Arizona Veterinary Board Criminal Reporting | Criminal Consequences for a Veterinarian
A.R.S. 32-3208 requires that veterinarian licensees and applicants for a veterinarian license must report misdemeanor criminal charges involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Veterinary 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 Practice Act and could result in Arizona Veterinary Board Probation.
What Current and Past Crimes Must a Veterinarian 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 Practice Act and could result in disciplinary action which could result in Arizona Veterinary Board Probation.
DUI Effects on a License
Veterinarians, who contact our office frequently ask our attorneys if state law allows a veterinarian professional with a DUI crime or conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Veterinary Board? The short answer is yes. An Arizona Veterinarian DUI will not necessarily prevent a veterinarian 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 veterinarian professionals with a case that resulted in a felony DUI criminal conviction can get a license.
Disclosing a Record for an Applicant
If a veterinarian license applicant is not required to disclose a legal misdemeanor DUI, the AZ Board can still initiate an investigation based on the results of a healthcare fingerprint background check. The Board will then contact the veterinarian professional and initiate an investigation in their practice utilizing the law of the Arizona Practice Act (current as of October 2020). This license investigation determines whether the veterinarian is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems, and whether the veterinarian 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.
Veterinarian Record and Convictions
One question our attorneys are frequently asked is whether state law allows a veterinarian professional with a felony criminal background or an arrest to get a license with the Arizona Veterinary Board? The short answer is, yes. An Arizona Felony for veterinarians will not necessarily prevent a veterinarian from obtaining a license or a career in the medical field. However, the Board has a public policy on its website which covers the details of under what circumstances a veterinarian 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 Arizona’s Veterinary Board, they must disclose a felony criminal court sentence (and other similar offenses) on their application. A veterinarian 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 veterinarian and initiates an investigation utilizing the law of the AZ Practice Act. The investigation helps to determine whether the veterinarian professional is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems, and whether the veterinarian has been rehabilitated in the time since the criminal incident occurred. Simply put, Veterinary Boards want to know whether the veterinarian applicant can provide safe medical care.
Veterinary Board Probation Information
When a veterinarian faces Arizona Veterinary Board Probation the probation is offered through a Consent Agreement. The Consent Agreement requires the veterinarian to do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Or alternatively, refrain from doing things (using alcohol, prescribing scheduled drugs, seeing certain patients, etc.). The Arizona Veterinary Board can place veterinarians on probation through:
- Stipulated Rehabilitation Agreement
- Interim Practice Restriction
- Decree of Censure with Probation
- Letter of Reprimand with Probation
- Practice Limitation
Veterinarians who hold a license in Arizona can face disciplinary actions by the Arizona Veterinary Board for many different reasons. If the Veterinary 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 Practice Act and Arizona law. Thus, at an Arizona Veterinary 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 veterinarian formal discipline.
Veterinarian Application Denial Assistance
Applicants to the Arizona Veterinary Board who have a criminal history or previous discipline by the Arizona Veterinary Board (or any other Board) may be subject to denial of their application for licensure. Thus, those with a criminal or disciplinary history from other licensing boards will be investigated by the Board.
Arizona Veterinarians’ Disciplinary Actions
Arizona Veterinary Board disciplinary actions are given to veterinarians with a license or certification in Arizona. If the Board determines formal disciplinary 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 Arizona laws and regulations. Thus, at a Board Meeting, the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the veterinarian formal discipline. Disciplinary actions can include:
- Letter of concern.
- Decree of censure.
- Civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.
- Non-disciplinary order for continuing education.
- License restriction.
Arizona Veterinary Board Non-Disciplinary Actions
- CASE DISMISSAL: The Board may dismiss a complaint if they determine the information indicates there was not a violation of the rules of the Arizona Practice Act. This outcome is not available to the public.
- NON-DISCIPLINARY ORDER FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION: An order that dictates the veterinarian must complete a number of hours of continuing education for specific topics.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern the nurse’s conduct wasn’t ideal. However, the conduct doesn’t necessarily violate Arizona law.
Arizona Veterinary Unprofessional Conduct
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a veterinarian’s license the veterinarian will be unable to practice or get licensed again for a minimum of five years. After the five-year period of license revocation, the veterinarian will need to reapply for their license. If the veterinarian reapplies for licensure they must demonstrate the grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions) has been rectified through an application program. This is a public document.
- VOLUNTARY SURRENDER: The veterinarian voluntarily gives up their license. The benefit of this voluntary consent is that the Board is usually willing to reduce the amount of time until a veterinarian can reapply. This is usually between two to three years.
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the veterinarian from practicing. It prohibits any patient contact or services for a period of time until the Board lifts the suspension.
- PROBATION: The Board offers probation through a consent agreement. The consent agreement requires veterinarians to do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, and continuing education). Alternatively, they may need to refrain from doing things (unsupervised Medical like home health, working under the Medical licensure compact, using alcohol, etc.) A request for the removal of probation will be needed.
- DECREE OF CENSURE: A decree of censure is the lowest level of formal discipline. There are no probationary requirements, but the Order will be listed on the website.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Veterinary Board Attorney services and how to protect your license, set up a consultation with Chelle Law today.