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What happens if a doctor tries to practice without a license?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

There are both federal and Rhode Island state laws that limit the practice of medicine to competent, ethical individuals who have appropriate education and state licensing. Not only does a medical doctor need to attend medical school, but they have to maintain a medical license for as long as they intend to work in the healthcare profession in specific capacities.

Sometimes, those with education or experience that might make them knowledgeable about medicine do not have the licensing that is required to legally work as a doctor in Rhode Island. Is it always a crime to diagnose someone, recommend treatment plans or provide treatment if someone does not have a current medical license?

Yes, even accidental lapses can lead to penalties

There are numerous reasons why someone might not have a medical license. They may lack the education or may not have passed the background check that looks into their criminal record. They could also have faced disciplinary action based on allegations of misconduct or incompetence in the practice of medicine.

There are even individuals who lose their medical licenses due to minor technical infractions, such as failing to submit paperwork to the state, failing to secure documentation of their continuing education efforts and writing a bad check to cover the cost of license renewal. Whether someone lost their license due to incompetence, clerical errors or misconduct, the state could potentially prosecute them for practicing medicine in any context without a license.

Medical professionals accused of practicing without a license could face both legal and career consequences unless they fight back against those allegations. The state’s law allows for up to three years of imprisonment and fines for each violation. Medical professionals typically have the right to have legal representation while defending themselves against criminal accusations related to the practice of medicine without a license and also the right to have representation when attending a disciplinary hearing organized by the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline.

Learning about how Rhode Island responds to licensing mistakes among medical professionals may inspire someone to assert themselves in a disciplinary hearing or at a criminal trial with the help of a defense attorney.