When you have a criminal conviction in Arizona, it, unfortunately, remains on your record until you are 99 years old. However, there is a way to handle these unpleasant circumstances. This blog discusses the importance of expunging a criminal record in Arizona.
What is Expungement in Arizona?
When someone wants to expunge their criminal record in Arizona, they can do so through the legal process called “setting aside.” This procedure of setting a conviction aside won’t destroy court records. Expunging a criminal record in Arizona does not seal or erase an arrest or conviction. Expunging a criminal record changes the offense to read guilt has been set aside, and the case is dismissed.
Advantages of Expungement
The advantage of expungement, or setting aside your criminal conviction is a potential employer who runs a background check will see a set-aside order. Not a conviction. It will show you have met all conditions of your sentence or probation. It also shows the court vacated your conviction, and all charges were dismissed. Other advantages include possessing a firearm, voting, and serving on a jury.
A Felony Conviction
For those who have received a felony conviction or a prison sentence, you must wait two years before applying for an expungement.
When You Can’t Have a Conviction Set Aside
There are some crimes where a person is not eligible for a set-aside. These crimes include:
- Infliction of severe physical injury.
- Use of a deadly weapon.
- Exhibition of a deadly weapon.
- Crimes motivated by sexual desires.
- Any crime with the victim being younger than 15 years old.
- Diving or moving violation while the driver’s license was suspended or revoked.
- Any crime that requires a person to register as a sex offender.
Correcting Mistakes on Your Criminal Record in Arizona
When you discover mistakes on your criminal record, you can get them corrected. It’s relatively simple. You search the Arizona Department of Public Safety record review packet. And then, you will find a link to the Record Review Packet on their website. It opens up a drop-down box with some explanation and a way to download the forms. You can also contact the Criminal History Records Section by phone.
In fifteen days, you should get a response (which will not identify you by name or address.) You complete a form, and the state criminal record agency reviews everything. If corrections are needed, they will update the record.
It Can be Easier than You Think
Sometimes the arrest was dismissed later, or you were found not guilty. Getting these types of offenses set aside is much simpler and faster. It affects your future, your jobs, and your life. Getting a set aside can open new possibilities and opportunities for you. Look into it.
Have Questions About Expunging a Criminal Record in Arizona?
Contact an attorney at Chelle Law or set up a consultation today if you have questions about criminal record expungement in Arizona.
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Can You Sue Someone for Filing a False Complaint With the Arizona Medical Board?
My firm represents physicians before the Arizona medical board and the osteopathic board. We’ve been representing healthcare providers in Arizona for over a decade now. And one thing that comes up semi-frequently is the question. Can you sue someone for filing a false board complaint in Arizona? Pretty simple question. The answer is yes, but there are some caveats we will go over right now. Every board has a statute. They’re in the Arizona revised statutes, which lay the groundwork for what the board can and can’t do. In the statute for the Arizona medical board, there’s a section. I’m going to read it, which says any person or entity that reports or provides information to the board in good faith. That person is not subject to an action for civil damages.
Arizona Medical Board
In summary, anyone who files a board complaint in good faith can’t be sued for civil damages. The most important part of that section is good faith. What is good faith? This means if someone honestly believes that the physician committed misconduct, did something illegal, or violated the statute. They’re immune from civil damages. The only way that a physician could sue someone for filing a board complaint is if it was false and in bad faith. People can file a reasonable faith complaint with bad intentions. You could have a patient who wants to stick it to the doctor, a competitor physician who’s doing the same, or an employer who is somehow upset about their relationship terminating.
Licensing Board Complaint
If any of those people filed a good faith argument, they believed that whatever the physician did could violate the law. They’d be immune from a civil lawsuit. If you sue the person, you must prove they acted in bad faith. They knew that what they were alleging was false. Potentially they made up falsehoods and used that as a basis for a complaint. There was a case in the mid-two thousand. That kind of worked its way up to the court of appeals in Arizona. And basically, it was one physician who filed a board complaint against a competitor physician. They’re in the same specialty, fighting for patients in the same area, and alleged some things. And the physician who had the complaint. I filed against him and filed a lawsuit against the other doctor. They stated that the other party did not submit the complaint in good faith.
Are There Any Mistakes Physicians Make?
And therefore, he suffered some damage. I’m just going to read what the counts of that lawsuit are. Right? Some counts for the lawsuit are:
- The alleged defamation
- False light invasion of privacy
- Wrongful institution
- Maintenance of an administrative proceeding
- Intentional interference with prospective contractual to business relationships
- Injurious falsehood
What the court held, though, was the first count. Was the complaint filed in good faith or not? And the court said, yes, it was. They’re saying even if some of the things alleged by the person who filed the complaint were untrue. They believed they were true. They made at least a minimum amount of verification of the facts. And therefore, the other party filed the complaint in good faith. And so, the physician who filed the complaint against him couldn’t recover any damages.
We have a case currently with the Arizona medical board. And then, we’re representing a client. I won’t get into the details of it. However, I can give broad strokes. In this case, a patient alleged that our client gave them on a certain date, a specific procedure. Then, there was a negative outcome during the process after a review of the medical records. Our client never saw the patient on the alleged date. Never even provided the procedure alleged by the patient. And then, obviously, the bad outcome didn’t occur either. So, did that person file a complaint in bad faith? Well, we believe, yes. As I stated before when looking at whether a complaint is filed in good or bad faith. Do you need to determine whether the person who filed the complaint attempted to verify any information?
Medical Board Complaints
In this case, obviously, no. What could someone do to verify the information? They could call the office and prove when they saw the physician. Request the medical records, review those, and talk to the people involved. A minimum base amount of effort needs to be given to verify allegations. And if the complainant, the person who files a complaint, doesn’t do any of that. Then that allows whoever had the complaint filed against them to argue that it was filed in bad faith.
This is a reasonably nuanced topic. In summary, can you sue someone for filing a false board complaint in Arizona? The answer is yes, you can, under certain circumstances. But it’s an exciting topic to discuss. As I stated, my firm Chelle Law represents physicians before the Arizona medical board and osteopath boards. If you have any questions, we’re certainly happy to answer them. Just give us a call, the number is listed below in the description, or you can visit us on our website, Chelle law.com, C H E L L E law.com. Hopefully, this is informative. Please comment if you have suggestions for other topics you want me to discuss. I’ll be happy to do that. So anyway, thanks for listening, and take care.
Arizona Medical Board Criminal Reporting
The A.R.S. 32-3208 requires that physician licensees and applicants for a physician license must report misdemeanor criminal charges. It involves conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Medical Board within ten working days after the charge is filed. A working day would be considered Monday through Friday.
Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within ten business days violates the Arizona Medical Practice Act. It could result in Arizona Medical Board Probation.
What Current and Past Crimes Must Be Reported?
A felony must be reported within ten days of being charged. The following types of a misdemeanor or other criminal histories are crimes that the Board has determined to be reportable according 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 or Alcohol Related Offenses
- Arson and Related Offenses
- Animal Abuse, Cruelty, and Related Offenses
Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within ten business days is one of the violations of the Arizona Medical Practice Act. It could result in disciplinary action in Arizona Medical Board Probation.
DUI Criminal History
Physicians, who contact our office ask our attorney. If state law allows a physician professional with a DUI crime or conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Medical Board? The short answer is yes. An Arizona Physician DUI will not necessarily prevent a nurse 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 its website. Which covers the details of what circumstances physician professionals with a case that resulted in a felony DUI criminal conviction can get a license.
Disclosing a Criminal Record for an Arizona Applicant
Suppose a medical license applicant is not required to disclose a legal misdemeanor DUI. In that case, 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 physician is a danger to the public. If there are any medical or mental health problems and whether the physician has rehabilitated since the criminal misdemeanor DUI or DUI charges occurred. The Board wants to know whether the applicant can provide safe medical care with a past criminal case involving alcohol or substance abuse.
State Criminal Record and Convictions
One question our attorneys are frequently asked is whether state law allows a medical professional with a felony criminal background to get a license with the Arizona Medical Board. The short answer is yes. An Arizona Felony for physicians will not necessarily prevent a physician from obtaining a license or a career in the medical field. However, the Board has a public policy on its website. And it covers the details of under what circumstances a physician with a case that resulted in a criminal sentence can get a license.
Criminal Charges for Doctors with the Arizona Board
When a professional applies to the Arizona Medical Board, they must disclose a felony criminal court sentence (and other similar offenses) on their application. A physician must self-report a felony no matter how much time or years have passed since the conviction. After self-reporting occurs, the Board contacts the physician. It 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 physician has rehabilitated since the criminal incident occurred. Simply put, the Medical Board wants to know whether the physician applicant can provide safe medical care.
Medical Board Probation Information
When a physician faces Arizona Medical Board Probation, the probation is offered through a Consent Agreement. The Consent Agreement requires the physician to do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Alternatively, refrain from doing something (using alcohol, prescribing scheduled drugs, seeing certain patients, etc.). The Arizona Medical Board can place physicians on probation through:
- Stipulated Rehabilitation Agreement
- Interim Practice Restriction
- Decree of Censure with Probation
- Letter of Reprimand with Probation
- Practice Limitation
Physicians who hold a license in Arizona can face disciplinary actions by the Arizona Medical Board for many different reasons. If the Medical Board determines 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 Medical Board Meeting, the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation. Therefore, a defense attorney may be needed. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary result or vote to offer formal physician discipline.
Arizona Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Medical Board Attorney services and how to protect your license, set up a consultation with Chelle Law today.
Can you be a Physician with a Felony?
Can doctors become a physician with a past felony on record? This blog is not going to be a state-specific discussion. Every medical board in every different state has different rules. I would suggest explicitly reaching out and trying to find the rules for felony bars for physicians. This will be a general discussion of what you need to consider if you have a felony in your past. You’re either maybe in medical school, in residency, or fellowship. Then you’ll ultimately have to apply potentially to a new licensing board and how they’ll think about that.
What Degree of Felony Did the Doctor Have on Criminal Record?
The first thing is what type of felony it was. There are degrees of felonies. What you specifically did will impact whether a board feels like they should give you a license or not. Any kind of violent crime is difficult. If it’s drug or substance abuse related, that’s usually much easier to handle. Think about this from the board’s perspective.
Let’s assume there are no laws on the books that say a physician applying for a license in this state is absolutely barred if they have a past felony. It’s implausible that the board you will apply to has a rule like that. Most medical boards will look at each case on a case-by-case basis. There may be rules that state if the physician is currently licensed. Then gets a felony, then it might be an automatic revocation. But most of them don’t just bar applications for past felonies.
How will the Medical Board Look at Doctors During Medical License Defense?
As I said before, they’re going to look at, alright, well, what was the felony? And then, how long ago did it happen? How many different criminal incidents were there? And then certainly, as I said before, the type. Any felony-related incident or conviction that the physician rehabilitates from will be something that the board will be willing to work with. And as I said before, if it’s substance abuse or drug-related, that’s easy to rehabilitate from. You go to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous), therapy, or group counseling. You take random drug screens. And you stop doing drugs or drinking alcohol, and you can show a prolonged period of sobriety.
All these things are the things that the board is going to care about. And they’re going to check into certainly. If you did have a drug-related felony and then had to go to rehab or an intensive outpatient treatment program, or something like that. In that case, they will want to see proof that you did all of those things. So, you want to keep all the records associated with any rehab.
What if it’s something different that you can’t rehabilitate from? As I said, a violent crime, assault, domestic violence, something like that. Well, you need to show that things had changed in your life, from what happened to when you applied. So the board can see you’ve at least learned from the incident. And have grown from it, and they may have incorporated positive changes into your life. That show that you have made positive steps since the felony occurred.
What Does The Medical Board Want To See?
The board wants to see that a physician is regulatable. Then ultimately, they’re able to provide safe patient care in the medical field. That’s every medical licensing board’s stated mission: to protect the public. They’re not there to protect the doctor. Suppose their mission is to protect the public. In that case, you must ensure that the board understands and feels comfortable issuing the license. So that public safety is not going to be an issue.
Now, how to handle this? Many people go into medical school and might go into a residency in a different state. And then plan on going into another state when they finish training. Think about the state that you will have to get a physician’s medical license if you’re going into training. That will be the first hurdle on the road to becoming a professional. So, you probably need to reach out to an attorney in the state where you’re going into training. Then see, is the past felony impede me from getting my license?
What if I Can Get Licensed in One State?
If you can get a license in one state, it’s more likely that it won’t be an issue in another state. It’s just kind of common sense. What if one state feels comfortable issuing a license to a doctor that the other state will likely feel satisfied with? Now, they’re not beholden to any other state. Just because you got a license in one state doesn’t mean you’ll get it in every state you apply to. But in my experience handling these kinds of medical board cases, it is likely that if board members see. Alright, well, they already have a license.
They got through training with value problems. It’s been three or four years. So it probably means this person is safe to practice. And then they’re more likely to issue the license or not. As I said before, reach out to an attorney who handles medical board issues in the state where you will initially get your training permit.
Now, some medical boards have stricter scrutiny when you’re applying for a full license. Suppose you’re done with training versus just issuing a training permit or whatever kind of provisional license they have in that state to complete your residency. And then, it just makes sense to reach out to a medical board attorney in the near state. And walk through all these things. If they have experience with the board, they should know the answers to those questions. This is what the board has done for people who have had this in the past.
The Advice of a Lawyer to a Future Doctor
No attorney is going to be able to give you a 100% guarantee that you’re going to get a license. Suppose you’ve had something in your past, such as a felony. They cannot do that. So, you need to assess all the information you have available to you. Then make an informed decision.
If you’re reading this blog, you’re thinking, alright, I don’t even know if I should go to medical school because of a past felony. Well, once again, reach out to a board attorney in the state that maybe you’re going to school in. Then they can walk you through the scenario.
Being a felon is not a complete bar to having a medical license and being a physician. But obviously, it does have some significant roadblocks associated with it and not only with getting a medical license. But when you start applying for jobs in the medical field as a physician, too.
And when they do a criminal background check, they will see that you have a felony conviction. And you’ll have to have a good explanation about what happened. For all the things you had to show the board about your rehabilitation, it’ll likely be the same scenario with an employer walking through. Most employers are more understanding than the medical licensing board. But it’s going to be something you’ll most likely have to deal with for the rest of your career.
Let Us Help You
We’re in Arizona if you have any questions about employment contracts or medical board issues. So, keep that in mind. Hopefully, my information was an excellent general primer on what to do if you have a felony in your past. And you’re thinking of becoming a physician. Maybe you’re in training and then get a felony. Or perhaps you are a doctor with a criminal record.
What is Mediation in a Physician Contract? | Medical Contract
What is mediation in a physician employment contract? In nearly every physician contract, there will be a couple of things about what happens if there is a dispute. Everyone goes into a contract hoping it’s the most excellent relationship of all time. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. And so, if there is a dispute or you think that one party thinks the other is in breach of contract or can’t meet in the middle.
What Law is Used?
Usually, the contract will state a couple of things. One, it will say what law is used. It should be the law of the state in which you are residing. I’ve seen a couple of larger corporate-owned physician groups that may have physicians in dozens of states, and they’re based in Florida. The contract will state that although the agreement is taking place in Texas, Florida law will hold. I mean, no one should agree with that. The laws of the state where you’re working should be the venue for any dispute.
It may even expressly state that Maricopa County is the Phoenix area and surrounding cities here in Arizona. And so, it may say in the contract that any lawsuit brought must be filed in the superior court with Maricopa County. That’s not unreasonable as well. It can state if there is an issue, and that’s where it will be filed. Other contracts will say that there must be a dispute resolution process. So, instead of someone just going straight to court and filing a lawsuit, they’ll state there must be an accelerated dispute resolution. And in the legal field, dispute resolution is generally two things: mediation and arbitration.
Medical Malpractice Mediation
Mediation is non-binding arbitration. What that means is usually, a lawyer, maybe a retired judge, will attempt to reach a compromise between both parties. However, if both parties are unhappy with the outcome or unwilling to compromise, nothing binding results from it. Usually, in a medical mediation, what happens is both parties will split the cost of the mediator. And as I said before, it’s a lawyer or retired judge. Then, usually, they’ll keep them in separate rooms.
And the mediator will then go to one side and say, what’s your position on this? Then they’ll go to the next room and say, alright, what’s your job? And then will go back and forth saying, well, maybe you’re being unreasonable here. Maybe you might want to think about this. And they’re just trying to get both parties to meet in the middle and squash any beef they have.
Next Step if Mediation Is Not Successful
But if it is an unsuccessful medical mediation, it can go one of two ways. It could either go to arbitration, which is essentially binding mediation. In arbitration, the same process, an attorney or retired judge will hear both sides of a case. In arbitration, they’ll render a binding decision. Both parties are bound by whatever the decision is. And it’s outside of the court system. I find almost every hospital network employee in an arbitration agreement within the employment agreement.
It will state any disputes arising from this agreement, sometimes accepting the restrictive covenants. So sometimes, the non-compete or non-solicit will have to go through the court system. It will be part of the arbitration agreement. But anyway, it’ll say, if there is a dispute, both parties must go to arbitration, and then it will state what kind of arbitration. It could be JAMS. It could be AHLA or the American Health Lawyers Association. Or it could be the arbitration system of whatever county where they are residing.
How Arbitration Works
And so, arbitration works typically because both parties will agree on a neutral arbitrator. They’ll provide a statement to the arbitrator in advance and maybe submit documents if they’re necessary. The arbitrator will come in, and then the same process happens. They’ll meet with both sides and then render a decision. Generally, it’s a brief written decision of this is what’s going to happen. Now, if there isn’t medical mediation or arbitration, it simply goes to litigation. If the parties can’t reach an agreement, either party is free to sue them in whatever venue is specified in the contract.
Downsides of Mediation
There is no downside to mediation. It is not binding. It’s because it’s considered a settlement. Whatever is stated within those settlement talks is confidential and can’t be used against either party. Suppose it does accelerate into arbitration or litigation. In that case, I find it’s a meaningful process to flush out what the actual cases are. Like what really is the bottom-line problem, and then having somebody skilled in mediating and trying to get both parties to compromise is a valuable process.
Now, dealing with doctors daily, I understand there are some hard feelings at times. And some people say not. I don’t want to mediate; I want to bring out the big guns and go right into litigation. And that’s very prerogative. That’s fine. But I think the mediation process can be fair and helpful in many ways. So, that’s kind of what mediation is in a physician in an employment agreement.
Who Owns the Medical Record as an Employed Physician? | Medical Records Ownership
Who has ownership of the medical record if you are an employed physician, and why does it matter? When you are an employed physician, you work for someone. You are an employee. And as an employee, at least at the physician level, you will have an employment contract. There will be language in almost every physician’s employment contract stating the medical record itself is the employer’s property. Even though the physician may have medical record access for that patient.
Reasons for Medical Records Ownership Clauses
There are a few reasons why that kind of clause is in an employment contract. First, if either party terminates the agreement, the physician leaves without-cause. Or, for whatever reason, the employer doesn’t need the physician anymore. If there isn’t a language of who has ownership of the medical record, there could be a dispute if the physician leaves. If they take the medical records, then attempt to take the patients.
There are also considerations about continuity of care and storage access of medical records, which we must consider. Let’s kind of break that down. First, when a physician leaves a practice, let’s take primary care. Suppose a physician works as an employee for a primary care practice and decides to leave for whatever reason. That practice will send out a notice to all the patients stating, “Dr. Smith is leaving the practice. We will provide a new physician if you’re interested. If not, you can pick up your medical records at this location with a written notice.”
Primary Care Outside the Non-Compete
Once again, if they’re primary care and decide to stay within the area, the physician will also have a non-compete. It prohibits them from working within a certain period and geographic distance from the practice after the contract terminates. Let’s say the doctor wants to stay in the area. They’re outside of the non-compete, so they’re not violating it. They open their medical practice, and obviously, they can’t just take their patients’ medical records with them. Their past employer has ownership and access to the medical records.
Now, of course, they’re the patient’s medical record. So, the patient is always in any state. The state’s law or statutes will go through how a patient can adequately obtain a medical record copy. In this case, say the doctor leaves the practice and opens their own. It will be on the patient to request a copy of their medical record. And if they want to move with the new physician. They can then ask that practice to send their medical records to the physicians who left their new practice. Or they can go ahead and get a physical copy themselves and then take that to the new physician. If you’re an employed physician, you do not have a legal right to take all the medical records with you. And I would suggest not doing that.
Continuity Care in Business
It opens liability for the physician, and it’s just bad practice. For continuity of care, there’s a notice period when a physician leaves a practice. Say the physician wants to leave and move on to a new job. Usually, they must provide either 60 or 90-days notice to their employer that they’re going to leave.
One of the reasons why that notice is required is to ensure continuity of care for that patient. A new provider is either set up or will assume the care of that patient. If there isn’t a provider to refer them to, they refer them outside the organization to someone else. A health care provider must also consider prescriptions if they need to give bridge scripts until that patient finds a new provider. These are all things that physicians must consider when leaving the practice. But the medical records must stay with that employer.
The Doctor Doesn’t Own the Patient Medical Records
The problems arise if someone leaving the practice takes the records if they’re paper. Nowadays, more and more charts are electronic with all the EMRs. Or they could somehow access the medical records, download them, and take them to the new practice.
There are generally non-solicitation clauses in the employment agreement. It would prohibit physicians from actively going out and reaching out to their patients, and then letting them know that they’re leaving or asking that patient to come with them. So, sometimes language in the non-solicit also states the record is a part of that. So, who has ownership of the medical records? The employer does. Not the physician.
Have Questions About Expunging a Criminal Record in Arizona?
Contact an attorney at Chelle Law or set up a consultation today if you have questions about expunging a criminal record in Arizona.
Arizona Medical Board Questions?
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