Legal Question in Criminal Law in Massachusetts

Medical License

I am a medical doctor and have been charged with misdemeanor domestic battery. My question is if I take Pre trial diversion..will it be considered a conviction on my record even after the charge is ultimately dismissed and record expunged..Also during the probation period, will I be able to continue my medical training in a fellowship..what would be shown on my record..charges pending as they are now.or a convicyion until after probation ends.or should I fight the charges and get a judge to dismiss the case..is the effect of both the same on my record?

Asked on 4/06/06, 8:00 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

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Re: Medical License

You need to retain counsel as quickly as possible. Period. The collateral consquences of a domestic assault conviction, or anything resembling a conviction, can be very serious. I don't practice much in Massachusetts (I'm located in NH and most of my Mass practice is civil), so I'm not sure how pretrial diversion works in Mass. BUT, here is the catch:

1. Although state law may not treat this as a conviction--if you admit to sufficient facts, or otherwise waive your right to a trial and the judge can later theoretically impose a sentence then most areas of FEDERAL LAW treat this as conviction. In other words, even if the word GUILTY does not appear next to your name, an admission to sufficient facts or the equivalent may count for a number of collateral purposes. These include immigration purposes which are a problem if you are not a citizen. These may also include (although I have not checked) the federal ban on persons convicted of misdemenor crimes of domestic violence from firearm ownership.

Most important, I have no idea and only a specialist will know what effect the proceeding may have on medical licensure. You absolutely, positively must speak with an attorney who handles medical licensure cases and who either also has a criminal practice or refers out to an experienced criminal practice. The risks are simply too great.

2. Since I don't know any of the underlying facts or any of the evidence, I can't dispute your claim that if you fight it the case will be dismissed. However, bear this in mind--most of these cases are credibility cases (he said, she said) and, therefore the outcome cannot be predicted with certainty. Also, if you are charged under the typical Mass A&B statute, while the offense is a misdemeanor under Mass law, because it carries a potential sentence of more than a year(which won't be imposed for a first time, non-violent, doctor with no baggage, of course), it is treated similarly to a felony by some other jurisdiction's rules and statutes for various purposes.

3. Having gone through this parade of horribles, if you can get the case resolved without (a) admitting to sufficient facts; (b) waiving the right to a determination of guilt or innocnece; and (c) avoiding any sort of finding, you will likely be in the best possible position.

Doctor-the most important part of both of our jobs is to make a correct diagnosis. If I experienced a prolonged hacking cough or chest pains, I would go to a doctor for a diagnosis--rather than the medical equivalent of this bulletin board. You should consult counsel.

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4/07/06, 8:28 am
Barbara C. Johnson Law Office of Barbara C. Johnson
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Re: Medical License

Why is your zip 80903 if you are in Mass?

Fight it. Absolutely fight it. Only with a very competent lawyer.

Pretrial diversion means they can bring the charges forward at a later date.

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4/06/06, 8:09 pm
Martha Kovner Law Offices of Martha J. Kovner
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Re: Medical License

Hire an attorney and fight it. Your medical license could be affected due to a case like this. You need to hire an attorney who can get you the best resolution of your matter! Martha Kovner

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4/06/06, 10:09 pm

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