Florida Dental License Defense

Has someone made an Administrative Complaint with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) against your dental license? Are you worried about what this complaint means for the future of your career and professional reputation?

Because any license discipline can negatively impact your current employment and future career opportunities, it’s essential that you partner with an accomplished license defense lawyer who can advocate skillfully before the FDOH and Florida Board of Dentistry to protect your career, reputation, and income.

Our professional license defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm understand the commitment and sacrifices that dentists, orthodontists, and oral surgeons make to succeed in this profession. Our experienced Florida professional license lawyers can provide you with vigorous representation to protect the dental license that you’ve dedicated years of your life to achieve.

What Are the Legal Responsibilities of Dental Professionals in Florida?

Florida Statute Section 466.003(2) defines the practice of dentistry as:

“The healing art which is concerned with the examination, diagnosis, treatment planning, and care of conditions within the human oral cavity and its adjacent tissues and structures. It includes the performance or attempted performance of any dental operation, or oral or oral-maxillofacial surgery and any procedures adjunct thereto, including physical evaluation directly related to such operation or surgery pursuant to hospital rules and regulations.”

Dentists and oral surgeons play an essential role in treating complications with patients’ teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. Dentists offer advice and guidance on taking good care of the teeth and gums and nutrition choices that impact oral health.

Orthodontists work under the dental umbrella, but their primary role is to diagnose misaligned teeth and jaws. They create treatment plans to create the perfect bite, involving braces and retainers.

Why Is Having a Professional License Important for Dentists, Orthodontists, and Oral Surgeons?

Having a valid license is necessary for anyone to practice dentistry, orthodontics, or oral surgery in Florida with specific licenses for each field. Without a lawful license, dental professionals cannot legally care for patients or hold the title of dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon. Facing disciplinary action against your license can withdraw your ability to continue in this profession and damage your ability to provide for yourself and your family.

If you know of or believe that any complaint has been made against you, you must attain experienced legal advice as soon as possible to safeguard your dental career.

Who Permits Dental Licenses in Florida?

In Florida, dentists are licensed by the Board of Dentistry. Florida dentists and orthodontists must periodically renew their licenses with the Board to practice legally. In Florida, the Board of Dentistry is responsible for licensing, examinations, training information, and continuing education information for dentists, orthodontists, and oral surgeons.

What Are Common Complaints Against Dentists, Orthodontists, and Oral Surgeons That Might Result in Disciplinary Action?

The Florida Board of Dentistry has broad discretionary power to deny, suspend, or revoke a license and place an existing license holder on probation for several years. Some of the circumstances that may prompt an adverse licensing action under Florida Statute 466.028 include:

  • Conviction, including a guilty or “no contest” plea, to any felony or crime which relates to the practice of dentistry
  • Practicing dentistry while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances without appropriate medical approval
  • Participating in any fraudulent or deceptive act about obtaining a dental license
  • Having a previously issued dental license revoked or suspended by any jurisdiction outside of Florida
  • Allowing an “unauthorized” or unlicensed person to practice dentistry within the practice
  • Demonstration of mental or physical ineptitude
  • Intentionally filing a false report or deliberately neglecting to file a legally required report regarding a dental practice
  • Filing an inaccurate bill to an insurance company
  • Authorizing any kind fraudulent, false, or deceptive advertising regarding the dental practice
  • Intentionally failing to cooperate with an investigation conducted by the Florida Board of Dentistry

How Are Complaints Lodged Against Dental Professionals in Florida?

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) performs the investigative and prosecutorial tasks involving licensed dentists, orthodontists, and oral surgeons and enforces fitting Florida Statutes. Anyone who wishes to file a complaint against a dentist in Florida would accomplish this through the Florida Health Care Complaint Portal.

How Does the Complaint Process Against Dental Professionals Work in Florida?

After a complaint is filed against a dental professional, an investigator from the Department of Health will evaluate your case. The investigation includes collecting enough information to decide whether the complaint can progress to the next step.

Information collected during an investigation usually includes:

  • Interviewing complainants
  • Interviewing the subject of the complaint
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Issuing subpoenas
  • Recording sworn statements
  • Gathering documented evidence
  • Readying reports

Generally, the investigator will contact you to ask for a meeting. As a dental professional, it’s imperative that you do not ignore the complaint made against you. It’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible before the investigator’s meeting. Partnering with a Florida dental license defense lawyer will allow you to create a detailed and robust reply to the investigation procedure.

An accomplished attorney can often put an end to the inquiry process before additional actions are begun. At this time, the investigative process is confidential, preventing you from facing further damage to your profession or reputation.

The Probable Cause Panel Assesses the Complaint

If the investigation secures enough evidence to move the allegation to the next step, the complaint will be reviewed by a Probable Cause Panel. That will typically involve members of the Department of Health who review the documents and evidence linked to the complaint.

Throughout this process, it’s crucial that you have your defense attorney with you and do not attempt to resolve it alone.

The panel review can result in three possible outcomes:

  • Finding “no probable cause”
  • Issuing a “letter of guidance”
  • Issuing a formal Administrative Complaint

A finding of “no probable cause” is a dismissal of the case, which means there was not enough evidence proving that you breached any rule or regulation. A “letter of guidance” is not a disciplinary action, but it’s issued when the panel discovers that a minor violation did occur. The most serious outcome is when a formal Administrative Complaint is filed against you.

Process of the Administrative Complaint

An Administrative Complaint against you describes the statements and evidence against you that was considered during the investigation and the specific laws or regulations you’re accused of violating. At this point, the complaint becomes public record. So, even if the complaint is dismissed, your reputation as a dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon can be damaged. After consulting with your lawyer, you can decide to appear at either an Informal Hearing or Formal Hearing.

Informal Hearing

If you choose to move forward with an Informal Hearing, you do not intend to dispute any of the accusations against you, nor do you plan to disclose any new evidence. Instead, you acknowledge the complaints and will face the FDOH and the Board of Dentistry. The Board will then make a final decision on what penalties will be imposed against you.

Formal Hearing

If you wish to dispute the accusations and evidence against you during the investigation, you move forward with a Formal Hearing. This hearing is before Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) and is chaired by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ hears the evidence from both sides and makes a final Recommended Order to the FDOH. The Board of Dentistry then makes a final decision concerning disciplinary actions.

If your dental license is suspended or revoked, you can appeal the decision by filing a judicial review petition. Your lawyer is your most crucial advocate when going through this process—always seek advice from them before making any decisions.

How Can a Florida Professional License Defense Lawyer Help?

At The Umansky Law Firm, our professional license defense team investigates every case extensively to uncover the relevant facts and the most effective way to protect your dental license. Sometimes, complaints against dentists, orthodontists, or oral surgeons can go to criminal court. Having an experienced criminal lawyer who handles professional license defense is the highest priority.

Umansky professional defense lawyers can help you in various ways:

  • Examine the complaint against you and develop a defense by securing evidence, documents, and witnesses that help you
  • Prevent you from incriminating yourself as you defend against the accusations
  • Defend against potential criminal charges that may result from the complaint
  • Establish the motive or bias of the person who filed the complaint against you
  • Help you respond to the Probable Cause Investigation by obtaining documents, witnesses, and other methods to establish there is no probable cause for the complaint
  • Help to attempt and get the complaint dismissed by the Probable Cause Panel
  • Argue that a guidance letter is better than a prosecution
  • Mitigate any potential punishments the FDOH may want to take
  • Present evidence, witnesses, and cross-examine State’s witnesses at a formal review hearing
  • Help challenge the findings at an informal review hearing
  • Appeal the hearing

Trusted Florida Dental Board Complaint Defense at Umansky Law Firm

If you have been accused of an offense where the DOH may revoke or suspend your license or business activities, contact The Umansky Law Firm to defend you. As accomplished trial lawyers, we are prepared to help you develop a robust defense against the claims you face, including possible dismissal of the investigation or complaint brought against you. Because we have a criminal defense experience that includes government agencies like the DOH, we are well equipped to defend you in the administrative action and help you avoid license suspension and criminal prosecution.

Attorneys with The Umansky Law Firm’s professional license defense team assist dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, and doctors. Some have experience working directly for the DOH and Department of Business and Professional Regulation. To speak with an administrative attorney today about your Florida dental license, schedule a free consultation by completing a contact form or call today at (407) 228-3838.