Is Medical Licence Suspended F You Plead Nolo Contendere to Drug Offenses ?

In Horvat v. Department of State Professional and Occupational Affairs, 128 Pa. Commw. 546, 563 A.2d 1308 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1989), a physician pled nolo contendere to two felony drug offenses and received two consecutive twelve-month sentences of probation without verdict under section 17 of the Drug Act. Without a hearing, or the opportunity for a hearing, the State Board of Medicine suspended the physician's license pursuant to section 40(b) of the Medical Practice Act of 1985 (MPA). The physician filed a petition for review with this court, arguing that the plea of nolo contendere does not constitute a "conviction" under Carlson because, if the physician completes his probationary period, the charges will be dismissed and his record will be expunged. This court held that Carlson did not apply because the physician's record had not yet been expunged. This court explained that the board "cannot be required to wait until the completion of the physician's probationary period to decide if the physician's continued medical practice presents a risk to the citizens of this Commonwealth." Horvat, 563 A.2d at 1310.