What Happens After Criminal Convictions

Criminal convictions of differing types affect your Pennsylvania professional license differently. If a licensee is found guilty, pleads guilty, or enrolls in the Pennsylvania’s ARD – pretrial diversion program, these criminal trial dispositions must be reported to your licensing board. If your guilty plea or conviction involves a felony Drug Act charge or relates to a Medicare/Medicare fraud from Pennsylvania or elsewhere, harsher disciplinary action my come quicker. Under either circumstance, the disciplinary process will soon commence.

All reported or discovered convictions (for any offense but especially DUI, forgery, credit card fraud, insurance fraud, or non-medical insurance fraud) generate petitions for discipline before the Pennsylvania Bureau of Hearings and Appeals. The actions seek to suspend, revoked, or discipline a license. Responding to these petitions in a timely and legally appropriate manner is the first step in insuring the professional maintains their professional life.

Once a licensee receives a petition for discipline (“A Rule to Show Cause”), they have thirty days from the date of receipt to file an Answer with the Prothonotary, sending a copy to the prosecutor. It is important for counsel to make only appropriate admissions to certain legal pleadings or allegations, raising affirmative defenses, and properly preserving objections to the evidence attached to the “Rule”. Once the “Rule” is timely responded to, meeting with counsel, organizing witnesses, and collecting exhibits to present both as an explanation of the criminal conviction and of who the professional is is the only way to properly preserve the licensee’s professional life.

Many cases address the type of mitigation evidence that can be presented. It is important to meet with counsel and corral witnesses, preparing them for what they can and can not say. Employment evaluations, continuing education credits, and character statements are also important documentary evidence that needs to be presented at these hearings. For the licensee, providing counsel with extensive and appropriate explanations of the criminal act, especially in case involving others (a conspiracy) is very important for these types of disciplinary hearings.

Case law discusses mitigation evidence appropriately presented in cases involving Medicare/Medicaid fraud and it’s Pennsylvania counterpart. It is appropriate in mandatory disciplinary cases to seek retroactive application of suspension time. Here, previously surrendering a license, long- term prosecutorial cooperation, and minimal participation in a larger conspiracy are issues that should be discussed with counsel so that such can be properly presented at the hearing. Letters from prosecutors regarding cooperation, motions filed in federal court, and transcripts of proceedings at a sentencing are all important documents that should be presented to any licensing board.

Please call me to discuss your criminal legal matter and any resulting disciplinary action currently being sought against your license.

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