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When Does a California Doctor Have to Self Report an Arrest to the Medical Board?


When Does the California Medical Board Require You to Self Report an Arrest or Conviction?

The Medical Board of California follows Business & Professions Code § 802.1.  This self reporting statute requires a doctor to self report any “indictment or information charging a felony against the licensee” or a conviction (even by no contest) of any felony or misdemeanor crime. This has to be done within 30 days of when the event takes place.

Is a Felony Arrest Reportable?

So here is the trick question. A physician’s office is raided by the Department of Justice and hundreds of files are seized under a medical office search warrant. The physician wakes up at 7:00 am to a knock on the door. A swarm of police officers invade his home and arrest him for 10 counts of felony criminal billing fraud. Does B&P seciton 802.1 require that this be reported to the medical board?

The answer is “no”. An arrest is not reportable. Unless the arrest arises from a Grand Jury Indictment (which is reportable) an arrest itself is not subject to the statute. But what about the first day in court. A criminal complaint is handed to the doctor and he pleads “Not Guilty!”. Must this be reported?

The answer again  is “No”. A “criminal complaint” is not an Indictment or an Information. A criminal complaint is an accusation only. A criminal Indictment or Information has a stamp of “approval” by a Grand Jury or a Judge (after an actual evidentiary hearing). So don’t confuse the two.  And remember, it is not the arrest which is reportable, it is the type of charging document that governs the rules.

Video: Learn More About the Steps from Arrest, Bail to Trial

Convictions are a Reporting Trigger

On the other hand any conviction is reportable although the definition of a conviction is subject to some discussion. Clearly a jury verdict is a conviction but does the reporting clock get stopped if a post trial motion is pending to set aside the verdict? Likewise, if there is a no contest plea but on the record it is a “best interests” no contest plea does this trigger reporting. A “best interests” plea asserts innocence and there is no factual basis for the plea stipulated to by the defendant. (Most pleas have a factual basis agreed upon.)

Most attorneys take the safe route and instruct their clients to report in borderline circumstances but these potential exceptions are useful in cases where the client comes to our office having failed to report.

Do Appeals Affect the Medical Board Self Reporting Requirement?

The next issue is post conviction appeals. Strangely, if a person dies while an appeal is pending the conviction is vacated. There is no conviction. What about a medical board action or inquiry while an appeal is pending? The same question arises when a challenge to the evidence as falsified or withheld is pending. What effect does this have on a medical board inquiry. And finally, how does the Fifth Amendment apply to a medical board inquiry relating to a criminal conviction.

No remember, Section 802.1 requires reporting upon a felony Indictment or Information but it also requires a second report if there is a conviction.  (Misdemeanors are reported only upon conviction.)

Get the Best Legal Help 

If you are a physician charged with a crime, the Horowitz physician defense team has two criminal defense specialists who are certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. There are only about 15 such specialists in all of Alameda and Contra Costa County and several hundred in the entire State of California. We can provide you with the best defense as we know criminal law and medical law.