Criminal Conviction - How it Might Affect a Physician’s License

The Board frequently receives questions about how a criminal conviction might affect a physician’s license to practice medicine. The question is not as straightforward as it would appear because every situation is different and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For these reasons, the Board will not provide any legal advice to either the physician or his/her legal representative. Business and Professions Code Section 2236 states that the conviction of any offense substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a physician constitutes unprofessional conduct which can be cause for disciplinary action. The Board reviews the records related to every conviction considering not only the record of the conviction itself, but also the underlying issues which led to the arrest and conviction. Section 2236 does not differentiate between a felony and a misdemeanor conviction and consideration about whether disciplinary action is supportable is not based on this distinction either.

A conviction that does not, at first glance, appear to be substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of a physician, may, under closer scrutiny, be revealed to be otherwise (e.g; reckless driving, DUIs, and sex crimes). All information related to the criminal case is considered, such as when the arrest occurred; the circumstances surrounding the arrest; any previous history of arrests or convictions; and the physician’s compliance with the court's terms and conditions.

  • The bringing of an indictment or information charging a felony against the licensee;
  • The conviction of the licensee, including any verdict of guilty or plea of no contest of any felony or misdemeanor.

The failure to make a report shall be a public offense punishable by a fine not to exceed $5,000.