Becoming a paramedic or an EMT in Orange County is a rigorous process involving advanced education and training and examinations. After the examinations, the licensing process begins where you must meet certain conditions, have your criminal history examined, and be held at high standards of professional conduct.
Being a licensed paramedic or EMT in Orange County means that you have to be careful in your professional and personal conduct; suspicions and allegations of violating the terms of your profession could result in the temporary or permanent loss of your license.
The Legal Guardian works closely with paramedics and EMTs, helping them fight for their license and livelihood. We help you tell your side of the story and seek the best way to protect your career.
Overview of Paramedic/EMT License Defense in Orange County
Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics are at the forefront, offering patients pre-hospital care and basic life support. They are the first responders to calls where people are injured, such as in fire accidents, car crashes, robberies leading to injuries, and domestic violence.
The direct contact you have with patients as a paramedic or an EMT places you in a position of high responsibility. You must ensure that you exercise caution and professional conduct to ensure the patient's safety and maintain high professional standards.
As such, you are at a high risk of losing your license, and all you have worked for through allegations or confirmed instances of misconduct.
Some of the common violations that result in denial, suspension, or revocation of your EMT or paramedic license include:
- Fraudulent activity when acquiring your certification or license
- Gross negligence
- Repeated acts of negligence
- Committing fraudulent, corrupt, or dishonest acts that are substantially related to the qualifications, duties, and functions of paramedics or EMT personnel
- You are convicted of a crime that is substantially related to the function, duties, and qualifications of pre-hospital personnel.
- Violations or attempted violations of regulations pertaining to pre-hospital staff (assisting or abetting the violation of these regulations could also result in the revocation, suspension, or denial of your license.)
- Violating, attempting to violate, aiding, or abetting a violation of federal and state regulations governing controlled substances, dangerous drugs, and narcotics.
- You have substance abuse problems, including addiction, excessive use, or misuse of dangerous drugs, alcoholic beverages, narcotics, and other controlled substances.
- Unprofessional conduct such as mistreatment or abuse of patients, failure to uphold client confidentiality (unless permitted by law), and the commission of a sex crime prohibited under Penal Code 290.
How Your Criminal History Affects Your Paramedic or EMT License
Committing some crimes, before or after your certification, could affect your licensing status in California. Since 2010, the Orange County Emergency Medical Services (OCEMS) requires candidates to perform state and federal background checks before their certification. You must submit livescan fingerprints if:
- You are an initial EMT applicant
- You want to renew your license, which has expired or lapsed for more than a year
- You are changing your certifying entity (for example, moving from the Los Angeles county agency to the Orange County agency.
- You completed the live scan more than a year ago and are applying for your initial EMT certification.
The OCEMS will receive a notification of past and current offenses you are charged with or convicted for, after which it can issue you a notification of disciplinary action.
Usually, a criminal history or conviction will have different effects on your license. Some could lead to the suspension, revocation, or denial of your license.
The OCEMS will deny or revoke your paramedic or EMT license if:
- You commit a sex crime as defined under penal code 290.
- You have been convicted of any offense related to murder (murder for hire, murder, or attempted murder).
- You have two or more felony convictions or are currently on parole or probation for a felony.
- You have been convicted for at least two misdemeanors in the last five years pertaining to the possession, use, sale, or transportation of narcotics, dangerous drugs, or controlled substances.
- You have at least two misdemeanor convictions for offenses related to violence, force, threat, or intimidation in the last five years.
- You have a theft-related misdemeanor conviction in the last five years.
- You have committed a crime involving fraud or dishonesty for personal gains within the previous seven years.
Most convictions will lead to the denial or revocation of your license unless that conviction is expunged or you received a governor’s pardon.
With the right counsel and steps, you can still be certified, albeit after a probationary period. You can talk to a license attorney to help you understand the options you have and the steps you could take to be certified and licensed as a paramedic or EMT in Orange County.
Paramedic and EMT Disciplinary Process
The disciplinary process often begins with a complaint from a co-worker, an employer, a nurse, a physician, the patient, or a family member.
The complainant will file a Paramedic Investigation Request Form (usually to the best knowledge of the complainant.
Once the complainant submits the request to the chief investigator, they will delegate the follow-up activities to another member of the emergency services authority.
The investigator from the EMSA might choose to take disciplinary action after the investigation or drop the matter. If they choose to take action, you will receive a notification about the investigation and the alleged violations.
Most paramedics and EMTs give up on their careers at this stage, believing they cannot defend themselves or their licenses. However, you have the right to defend yourself, and with the help of a license defense attorney, you can negotiate and settle the matter.
Your case can settle either in an out-of-court setting or through the decision of an administrative judge.
Whichever path your case takes, these factors must be considered before the EMSA, or the administrative judge imposes any certification action:
- The nature and severity of the acts, offenses, or crimes necessitating disciplinary action
- The harm these actions, crimes, or offenses have caused or could cause the public.
- The actual or potential harm to patients
- Your prior disciplinary record
- Prior warning or remediation on your record
- The number and extent of the current violations
- Aggravating and mitigating factors
- Rehabilitation evidence
- Your compliance with terms of probation or sentence if the action is a result of a criminal conviction
- Your criminal record
- The time since actions, crimes, or offenses occurred
- Evidence of expungement (for criminal convictions that you have expunged pursuant to PC 1203.4
- Prior disciplinary action from your employer
Disciplinary regulations present the minimum and maximum action that the LEMSA could impose for certain violations. These disciplinary actions are as follows:
- For fraudulent actions in the procurement of a certificate or license, the maximum action is the revocation or denial of your license. The minimum action the administrative judge could impose is a six-month revocation or denial of your license.
- For offenses involving gross negligence (extreme carelessness), the maximum penalty is a revocation of your sentence. The minimum action is a revocation of your license or three years on conditional probation.
- If you are facing disciplinary action for repeated acts of negligence, you could suffer a license revocation or a minimum penalty of one-year conditional probation (revocation stayed).
- The maximum action the judge could impose for incompetence is a revocation of your license, and the minimum action is one-year conditional probation. You can continue practicing as an EMT or paramedic with a restricted license.
- Suppose the violation involves the commission of fraudulent, dishonest, or corrupt acts that are substantially related to the duties, functions, and qualifications of pre-hospital personnel. In that case, the judge could impose a maximum action of revoking your license. At the least, the judge will subject you to probation.
- Convictions for crimes that are substantially related to the duties, functions, and qualifications of pre-hospital personnel attract a revocation at the maximum and probation at the minimum.
- Violations attempts to violate, aiding, or abetting the violation of provisions from the authority attracts a revocation as the maximum penalty and probation as the minimum action.
In most cases, the judge will revoke your license as the maximum penalty. Other times, your license will be suspended for a while and you will be placed on probation.
Alternatively, they will impose probation where you will operate under a restricted license for the specified period. People charged with violations related to drug offenses might qualify for a diversion program.
Probation is a less serious penalty for violating any terms by the EMSA. You can continue working during the probation period, but you must adhere to the standard conditions the judge imposes. Some of these conditions include:
- You must fully comply with all the terms and conditions of probation, including cooperating with the LEMSA to evaluate, monitor, and investigate your compliance with probationary terms and conditions.
- You must appear in person for interviews, meetings, and evaluations of your probation compliance as the LEMSA directs.
- You must submit quarterly reports, which certify that you are complying with all the terms of your probation. Lying in these reports could result in perjury charges.
- You are to notify the LEMSA about employment as pre-hospital personnel, including informing the LEMSA about prospective employers before you accept employment. You must also disclose to your prospective employer and submit written proof of disclosure to the LEMSA the terms of your probation. You must also authorize your employer to submit reports, including performance reports upon request by the LEMSA.
- You must notify the LEMSA of termination of your employment with the current EMS employer regardless of the reason for termination. You must provide the notification or termination within 72 hours after the termination providing detailed explanations of the reasons and circumstances of the termination in writing.
- You must notify the LEMSA immediately if you leave California (and are practicing in another state). You must also notify the LEMSA upon your return to California. (Your probation period counts only if you are within California).
- You must obey all the related federal, state, and local laws governing the practice of medical care as EMS personnel. You must also submit a notification within 72 hours if you are cited or criminally charged for any offense and provide a detailed account of the circumstances of the offense.
- You must complete the probationary term upon which your license certification will be fully restored.
- Failure to comply with any terms of probation could lead to the termination of your probation and revocation or suspension of your license.
The conditions above are mandatory conditions that every practitioner on probation must adhere to. The following are some of the optional conditions of probation:
- You must abstain from the possession or consumption of all controlled substances, drugs that require a prescription, and dangerous drugs unless they are designated as part of medical treatment by federal or state laws. If you do obtain the prescribed medication, you must ensure that within 14 days, the prescribing professional submits a written report identifying the date of prescription, the medication, dosage, your diagnosis, and the time when the prescription runs out. You should also ensure that the prescribing professional submits this report within 14 days of the commencement of your probation if you had the prescription before you were placed on probation.
- You must abstain from using alcoholic beverages.
- You must submit to routine and random tests or drug screenings as the LEMSA directs. You will go for these screenings and tests at a LEMSA-approved lab.
- You must enroll in a drug detoxification program within the stipulated timeline and participate in the program until a designated medical supervisor determines that you are sufficiently rehabilitated. Voluntary withdrawal or expulsion from the program will count as a violation of your probation.
- You must provide proof of enrollment and completion of educational coursework as directed by the LEMSA. You must present evidence of completing the ordered coursework (including the certificate or letter of completion) within 35 after you complete the coursework.
- You must complete an ethics course approved by the LEMSA during the probation period and submit proof of completion after completing the course.
- You shall enroll and participate in a court-approved stress or anger management program during the probation period and submit proof of completion.
Why You Need a Lawyer
When charged with a professional violation or informed of action against their license, most people will fail to respond to defend themselves. You, therefore, end up losing your license and career at the same time.
Those who are proactive after an accusation often end up saving their licenses and their career. You could end up clearing your name or getting a lesser punishment. A license defense attorney can do the following to help you with your paramedic or EMT career:
- Help you file an appeal if your license is denied upon an application. Since the OCEMS will file the statement of issues, your attorney will defend you before the administrative judge to help you be approved for certification as an EMS in Orange County.
- Defense to achieve the dismissal of the allegations of violations that you are facing (especially where the evidence against you is insufficient)
- Attaining probation instead of license suspension or revocation which helps you continue practicing
- Defense services in case you are accused of violating the terms of your probation
An attorney has the legal background that increases the chances of getting a better outcome after an administrative hearing or during an out of court settlement.
Assuming that you represent yourself, you are supposed to understand the deadlines, paperwork, costs, and regulations that govern the EMT/Paramedic disciplinary process.
You must familiarize yourself with the common disciplinary terminology to ensure that you understand the judge's decision.
An attorney will represent your story on your behalf without incriminating you and help you present witnesses who strengthen your defense.
Your attorney will also guide you on the accusation, the potential outcomes and consequences, and the steps you could take to protect your license and career.
Find an Orange County EMS License Defense Attorney Near Me
Working as an EMS in Orange County requires dedication and time investment to get licensing. EMS personnel must go through rigorous examinations and approval processes, with some facing denials over mistakes.
When you are working or seeking licensure as an EMS, second chances are rare; the first minor mistake could lead to charges of a violation and adverse action such as the denial, suspension, or revocation of your license.
The Legal Guardian understands the time, effort, and money it takes to become a certified paramedic or EMT in Orange County, and the requirements to constantly renew your license and update information such as arrests and conviction.
We are also aware of the high stakes when your license is on the line. We are committed to offering license defense services to help you keep practicing.
We understand the statutes governing the EMS practice and the inner workings of administrative courts. We are prepared to defend your license and that you continue offering patients emergency care services.
Contact us at 888-293-0396 if you have any concerns about your paramedic or EMT license.