Practicing Medicine Without a License (Unauthorized Practice) – California Business and Professions Code BPC 2052

Posted by Raoul Severo | Nov 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

Practicing medicine without a license is a criminal offense. This act covers the practice or the attempt to practice or advertise practicing any medical treatment without the law's permission. Doing so would endanger the lives of many. That is why the state of California enacted Business and Professions Code BPC 2052 to criminalize the act and discourage people from risking others' lives. As an important note, inflicting harm, illness, or injury to a patient is not required to qualify as violating this statute. Practicing medicine involves diagnosing and prescribing medications to treat any existing conditions.

BPC 2052

California Business and Professions code is the statute that prohibits the act of practicing medicine without license. It states that notwithstanding BPC 146, any person who practices or attempts to practice, or who advertises or holds himself or herself out as practicing, any system or mode of treating the sick or afflicted in this state, or who diagnoses, treats, operates for, or prescribes for any ailment, blemish, deformity, disease, disfigurement, disorder, injury, or other physical or mental condition of any person, without having at the time of so doing a valid, unrevoked, or unsuspended certificate as provided in this chapter or without being authorized to perform the act pursuant to a certificate obtained in accordance with some other provision of law is guilty of a public offense, punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both the fine and either imprisonment.

Any person who conspires with or aids or abets another to commit any act described in this statute is guilty of a public offense, subject to the punishment described in that subdivision.

The remedy provided in this section shall not preclude any other remedy provided by law.


Ian wanted to be a doctor, but he did not get into any medical school. Despite not having any educational credentials to back it up, he started practicing medicine.

Joseph moved in from another state, and he was a licensed physician in that state. However, his license was revoked because of medical malpractice. He tried to open a new clinic in California to continue treating patients.

Penalties for practicing medicine without license

Violation California BPC 2052 is a wobbler. Wobbler offenses are criminal acts that may be tried as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the case's circumstances vis-a-vis its severity.

When charged as a misdemeanor, the punishment is:

  • Incarceration of up to one (1) year in county jail; and/or
  • Paying a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).

When charged as a felony, the punishment is:

  • Incarceration of sixteen (16) months, up to three (3) years in a county or state prison; and/or
  • Paying a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

As an alternative to jail, convicted offenders can also be subjected to probation if the court sees it fit. Summary probation for misdemeanor offenders while formal probation for felons.

Legal Defense

When facing BPC 2052 charges because of unauthorized practice by practicing without a license, here are some of the most common defense that the defendant's legal counsel frequently uses:

  • The defendant did not practice medicine hence not meeting the legal definition of unlawful practice; and/or
  • The defendant was falsely accused of practicing medicine without a license.

Legal Support

If you or someone you know has been wrongfully accused of violating BPC 2052 by practicing medicine without a license, it would be the concerned party's best interest to seek the help of our California-based criminal defense lawyers. They can help you seek compensations for the troubles inflicted upon you or your acquaintance's person or sue them for the false allegations that can gravely affect the concerned party and his/her professional reputation.

Related Laws

  • California Business and Professions Code BPC 2054 – Unlawful Use of Professional Terms and Titles
  • California Health and Safety Code HSC 11153 – Prescribing a Controlled Substance Without a Legitimate Purpose
  • California Health and Safety Code HSC 11154a – Prescribing a Controlled Substance Without Treatment
  • California Health and Safety Code HSC 11162.5 – Counterfeit Prescription Blank

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