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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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California Business and Professions Code Section 2052 BPC: Unauthorized Practice Of Medicine

By Spodek Law Group | May 12, 2018

Unlicensed Medical Practice in California: What You Need to Know

Medical professionals, contractors, and law practitioners are required to hold a proper license before engaging in their professions in the state of California. However, some unlicensed individuals may attempt to practice or advertise themselves as being able to practice medicine. California Business and Professions Code Section 2052 BPC makes it a crime to engage in unauthorized medical practice.

The Definition of Unlicensed Medical Practice

To prosecute an individual for the unauthorized practice of medicine, the prosecutor must prove beyond a doubt that:

The defendant tried to practice or did practice any way of treating the afflicted or sick in the state of California, or advertised or represented themselves as being able to do so.
The defendant treated, prescribed for, operated for, or diagnosed any mental or physical condition of any individual without a valid medical license.
The defendant did not have alternative authorization to perform this act via a certification gained through another provision of the state law.
Even if a person operates a medical practice without treating patients themselves, they may still be prosecuted for the unauthorized practice of medicine. For example, in a recent case, the owners of a marijuana dispensary were convicted of the unauthorized practice of medicine because they employed a physician who saw patients and wrote prescriptions, despite not having licenses for legal medical practice.

Defenses for Unlicensed Medical Practice

Some alternative treatments fall into a gray area, and it may be unclear whether the defendant was engaging in medical practice. However, the specific definition varies from case to case.

Penalties for Unlicensed Medical Practice

Under California state law, practicing medicine without a license is considered a “wobbler” offense. This means that it can either be classed as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the case. The severity of the charge will be suggested by the prosecutor and confirmed by the judge.

If convicted of a felony, the defendant may serve up to three years in a federal prison. If convicted of a misdemeanor, they could be sentenced to up to one year in jail. The severity of the charge is determined based on the underlying case facts and the defendant’s prior criminal history.

Similar Offenses

Several related crimes, including prescribing a controlled substance without a legitimate purpose, prescribing a controlled substance without treatment, counterfeit prescription blank, and selling marijuana, may affect whether the statute violation is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A repeated pattern of impersonating a medical professional, including the prescription of substances without a license, may result in a felony charge. On the other hand, individuals who engage in alternative medicine practices without realizing they need a medical license are more likely to be charged with a misdemeanor.

At Spodek Law Group, our attorney Todd Spodek is well-versed in California’s laws and regulations surrounding medical practice. If you have been charged with the unauthorized practice of medicine, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

Engaging in the unauthorized practice of medicine in California is a serious crime that carries significant penalties. It is essential to understand the definition of unlicensed medical practice, the potential defenses, and the severity of the charges. At Spodek Law Group, we have extensive experience in handling cases related to the unauthorized practice of medicine. Our attorney Todd Spodek will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

If you are facing charges related to the unauthorized practice of medicine, don’t wait to seek legal representation. Contact Spodek Law Group today to schedule a consultation with our experienced attorney. We will help you navigate the complex legal system and fight to protect your rights and freedom.

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