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Psychiatrist’s License Suspended for Keying Stranger’s Car


Psychiatrists understand that they need to act in a professional manner when dealing with patients. They cannot act in an unethical manner, such as engage in sexual conduct or be dishonest with the patient.

But what if a psychiatrist engages in inappropriate behavior outside of a professional setting? Can this affect his or her license? A recent case shows that yes, a psychiatrist can face license suspension, even though this may seem unfair.

In 2013, a psychiatrist became involved in an argument with a stranger in a parking lot. The psychiatrist proceeded to key the stranger’s car. She was convicted of fourth degree criminal mischief. The Bureau of Professional Medical Conduct charged her with professional misconduct and her psychiatrist license was suspended for one year, along with two years of probation. She was also ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and take anger management courses.

It was argued that the penalties were unjust and disproportionate to the crime committed. The woman filed an appeal with the Administrative Review Board. Her probation was dismissed. She again appealed the ruling, but the judge would not budge and do away with the license suspension. The reasoning was that the woman could not control her emotions, which directly affects her occupation as a psychiatrist. She also would not accept responsibility for her actions, which goes against everything she is taught in her profession.

Types of Discipline for Licensed Professionals

A professional convicted of misconduct may face a variety of penalties, depending on the nature of the action or crime. Licensed psychiatrists are required to report that they have entered a plea to a crime, even if the plea was no contest. The discipline imposed by the Board depends on how serious the crime committed was and the degree to which that crime effect the licensee’s ability to practice.

License suspension and revocation are the most serious forms of punishment. Suspension prevents a professional from legally practicing for a temporary period of time. Revocation is permanent and prohibits professionals from legally practicing. They lose their license, but in some cases, they can reapply for a license after a certain period of time. The opportunity to become relicensed is up to the state board, however, and may require that you retake certain exams.

Keep Your License with Help From a Tampa Psychologist Licensing Lawyer

As seen in this case, even actions performed outside of a professional setting can negatively impact the license of a psychiatrist or other professional. The woman’s actions were not only criminal but also inappropriate considering her profession. But did she need to be punished so harshly?

If you are facing a license restriction or suspension, The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. can help. I am a Tampa administrative lawyer with 30 years of experience handling licensing suspensions and other disputes. I represent psychologists and other licensed professionals. For a free consultation, contact my office today by calling (813) 968-6633.