The health care industry is so highly regulated that a minor legal infraction is cause for a professional license review and in some cases, revocation. Last year, the California Medical Board received 10,888 complaints against physicians, surgeons and unlicensed individuals.

If you are in any profession that requires a license to practice, even allegations of misconduct or malpractice put your license at risk. Not only do you face criminal charges, but you will also have to defend your livelihood in front of the California Medical Board. The law may not be on your side.

Because medical professionals are so trusted, they face steep consequences. A Wisconsin nurse was sentenced to three-year probation following her administration of an incorrect epidermal dosage. The community was outraged and came to the nurse’s defense. They felt that an unintentional medical error should not warrant criminal charges. Although the community was on her side, the law was not.

Criminal defense attorney

Criminal defense lawyers defend anyone who has been accused of committing a crime. They work with you to understand and analyze the case. A criminal defense attorney explains the charges against you and strategizes with you. Their goal is to clear the charges against you or minimize the legal ramifications.

Keep in mind that criminal defense attorneys often work on dozens of cases at a time; yours may not be the top priority.

Professional license defense attorney

A professional license lawyer has a narrower practice area. They focus on the criminal defense and the ramifications on your professional life. A license defense attorney will defend the criminal offense while keeping your reputation in mind.

Being convicted of a crime does not necessarily mean you will lose your license. In the example above, The Board of Nursing suspended the nurse’s license for nine months but did not revoke it.

Can you have both?

It is possible to use both criminal defense and license defense attorneys. The criminal defense attorney would solely focus on the consequences of the criminal charge and the license defense attorney would defend your license.

There is a benefit to using one attorney to defend both your criminal charges and your professional license. The professional license defense attorney will be better suited to advise you on both aspects because they understand the ramifications of how one charge affects the other.

A license defense attorney will negotiate the best result on both ends. For example, you may agree to have your license revoked in exchange for reduced criminal charges. If you are unsure how allegations will affect your professional license, seek the help you need.