In any state, you need a valid medical license to professionally handle someone’s health conditions. If you are caught practicing medicine without authorization in the state of California, you can face prosecution under California’s Business and Professions Code Section 2052.
If you are facing false allegations or may be practicing without a valid license, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group can help you learn more about this charge and what to do to fight it and get your life back.
Definition of the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine
California law prohibits individuals from treating other individuals’ medical concerns if they are not certified or licensed to do so. Specifically, under the California Business & Professions Code Section 725(b), unlicensed individuals in the state of California are prohibited from engaging in any of the following activities:
- Practicing, trying to practice, or advertising oneself as a practitioner who can treat illness or some other physical or mental condition
- Attempting to figure out what illness or issue is causing someone’s symptoms (making a “diagnosis”)
- Giving someone drugs, doing procedures, or providing care meant to make a disease or condition better (providing “treatment”)
- Doing tests to gain information about an illness or problem in the body (running “diagnostic tests”)
- Offering advice to “cure” or provide relief from discomfort and symptoms
- Claiming you have the proper training and ability to do any of these medical acts, even if you can’t actually follow through
- Helping another person engage in any of the above behaviors
For example, if an individual is a doctor in another country but starts treating patients in the U.S. without a license and charges them for that service, then he is guilty of the unauthorized practice of medicine. So, too, is the individual who has no credentials but provides medical practices, like being a midwife, for a fee.
Penalties According to the Form of Unauthorized Medical Practice
Unauthorized practice of medicine, also known as the illegal practice of medicine, refers to engaging in medical activities or providing medical services without a valid medical license or professional credentials.
This offense can lead to various penalties, including civil and criminal consequences, depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances involved. If you find yourself facing accusations of unauthorized practice, it is crucial to consult a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney for guidance and support.
- Civil Penalties: Unlicensed practice of medicine may result in civil penalties, typically in the form of monetary fines. The amount of the fine can vary based on the severity of the offense, the harm caused to patients, and any prior violations. Civil penalties aim to deter individuals from engaging in unauthorized medical practice and protect the public from potential harm.
- Criminal Charges: In more serious cases, unauthorized practice of medicine can lead to criminal charges. These charges may include misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the jurisdiction and the extent of harm caused. Criminal penalties can involve fines, probation (either misdemeanor probation or felony probation), and even imprisonment. The severity of the penalties depends on factors such as the duration and scope of the illegal practice, fraudulent actions, and the resulting harm to patients.
- Injunctions and Cease-and-Desist Orders: Regulatory authorities and medical boards have the power to seek injunctions or issue cease-and-desist orders to prevent unlicensed individuals from continuing their unauthorized medical practice. These legal actions are intended to protect the public and ensure compliance with licensing requirements.
- Professional Consequences: Engaging in unauthorized medical practice can have severe professional consequences. It can lead to the revocation or suspension of professional licenses, including medical licenses, thereby prohibiting individuals from practicing medicine in the future. Additionally, the reputation and standing of the unlicensed person within the medical community may suffer, potentially hindering future employment opportunities.
- Civil Liability: Unlicensed practice of medicine can also expose individuals to civil lawsuits filed by patients who have suffered harm as a result of their actions. These lawsuits can result in financial damages awarded to the affected patients, further compounding the legal and financial repercussions for the unlicensed practitioner.
It is essential to consult the specific laws and regulations governing the unauthorized practice of medicine in your jurisdiction for accurate information regarding penalties and consequences.
If facing accusations or charges related to unauthorized practice, seeking the guidance of an experienced federal crimes attorney may be needed to protect your rights and build a strong defense.
Successful Legal Defenses for Unlawful Practice of Medicine
You still have legal options available to you if you have been charged with the unauthorized practice of medicine. For one thing, you can argue that your actions did not meet the requirements as set by the law insofar as the definition of “practicing medicine.” For another, you may be able to prove you were falsely accused.
In either case, this is a serious charge with serious consequences. Allow our legal professionals to bolster strong defense strategies that help you avoid criminal convictions. Our common defenses are based on gathering sufficient evidence to assist in defeating wrongful prosecution.
Additional Charges Related to the Unlawful Practice of Medicine
Here’s where things can become more complicated. Sometimes, in addition to the unauthorized practice of medicine charge, you may be charged with additional crimes in association with the alleged unauthorized practice of medicine. For instance, tacked on to your case may be the crimes of:
- Prescribing a Controlled Substance Without a Legitimate Purpose
- Prescribing a Controlled Substance Without Treatment
- Providing a Counterfeit Prescription Blank
- Selling Marijuana
These charges add increased severity to your case, and they increase your chances of getting felony charges. If you are facing multiple charges, we strongly suggest you consult with a successful criminal defense attorney.
A conviction of even one of these charges can send you to jail, cost you thousands of dollars, and cause you to lose everything you’ve worked for thus far. Don’t take the chance and go it alone. There’s simply too much at stake.
Is Hiring a Lawyer Necessary for Practicing Medicine Without Authorization?
The legal issues that you can incur by practicing medicine without authorization can be complex and difficult to navigate. It is highly recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced lawyer if you are facing charges related to the unlawful practice of medicine.
A qualified attorney will be familiar with the laws in your state, giving sound legal advice so that you have a better chance at avoiding criminal convictions. By taking advantage of the experience and resources of a lawyer, you can minimize the chances of facing serious legal repercussions.
Facing an Unauthorized Practice Charge in California? Call Us Now!
Individuals charged under California Business & Professions Code Section 2052 can end up facing serious fines and jail time, and that’s without any additional charges tacked on. You can also face the suspension or revocation of your legitimate professional license, which can leave a permanent scar on both your personal and professional reputation.
Don’t lose everything you’ve worked for in the blink of an eye. Reach out to our qualified team at the Simmrin Law Group today for help. Call us today or fill out our online contact form now.
The Simmrin Law Group offers a FREE initial case evaluation to those accused of practicing medicine unauthorized in the state of California, so what do you have to lose? Give us a call today!