August 15, 2017By Brian Manchester
The short answer YES.
If the crime you are charged with in Pennsylvania is a drug related crime then 35 Pa. C.S.A. 780-123 gives several powers to professional licenses administrative bodies over those individuals who hold a professional license in Pennsylvania when it comes to being charged with drug related charges. These bodies can revoke or suspend your Pennsylvania professional license upon proof that the licensee is drug dependent. If you plead guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) or are convicted of a felony under the drug statutes of Pennsylvania after a trial severe sanctions can be imposed. Because the statute says drug dependent this can include alcohol as well. That means if you have a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction in Pennsylvania, you can face disciplinary action from your licensing board. However, before any such revocation or suspension there must be a reasonable notice and hearing/opportunity to be heard where the accused can be represented by counsel.
There is a possibility of an automatic suspension for up to one year if the licensee pleads guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) or is convicted of a misdemeanor under Pennsylvania’s drug statutes or Pennsylvania’s DUI statutes. When this occurs the District Attorney’s office must notify the proper State licensing board about the conviction. In addition to the criminal prosecution, your licensing board can conduct their own investigation into determining whether or not to suspend your professional license. However, the licensing board may stay (hold) the automatic suspension if the licensee was deemed to have only violated the Pennsylvania’s drug statutes for personal use only. If this is the case then the licensee can participate in an impaired professional program approved by the State licensing board for a period of three to five years as directed by your professional licensing board. If the licensee fails to comply with all aspects of the program the licensing board shall vacate the stay (hold) on your professional license immediately and enforce the suspension.
If your case is appealed to a higher Court, the automatic suspension shall not be stayed pending any appeal of a conviction; meaning that an appeal of your conviction does not stop your professional licensing board from suspending your professional license.
There are a lot of professional licenses in the state of Pennsylvania which can be affected by criminal charges and convictions. The law surrounding professional licenses and certifications is complex and varies between the different professions. There are many professional licenses that could be affected, here is a list of just a few of them: Physician (Doctor), Nurses, Pharmacists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Occupational Therapists, Optometrists, Podiatrists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Social Workers, Therapists, EMTs, Dentist, Chiropractors, Accountants, Brokers, Architects, Engineers, Relators, Veterinarians, Pilots, Police Officers, Teachers, and Fire Fighters.
Some of the Administrative Bodies involved are for a Physician (Doctor) Pennsylvania Medical Board, for a Nurse Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing, for a Dentist The State Board of Dentistry, for a Pharmacists Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy, for a Pilot the Federal Aviation Administration, for an EMT Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The Professional Health Monitoring Program (PHMP) is available to physicians as licensed professionals. Some branches of this are the Physicians Health Program (PHP), the Pennsylvania Nurse Peer Assistance Program (PNAP). Secundum Artem – Reaching Pharmacists with Help (SARPH) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Pharmacists and Pharmacy Students in Pennsylvania. The Physicians Health Program (PHP) is operated by the Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and is also available for Dentist.
It is extremely important to contact an experienced law firm right away if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania. If you, your son, daughter, or loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates, we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.