FAQs – Clients Frequently Ask These Questions
Why and when do I need an attorney?
Physicians and most healthcare workers have made immense investments of time and money into earning the right and license to work as a professional in the field. When a patient complains about sexual misconduct to a civil lawyer, the police, a reporter, or a state medical license board, your freedom, license to practice, assets and income are at risk regardless of the veracity of the complaint. If you even sense that a sexual misconduct, sex abuse, sexual assault, or related complaint might be made against you, it is important that you speak with a criminal defense lawyer with experience in sexual misconduct complaints against physicians. More proactive defense strategies are available to your attorney with early notice rather than when the Doctor Arrested headlines appear.
What should I do if I am contacted by the police or a state licensing board investigator?
While any physician facing a false claim of sexual misconduct will want to quickly give his side of the story to clear his name, this is unfortunately impossible. When the police make an inquiry, they are already trying to make a case and anything you say might be misinterpreted, taken out of context, or be seen in an incorrect light framed by the “facts” presented in the patient’s statement. The same applies to questions from a state licensing board investigator. Your best and only answer should be to politely request their name, title, and phone number and promise that your attorney will call them. An experienced physician sexual misconduct lawyer will be able to quickly discover the details of what claims have been made against you and only then, give voice to your defense.
What can I do if I get a call from a reporter?
A Doctor Arrested on Sex Charge headline is a career win for a journalist so you should anticipate any questions from a reporter are framed in this context. As with the police investigating the sex crime allegation or the licensing board looking for grounds to revoke your medical license, a doctor should politely (and repeatedly if necessary) request the name, title, and phone number of the caller and say your attorney will be in touch. Then hang up or walk away. While police are required to end questioning when a suspect tells them they want to speak with an attorney, a reporter has no such restrictions. They will continue questioning so long as you allow it, often trying to goad you into a newsworthy outburst. While that would be a natural reaction to false accusations, do not fall into this trap. Get the name and number, then disconnect the call.
Should I reach out to the claimant or her family to straighten things out?
No, absolutely not. While it might seem logical to call a patient who makes a sexual misconduct claim to see what the mistake might be or to speak with her family about a quick settlement, this call might be the most damaging action you could take with regards to your case. Obviously something is already seriously awry in the doctor-patient relationship, although possibly only a matter of miscommunication of words or actions, and the patient is angry or feeling threatened or outright lying. No matter what you say in a call or in person you leave yourself open to a He-Said She-Said situation if she claims you threatened her, tried to pay her off, or were stalking her. It is then your word against hers. The fact will be that you did make the call and juries typically side with a “scared” female accuser over physicians who are too often perceived as arrogant.
What defenses are available to a criminal charge related to medical sexual misconduct?
For an attorney, defending a sex crime charge against a physician involves challenging every piece of evidence, the credibility of witnesses and some twenty other strategies but there are legally accepted defenses for a physician charged with some sort of sexual misconduct:
- Clinically appropriate conduct
Each of these can be a complete defense under the law to a criminal charge or civil claim when a patient is claiming sexual misconduct.
What should I do if I am arrested?
If you are arrested it is important that you do not give permission to search your office, vehicle, or home even if you are certain you have nothing to hide. Similarly you should not speak to the police and you should immediately tell them you want to speak to your lawyer. Absent a warrant (or a few other isolated exceptions) they cannot search your premises and they must cease their questions when you have clearly requested the chance to speak to an attorney. You must not be equivocal here but must clearly state that you do not want to answer any questions until you have a chance to speak with your attorney. Be quiet and polite. Do not believe anything the police might tell you regarding the case as they are allowed some measure of trickery in dealing with people accused of crimes. Do not engage in friendly conversation with the police or with anyone you meet during the booking process. You will be given the chance to call an attorney who will then get to work on your release.
Why choose The Pattis Law Firm?
Sexual misconduct cases are among the most complex for an attorney as the lawyer must simultaneously balance the very-different rules and realities of license revocation hearings, criminal prosecutions, and civil suits. For instance, while you can claim a Fifth Amendment right not to answer any question in a criminal case, and can do the same in a medical license revocation hearing, that claim cannot be held against you in the criminal case but it is admissible in the medical license hearing. Pattis Law Firm attorneys are frequently involved in these cases as well as defending other sex crimes and professional misconduct cases, and can execute the best overall defense. Most important, we work quickly and aggressively to have charges dismissed, civil suits dropped or settled, and your professional license and reputation restored at the earliest possible moment.
To learn your rights and protect your reputation and freedom, connect with us right away: