Arizona Optometry Board Criminal Reporting: criminal consequences for an optometrist with the Arizona Board of Optometry
A.R.S. 32-3208 requires that optometry licensees and applicants for an optometrist license must report misdemeanor criminal charges involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Optometry Board within 10 working days after the charge is filed. A working day would be considered Monday through Friday.
Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within 10 business days is a violation of the Arizona Medical Practice Act and could result in Arizona Optometry Board Probation.
What Current and Past Crimes Must an Optometrist Report to the State Board?
A felony must be reported within 10 days of being charged. The following types of misdemeanor or other criminal histories are crimes that have been determined by the Board to be reportable pursuant to A.RS § 32-3208:
- Assault and Related Offenses
- Theft and Related Offenses
- Fraud, Deceit and Related Offenses
- Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation of a Child or Vulnerable Adult and Related Offenses
- Sexual and Related Offenses
- Drug and/or Alcohol Related Offenses
- Arson and Related Offenses
- Animal Abuse, Cruelty and Related Offenses
Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within 10 business days is a violation of the Arizona Medical Practice Act and could result in disciplinary action which could result in Arizona Optometry Board Probation.
DUI Effects on a License
Optometrists who contact our office frequently ask our attorney’s if state law allows an optometry professional with a DUI crime or conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Optometry Board? The short answer is yes. An Arizona Optometrist DUI will not necessarily prevent an optometrist from obtaining a license or a career in the health field. However, the Board (which handles all complaints) has a public policy (updated as of September 2020) on their website which covers the details of what circumstances optometry professionals with a case that resulted in a felony DUI criminal conviction can get a license.
Disclosing a Record for an Applicant
If a medical license applicant is not required to disclose a legal misdemeanor DUI, the AZ Board can still initiate an investigation based upon the results of a health care fingerprint background check. The Board will then contact the medical professional and initiate an investigation in their practice utilizing the law of the Arizona Medical Practice Act (current as of October 2020). This license investigation determines whether the optometrist is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems and whether the optometrist has rehabilitated in the time since the criminal misdemeanor DUI or DUI charges occurred. Simply, the Board wants to know whether the applicant can provide safe medical care with a past criminal case involving alcohol or substance abuse.
Optometrist Record and Convictions
One question our attorneys are frequently asked is whether state law allows a medical professional with a felony criminal background or an arrest to get a license with the Arizona Optometry Board? The short answer is, yes. An Arizona Felony for optometrists will not necessarily prevent an optometrist from obtaining a license or a career in the medical field. However, the Board has a public policy on their website which covers the details of under what circumstances an optometrist with a case that resulted in criminal records can get a license.
Criminal Charges and Behavior Analyst Rules with the Arizona Board
When a professional applies to the Arizona’s Optometry Board, they must disclose a felony criminal court sentence (and other similar offenses) on their application. An optometrist must self report a felony no matter how much time or how many years have passed since the conviction. After self-reporting occurs, the Board contacts the optometrist and initiates an investigation utilizing the law of the AZ Medical Practice Act. The investigation helps to determine whether the medical professional is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems and whether the optometrist has rehabilitated in the time since the criminal incident occurred. Simply put, Optometry Boards want to know whether the optometry applicant can provide safe medical care.
Athletic Optometry Probation Information
When an optometrist faces Arizona Optometry Board Probation the probation is offered through a Consent Agreement. The Consent Agreement requires the optometrist do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Or alternatively, refrain from doing things (using alcohol, prescribing schedule drugs, seeing certain patients, etc.). The Arizona Optometry Board can place optometrists on probation through:
- Stipulated Rehabilitation Agreement
- Interim Practice Restriction
- Decree of Censure with Probation
- Letter of Reprimand with Probation
- Practice Limitation
Optometrists who hold a license in Arizona can face disciplinary actions by the Arizona Optometry Board for many different reasons. If the Optometry Board determines notification of formal licensing action is necessary it will happen after the completion of an investigation. It’s the job of the Board to review any complaint alleging a violation of the Arizona Medical Practice Act and Arizona law. Thus, at an Arizona Optometry Board Meeting, the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation, thus, a defense attorney may be needed. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the optometrists formal discipline.
Arizona Board Attorney
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Optometry Board Attorney services and how to protect your license, set up a consultation with Chelle Law today.