Unauthorized Practice of Medicine

What is Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine?

It is against the law in the state of California to practice medicine without the right and valid professional license.  This crime is codified in the California law books as Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine. Activities that are forbidden under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine include practicing medicine, but also trying to practice medicine or even marketing yourself as someone who uses a system-ology that is meant to cure illnesses or alleviate pain.  Furthermore, Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine forbids remedying or detecting a physical ailment or psychological problem.  Lastly, even if you are not the person who is directly engaging in these activities, you could still be liable under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.  This is because the law’s language also forbids entering a conspiracy or aiding/abetting another person from practicing unauthorized medicine.

Above is just a quick synopsis of Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.  But to truly understand your rights and liabilities when it comes to this law, it is important to explore the legal definition of Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine more closely.  This is important especially if you are currently facing criminal charges.  Your ability (or your California Criminal Defense Attorney’s ability) to procure a favorable outcome will depend on what kind of evidence is available or not available on the important issues contained within Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.  We will go over the important issues so you can garner a better sense of what to expect will be discussed, negotiated, and debated throughout your criminal prosecution process.  Lastly, we advise you read the following because we believe the better educated you are about the important issues related to Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine, the better able you will be able to work with your California Criminal Defense Attorney in building the best and most effective defense for your case.

What is the legal description for Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine?

There are three main ways you can earn a conviction under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.  First, you formally confess to the charge.  Second, you accept a plea offer that includes a conviction under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.  Or three, you are convicted by a judge or jury through a trial hearing.  The only way you can be convicted this way is if a prosecutor proves that your case meets all of the elements of the crime.  An element is simply a fact related to the crime.  The prosecutor must prove all of the elements according to a particular level of certainty.  For a California criminal case, the level of certainty required is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  Remember, the prosecutor must prove every element.  As such, your California Criminal Defense Attorney will be looking to poke holes not necessarily in an entire story, but in specific elements.  If your attorney can make one element look weak, he can convince the prosecutor to reduce charges or dismiss a charge entirely.  Hence, you can see that throughout your criminal prosecution, your attorney will be debating, negotiating, and discussing these elements with the prosecutor constantly in an effort to get you the best possible deal.  At this point, let us take a look at some of these issues more closely.  To see how they specifically apply to your case, feel free to talk with one of our California Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Nobody has to get sick or physically injured

Nobody actually has to get hurt to get convicted under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.  Hence, you might think you are in the clear because the alleged victim did not get sick or physically harmed because of your “medical” practices.  However, this is not true.  You could still be liable even if nobody is hurt.  The same goes even if you did not have any intention of harming or hurting someone.  You might have had entirely good intentions and had a genuine desire to help other people.  Nevertheless, such good motivations will not clear you from liability under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.  You can face severe social, financial, and liberty punishments for something you had the best intentions in the world for doing!

Curing, Alleviating or Detecting Psychological or Physical Conditions

As discussed above, trying to detect (diagnosing) or curing (treating) another person’s condition is one of the ways you can violate Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.  You are considered to be “diagnosing” if you use any system or device or method to figure out if another person is experiencing a bodily or psychological condition.  Included under this definition is testing for someone’s blood pressure.  However, not included under this definition is figuring out that person’s pound measurement or tallness.

Treating refers to those practices society considers plainly medical.  Examples include giving someone a shot or prescribing medication.  Furthermore, it includes more fringe treatments such as hypnosis or acupuncture.  Medical marijuana is currently a gray area with unsettled law, so speak with a California Criminal Defense Attorney directly if this area applies to you.

Physical or Psychological Condition

You are liable under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine for practicing medicine for someone else’s physical or psychological conditions.  However, what constitutes a physical or psychological condition under this law is defined very broadly.  For example, you are liable under this law if you help someone deliver a baby, even if it’s a typical pregnancy with no special treatments required.  Thus, even if there is nothing unhealthy going on with the patient, you are still liable for a conviction under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.

California

You can only be convicted under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine if the authorized medical practice occurred within the state of California.  In the past, it was pretty easy to determine whether or not someone was practicing unauthorized medicine within the state because you could just look at the physical location of where the treatment was being done.  However, due to the ever-growing world of online medicine, it is more difficult to determine whether or not someone is practicing medicine within the bounds of the state of California.  However, for most cases, you can consider this general maxim: if you are treating a California patient and you do not have a proper and appropriate California license, you may be liable under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.  This is the case even if you have never even been to California.

Owning a Medical Practice By a Non-Licensed Person

You can violate Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine if you retain ownership or part ownership of a medical practice and you do not have a license in that medical field.   Hence, you could be liable under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine even if you did not actually perform any medical treatment on someone yourself.  It is enough to earn a conviction if you are simply an owner.

What are the potential punishments for violating Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine?

The potential punishments for Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine depends on whether you are convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor.  Also, it is important to note that if you are charged with a felony, your case will most likely be prosecuted by the district attorney’s office.  And if you are charged with a misdemeanor, your case will most likely be pursued by the city attorney’s office.  Remember, regardless of whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor, the prosecutor needs to prove all of the elements of the crime before you can be convicted in a trial hearing where a judge or jury makes the ultimate verdict of guilt. 

Whether a case is pursued as a felony or a misdemeanor is decided upon by two factors.  The prosecutor will look at the individual facts of the crime that lead to the charge.  If a crime seems more heinous, it will more likely be pursued as a felony.  For instance, if the victim was physically harmed by your actions, then it is more likely you will be charged with a felony.  Secondly, the prosecutor will look at your individual criminal record.  If you have a past history of violating the law, specifically Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine, then you are more likely to be charged with a felony.  But if you have a clean criminal record, then you are more likely to be charged with a misdemeanor.

If convicted with misdemeanor Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine, then you could face any or all of the following punishments: misdemeanor probation, a maximum of one year in county jail, and a maximum fine of one-thousand dollars.

If convicted with felony Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine, you could receive any or all of the following punishments: felony probation, a maximum of three years in county jail, and/or a maximum fine of ten-thousand dollars.

What are the available legal defenses to Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine?

The penalties for a conviction under Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine can be quite harsh.  Fortunately, there are a variety of legal defenses your California Criminal Defense Attorney can take advantage of to fight for you.  In addition, your attorney will utilize a variety of substantive and procedural strategies to maximize the best possible outcome for your case.  If you want to learn more about the types of defenses and legal strategies available in your case, feel free to talk with one of our California Criminal defense Attorneys.  They will review the specifics of your case and inform you of any available defenses, potential punishments, and give you a heads up on the important issues in your case.  For example, if the evidence in the case is highly stacked against you, your attorney might want to rely more procedural defenses.  However, if the evidence is weak, your attorney might want to file more substantive motions and arguments.

You did not practice “medicine.”

As alternative methods of healing and therapy continue to expand in the United States, the issue of what exactly is medicine has become murkier.  This especially true because most of our medical treatments in the United States are based on Western styles of treatments.  But there are many types of people giving health information nowadays.  For example, gym trainers are telling their clients what to eat and how to deal with body ailments.  Because the area is confusing and murky, it is actually more likely you will be charged with Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine even though what you were doing was legally not considered medicine.  This is because prosecutors and law enforcement tend to be aggressive and will tend to file charges in cases even if they are not sure.  You will need a skilled advocate who can argue that what you did was not technically “medicine” and that you should not be liable for criminal charges under the law.  By doing this early and aggressively, your attorney can get charges dismissed in the early stages of the process – saving you money and grief.

You are facing untrue accusations of criminal acts.

People in healthcare situations are dealing with all sorts of trauma, emotions, and concerns.  For this reason, providers of care and patients often get in all sorts of arguments and disputes.  It is not uncommon for an angry former client to accuse you of unethical business or medical practices.  If they inform the authorities, you might suddenly find yourself charged with Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine.  In these situations, it’s important to have a California Criminal Defense Attorney who can utilize the right experts and skilled investigators to build the evidentiary record in your favor.  This way you can convince a judge or prosecutor to dismiss the charges early on in the process.

What should you do if you are charged with Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine?

It might sound cliché, but the best thing you can do if charged with Business & Professions Code 2052 Unauthorized Practice of Medicine is to hire a skilled and experienced California Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible.  The earlier you have someone building evidence in your favor the more likely you can achieve a better outcome.  For example, you might have received a letter from the police that you are facing criminal charges.  This does not mean charges against you have been formally filed!  In this interim period, your attorney can talk with the investigators or the prosecutors to clarify any misunderstandings.  This means even before you are formally charged, your attorney can get the prosecutor to drop the charges entirely or at least reduce the charges.  This is especially true when you consider how little investigation law enforcement conducts when pursuing claims early on.  They might not know the nuances of the case and will rely on a reputable attorney to make the facts clear to them.  This is important because even being charged with a crime can tarnish your reputation.

Furthermore, the longer a case drags on, the more likely leads and witnesses disappear.  You want to build the evidentiary record early and strongly in your favor.  This way your attorney can convince prosecutors they don’t have a winning case.  And as a last resort, you are ready for trial if the case has to come down to that.  In either case, you want to be fully prepared and have every legal motion filed on your behalf so that you can achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

We understand this process might be confusing.  We invite you talk to us and ask any questions.  We believe our clients should know what their options are and be educated about the process every step of the way.  We will be happy to let you know what kind of legal strategies are available for you, what punishments you could be facing, and what are the most important issues in your case. 

For a free consultation, we invite you to call our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer at 424-333-0943.

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