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New York Optometrist License Defense Lawyers

By Spodek Law Group | July 27, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 13, 2023)

Last Updated on: 13th October 2023, 01:54 pm

New York Optometrist License Defense Lawyers: A Guide for Optometrists Facing Disciplinary Action

Being an optometrist in New York can be an incredibly rewarding career. After years of education and training, you are finally able to help patients improve their vision and overall eye health. However, this profession also comes with a lot of responsibility. As a licensed optometrist in New York, you are held to high ethical and professional standards. If a complaint is filed against you, your career could be at risk.This article will provide an overview of the optometrist disciplinary process in New York and how an experienced license defense attorney can help protect your livelihood if you are accused of misconduct.

Common Causes for Disciplinary Action Against Optometrists

There are a variety of reasons why the New York State Office of Professions (OP) may choose to investigate an optometrist and potentially impose disciplinary sanctions. Some of the most common allegations include:

  • Fraud: This covers a wide range of fraudulent activities like billing insurance for services not performed, inflating costs on claims, falsifying records, false advertising, etc. Basically any act of dishonesty for financial gain.
  • Sexual Misconduct: Making inappropriate sexual comments or advances toward patients, or engaging in romantic relationships with patients, is considered a severe breach of ethics.
  • Negligence: Repeated negligent acts like misdiagnosing patients or providing substandard care could prompt an investigation.
  • Substance Abuse: Struggling with drug or alcohol addiction can affect your competency to practice. Disciplinary action may occur if this substance abuse impairs your work.
  • Criminal Convictions: Certain misdemeanor or felony convictions, especially those involving moral turpitude, may disqualify you from practicing optometry.

Even minor ethical lapses can trigger complaints and investigations, so it’s crucial to fully understand your professional obligations as an optometrist in New York.

Overview of the Disciplinary Process

If a complaint is filed against you, here is a basic overview of how the disciplinary process works:1. Complaint – The process starts with a complaint filed by a patient, colleague, insurer, etc. The Office of Professions reviews each complaint to decide if an investigation is warranted.2. Investigation – If they decide to move forward, an investigator will be assigned to gather evidence like patient records, documentation, and witness statements.3. Charges – If the investigation produces sufficient evidence of misconduct, the OP will file formal charges against you and notify you of the allegations.4. Hearing – There will be a formal hearing where you can contest the charges and present counter evidence. You may choose to have a license defense attorney represent you at the hearing.5. Disciplinary Action – Based on the evidence and your defense, the OP will decide on the appropriate disciplinary measures. These can range from censure and fines up to complete revocation of your license.

Why Hire a License Defense Attorney?

Having an experienced attorney in your corner can make all the difference during this stressful process. An attorney has the skills and knowledge to protect your interests, such as:

  • Navigating the Complex Process – They understand all the intricacies involved and can guide you through each step.
  • Investigating the Complaint – They can perform their own investigation to identify any flaws or false allegations against you.
  • Negotiating with the OP – They may be able to negotiate an equitable settlement or present mitigating factors to achieve a less severe discipline.
  • Building Your Defense – They know how to find supporting evidence and witnesses to refute the charges.
  • Representing You at the Hearing – They can speak on your behalf and challenge any dubious accusations.
  • Avoiding Costly Mistakes – You’re at high risk for missteps when facing the process alone without proper legal training.

Having an attorney greatly improves the odds of keeping your optometry license intact. The costs of legal representation are far outweighed by the benefits.

Choosing the Right License Defense Attorney

Don’t just choose any lawyer to assist with your optometrist license defense. Seek out an attorney with specific experience representing licensed professionals in New York. Key credentials to look for include:

  • Knowledge of New York Laws & Rules – They should have an in-depth understanding of the state’s codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures for optometrists. Local experience is a must.
  • Experience Defending Other Licensed Professionals – Look for a lawyer with a proven history of successfully defending doctors, nurses, dentists, and other licensed professionals in New York.
  • Optometry Insights – The ideal attorney will have worked with optometrists before and understand the nature of your work. They should be well-versed in the standards and ethics of optometric practice.
  • Strong Negotiation Skills – Since many disciplinary cases end in a settlement, you want an attorney who can negotiate skillfully with the OP on your behalf.
  • Trial Experience – If your case does go to a hearing, your lawyer should have plenty of firsthand experience representing clients during hearings and trials.

Don’t wait until you’ve received an official complaint to consult with a license defense attorney. Schedule a consultation as soon as you suspect you may be under investigation. Time is of the essence when fighting to protect your optometry career. The right lawyer can immediately start building your defense strategy.

What to Expect During the Disciplinary Process

Here is a more detailed look at what you can expect to happen at each stage of the disciplinary process if a complaint has been filed against your optometrist license:

1. Complaint & Investigation

  • Complaint Filed – The OP will review the complaint and decide whether to pursue an investigation. Complaints often come from patients or other optometrists.
  • Interviews – Investigators may reach out to interview you, the complainant, eyewitnesses, and other optometrists you work with.
  • Records Request – They will likely request patient records, insurance documentation, and other materials pertinent to the allegations. You may need to hire a lawyer to assist with document production.
  • Subpoenas – Investigators can issue subpoenas to compel witness interviews or the release of evidence.
  • Expert Opinions – They may consult expert optometrists to provide opinions on the relevant standards of care.
  • Preliminary Recommendations – At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigators will make a recommendation on whether disciplinary action seems warranted based on their findings.

2. Formal Charges

  • Statement of Charges – If the preliminary recommendation is to pursue discipline, the OP will prepare formal charges outlining each act of alleged misconduct along with references to the specific laws or rules violated.
  • Notice of Hearing – You will receive official notice of the charges and details on the upcoming hearing where you can contest the allegations.
  • Pre-Hearing Conference – Your attorney may be able to meet with the OP before the hearing to discuss the case details and potentially negotiate a settlement.
  • Witnesses & Documents – Your lawyer will take care of notifying any witnesses you wish to testify at the hearing and gathering up documents and evidence to support your defense.

3. Hearing

  • Panel – Your disciplinary hearing will take place before a panel of professionals appointed by the Board of Regents.
  • Opening Statements – Both sides will present opening statements to summarize the main arguments in the case. Yours will be presented by your license defense attorney.
  • OPMC Case – OPMC prosecutors will present their witnesses, evidence, and expert testimony first to demonstrate your alleged misconduct.
  • Your Defense – Your attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine their witnesses and present your own witnesses, evidence, and experts that dispute the charges.
  • Closing Statements – At the close of the hearing, both sides will deliver final remarks to summarize their positions. Your lawyer will emphasize reasons for dismissal or leniency.

4. Disciplinary Action

  • Panel Decision – Based on the evidence and arguments presented during the hearing, the panel will decide whether disciplinary action is justified and what penalties to impose.
  • Penalties Can Include:
    • Revocation of your license
    • Suspension of your license
    • Probation
    • Monetary fines
    • Public censure
    • Additional education/training
  • Appeal – If you receive a suspension or revocation, your attorney may be able to appeal the decision to a higher court. There are strict deadlines for appeals.

Having an experienced NY license defense lawyer to represent you at every stage can greatly help reduce the penalties. Don’t try to face this alone.

Examples of Successful Optometrist License Defenses

To give you a better idea of how a skilled lawyer can defend an optometrist against misconduct charges, here are some examples of successful strategies:

  • Negligence Charge Dismissed – An optometrist was accused of professional negligence after a patient’s eye condition worsened. But the attorney demonstrated through expert testimony and clinical evidence that the optometrist’s care met the accepted standard. The charge was thrown out.
  • Suspension Reduced to Probation – When an optometrist faced license suspension over inappropriate relationships with two patients, his lawyer negotiated with the board for a lighter sentence of 2 years probation instead, allowing the optometrist to continue practicing under supervision.
  • Revocation Reversed to Probation – After initially losing his license over Medicaid fraud convictions, an optometrist hired a new law firm that identified problems with the trial. They won an appeal and got his revocation reversed to just 3 years of probation.
  • Criminal Plea Deal Avoids Discipline – Rather than risk license sanctions after being charged with a DUI, an optometrist took a plea deal including rehab and community service. Her attorney kept alcohol abuse out of the plea language, enabling her to avoid professional discipline.

The outcomes above show what an experienced license defense lawyer can accomplish when your career is on the line.

When to Hire a License Defense Lawyer

Don’t wait until serious disciplinary charges have already been filed against you to speak with a license defense attorney. It’s advisable to contact a lawyer as soon as:

  • You suspect a patient or colleague may file a complaint against you
  • You are contacted by OP investigators requesting an interview or records
  • You receive written notice that a complaint has been filed
  • You are struggling with an issue like substance abuse that could impact your ability to practice

The sooner you engage a lawyer, the quicker they can start building your defense strategy. Too often optometrists wait until their licenses are already suspended before seeking legal help, which severely limits their options.

Finding the Best License Defense Lawyer for Your Case

If your optometry career is threatened by a complaint to the OP, reach out to an experienced New York healthcare license defense attorney immediately. Look for a lawyer with extensive experience specifically representing optometrists and other licensed medical professionals in your area.When researching attorneys, ask the following:

  • How many optometrist license cases have you handled in New York?
  • What is your track record of success in these cases?
  • Are you familiar with the optometry board members and prosecutors?
  • Will you personally handle my case from start to finish?
  • How quickly can you intervene in my defense?
  • What are the total costs involved?

Look online for client reviews and Disciplinary decisions mentioning the attorney to assess their reputation and results. Meet with a few top candidates before deciding who to hire.


Losing your optometrist license in New York can derail your livelihood and destroy a career you’ve worked so hard for. But experienced license defense lawyers have proven strategies to protect licensed professionals from career-ending disciplinary outcomes. If you act quickly to hire a knowledgeable attorney, you have an excellent chance of minimizing sanctions and preserving your right to continue practicing optometry. Don’t leave your career up to chance. Consult with a top license defense lawyer as soon as you become aware of any complaint made against your license.

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