FLORIDA BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE AND CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

If you are convicted of a crime want to become a veterinarian in Florida, you must include information about your conviction with your application.

If you are already a veterinarian in the state and are convicted, then you have 30 days to report your conviction to the licensing board. Sanctions for crimes committed by veterinarians vary and can include monetary fines, suspensions, or even the revocation of your license. Learning more about the process can help you protect your practice and employment possibilities after you’ve been charged with a crime.

Failure to report a conviction on your application or failing to disclose a new conviction can lead to harsh penalties. Any crimes committed against animals or crimes involving drugs of any type have the greatest impact on your ability to practice in the state, but all convictions or guilty pleas need to be documented.

What is the process for people who already have a veterinary license and have been convicted of a crime?

If you are already a veterinarian in the state of Florida and are convicted of a crime, you need to notify the Department of Business and Professional Regulation using a specific form. Section 455.227(1)(t), Florida Statutes mandates that all licensees notify the department of a conviction or nolo contendere plea within 30 days.

The crime does not have to have occurred in your own jurisdiction or even in Florida. You must report any conviction regardless of location. The Criminal Self Reporting Document needs to be completed and filed with the appropriate registration agency to comply with the law. This one page document includes the following details and questions:

  • Your name and address
  • The licenses you currently hold, including your veterinary license number
  • Questions about your case, including whether you pled guilty or were convicted
  • Details about where you were charged and where any criminal case was held

What do you need to do and provide if you have been convicted of a crime and are applying for a veterinary license?

If you have been convicted of a crime or you have plead nolo contendere and are applyng for a license, you need to disclose your crimes on your application. You will need to list:

  • The offense
  • County and state of the offense
  • Penalty
  • Date of offense
  • If all your sanctions have been satisfied
  • Description of the offense

What crimes would automatically stop you from getting your license?

Violating drug laws or being found guilty of cruelty to animals or a crime that directly impacted animals in some way could prevent you from getting a license at all, according to Florida Statute 455.227.

What if you plead “no contest” and not guilty?

Pleading “no contest” may impact your ability to receive a license. If you have been charged with a crime as an area licensed veterinarian or wish to become one, then a criminal attorney can help you determine which course of action is best.

If you plead not guilty, but are found guilty of a crime, then that conviction must be reported within 30 days.

What actions or fines can the Veterinary Board impose?

You can be penalized both for being found guilty of a crime and for failing to report that conviction in the state of Florida. Penalties can include suspension, revocation of an existing license or the denial of a new license application. The licensing agency can also impose fines of up to $5,000 per occurrence as a punitive action or for failure to report a new or previous conviction.

Why do you need an attorney if you already have or need a license?

If you have been charged with a crime and wish to practice veterinary medicine in Florida, it is essential that you hire an attorney to defend you in court. A conviction, guilty plea or even a nolo contendere plea can have significant impact on your ability to legally practice veterinary medicine in the state. Hiring an attorney can help you get the best possible outcome and limit the impact that an accusation or arrest can have on your professional future.

If you have been charged with a crime and are seeking or hold a veterinary license in Florida, we can help. Contact us right away to ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your situation and that your professional and employment options are not limited by the charges you are facing.