Man Arrested in West Palm Beach for Providing Illegal Dental Services
People often feel like they’re qualified to offer advice and assistance in areas in which they are not. For example, after watching a legal drama, someone might feel equipped to give a friend legal advice. After watching a medical television show, someone else might feel ready to diagnose a family member’s symptoms.
Take a lesson from a certain 43-year-old man who was arrested this week in West Palm Beach. Because he offered undercover police officers illegal “dental” services (installing so-called “grills”) at an outdoor flea market, he was arrested and charged with a number of crimes.
On Friday, an arrest warrant was issued for Yousef Abuelhawa after an investigation into a business which he operated out of the Sunshine Flea Market, located on South Military Trail in west Palm Beach. Law enforcement officers, after receiving a complaint about the business, had set up an undercover operation whereby one of them posed as a prospective client. The defendant, as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert understand, met with an undercover investigator and, according to WPTV.com, advised them on the pricing of gold moldings for her teeth. Allegedly, the defendant offered to make custom gold teeth (grills) for $250.00.
What might have been the final straw, though, was when he told her that he would be the one doing the procedure.
The central problem here, as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, is that Abuelhawa does not have a license to practice dentistry in the State of Florida. As such, he was arrested and taken into custody and charged with practicing dental hygiene without a license, operating a non-registered dental laboratory, and being a non-licensed person in control of dental equipment.
As of yesterday, Abuelhawa, the defendant in this case, was still in Palm Beach County jail. This case, the investigation for which was conducted by both the Florida Department of Health’s West Palm Beach Unlicensed Activity Unit and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, highlights the degree to which practicing medicine is taken seriously in Florida. Although you might think that installing “grills” onto someone’s teeth is hardly practicing medicine, if prosecutors can justify including that in the definition of dentistry, it might as well be. As a general rule of thumb, you should always err on the side of caution when it comes to potentially ambiguous areas of the law.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal defense issue, or if you’ve been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you.