disciplinary proceeding based upon the factual and legal stipulations to which the licensee has already agreed, whether or not they reported such to Pa. Hence, I am called to address a second disciplinary process commenced in Pennsylvania.

The case of Phillip Romanelli v. Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, 2011 Comm.Ct. Lexus 911 (November 1, 2011), is a clear example of the pitfalls of failing to fight a discipline in another state, failing to report the discipline, and then failing to appear and contest Pennsylvania’s discipline. Romanelli lost his license in another state, failed to timely report such and then decided too late to fight Pennsylvania’s proceedings. Ultimately, Pennsylvania’s license revocation proceedings were allowed.

The Romanelli case makes clear that it is the licensee’s responsibility to respond to all litigation documents. Failure to do so will be at one’s own pitfall. The dual difficulty in these cases is binding decisions from another jurisdiction and traveling to the Commonwealth. It is important to contest every aspect of every proceeding in another jurisdiction and not stipulate to facts that will be included in any final decree or decision of a licensing board. Stipulations to unfitness, incapacity, professional misconduct, or drug and alcohol addictions and impairments will allow the Pa. boards to restrict, limit, revoke, or emergently suspend your license.

Do not ignore Pa. corollary disciplinary actions merely because you are now practicing your profession elsewhere. A subsequent discipline in Pa. will have to be reported back to your new home state where one disciplinary matter was just fought. Inability to travel to Pa. or not practicing in Pa. are not basis to ignore these proceedings. I represent many individuals residing and practicing throughout the United States with an initial Pa. license. Many of my clients are professionals unable to return to Pennsylvania to address the hearings or deal with the Pennsylvania Court filings. I fight the case in Pa. while you remain home in your new adopted state.

Stipulations to a monitor program or treatment in another jurisdiction will become the basis for Pennsylvania to require the same or suspend your license. Pennsylvania’s monitor program, PMP or PHMP, is governed by an overly restrictive and statutorily required boilerplate contract. Even if you fail to report the discipline, which is a separate basis for discipline in PA, agreeing to a monitored program outside of Pa will result in Pa’s version being forced upon a licensee in Pa. Do not sign any such agreement without fighting that case.

Currently I represent an individual who was counseled incorrectly on this exact issue. She is now confronted with a non-Pennsylvania disciplinary action/monitoring requirement being utilized by the Pa. licensing board to investigate her for both for failure to report and the necessity of monitoring. She has secured new non-Pa. counsel to open and contest the underlying disciplinary actions so as to eliminate the possibility of having to enter the PHMP and being disciplined for failing to report a discipline. Returning to the first disciplining state and re-contesting agreements or stipulations is the only way to proceed.

Please call me to discuss any non-Pennsylvania disciplinary action and its ultimate affect on your underlying Pennsylvania license. Please call me to discuss the requirements for reporting you’re non-Pa disciplinary action on your active Pennsylvania license.

Please call me to discuss any Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enforcement action you receive as a result of a non-Pennsylvanian disciplinary proceeding or agreement. Please call me to discuss negotiations and strategy of your non-Pennsylvania disciplinary matter with the anticipation of having to report the same to the Pennsylvania licensing authorities.

%d bloggers like this: