Falsifying or altering medical records is a crime in Florida. Among other penalties, health care professionals who are convicted of altering or falsifying medical and patient records can also face license consequences. The potential consequences and penalties of a conviction for falsifying medical records make it important for anyone working within the health care field who is accused of this type of offense to get immediate help from a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer who is experienced in handling these types of cases at Hassett & Associates, P.A.
Recent Case Involving False Accusation of Falsifying Medical Records
Recently, attorney Kenneth Hassett was retained by a health care worker who had been wrongfully accused of falsifying a patient’s medical records. Knowing the types of penalties and consequences she was facing and relying on his nearly 30 years of experience defending people against criminal accusations, he immediately got to work and began negotiating with the prosecutor who had been assigned to handle his client’s case.
What Is Falsifying Medical Records in Florida?
Under § 395.302, Fla. Stat. (2021), it is illegal for anyone to fraudulently falsify, alter, or deface a patient’s medical records. It is also illegal for someone to cause someone else to falsify, alter, or deface a medical record with the intent to deceive someone else.
This type of offense is commonly alleged against doctors, nurses, and other health care workers when patients file claims of medical malpractice against hospitals and other licensed health care facilities in Florida and the medical records do not reflect what the patients believe has occurred. In some cases, however, health care workers might alter records to try to conceal issues with their medical care.
When someone is charged with falsifying medical records, the stakes are high for him or her. A conviction could mean the person will have a criminal record, face criminal penalties and fines, and potentially lose their licenses and careers.
What Are the Penalties for Falsifying Medical Records in Florida?
Falsifying medical records in Florida is a misdemeanor of the second degree. While some people might think that misdemeanor convictions are not serious, this particular misdemeanor conviction can result in a person’s license to practice as a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional being restricted, suspended, or terminated. In addition, under § 775.082, Fla. Stat. (2021), a second-degree misdemeanor conviction in Florida can result in a sentence to jail for up to 60 days. Under § 775.083, Fla. Stat. (2021), a person who is convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor can also face a fine of up to $500.
This meant that attorney Hassett’s client faced the potential loss of her license, having a criminal record, and potential jail time and fines if she was convicted. A conviction for this type of offense could also have been career-ending and could have resulted in other collateral consequences.
Positive Outcome for the Client
Attorney Hassett met with the assigned prosecutor multiple times, relying on his legal knowledge and experience to negotiate on his client’s behalf. His work paid off. Through his negotiating skills, he convinced the prosecutor not to arrest his client and not to file any formal criminal charges against her. This allowed her to avoid having a criminal record and continue to practice in the health care field.
Contact an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer
This case illustrates how important it is to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale as soon as you learn that you are under investigation for a crime or have been charged. If you are dealing with a similar situation, you should contact Hassett & Associates, P.A. as soon as possible to schedule a consultation by calling (954) 791-3939.