36-7-25. Unprofessional conduct defined--No basis for criminal prosecution.

The term, unprofessional conduct, as used in this chapter, means:

(1)    Any conduct of a character likely to deceive or defraud the public;

(2)    The loaning of a license by any licensed optometrist or any person or corporation;

(3)    Violating any provision of this chapter or any rule promulgated by the board;

(4)    Splitting or dividing a fee or compensation with any person or corporation;

(5)    The obtaining of any fee or compensation by fraud or misrepresentation;

(6)    Employing, either directly or indirectly, any suspended or unlicensed optometrist to perform any work covered by this chapter;

(7)    The advertising of optometric practice, treatment, advice, or costs in which untruthful, improbable, misleading, or impossible statements are made;

(8)    Failure to maintain adequate safety and sanitary conditions, or meet the requirements of an optometric clinic in accordance with the standards set forth in this chapter and any rule promulgated by the board in accordance with chapter 1-26;

(9)    Inappropriate prescribing to any person in quantities and under circumstances apparent to the board that the prescription was not made for legitimate medicinal purposes related to the practice optometry, or prescribing in a manner or in amounts that, in the opinion of the board, endanger the wellbeing of a patient or the public in general;

(10)    The failure to refer a patient to a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 36-4 if examination of the eye indicates a substantial likelihood of pathology that requires the attention of a physician;

(11)    Any conviction of a criminal offense related to the practice of optometry;

(12)    Consistently misdiagnosing or consistently prescribing improper therapy;

(13)    Failing to hold in professional confidence all information concerning a patient;

(14)    Failing to comply with state and federal laws on keeping records regarding possessing and dispensing controlled substances or habit-forming drugs;

(15)    Falsifying the records of a patient;

(16)    Exercising influence within the optometrist-patient relationship for the purpose of engaging a patient in sexual activity. For purposes of this subdivision, the patient is presumed incapable of giving free, full, and informed consent to sexual activity with the optometrist;

(17)    Engaging in sexual harassment;

(18)    Any practice or conduct that tends to constitute a danger to the health, welfare, or safety of patients or the public, or engaging in conduct that is unbecoming of an optometrist;

(19)    Discipline by the licensing board of another state or territory under United States jurisdiction if the violation is also a violation of this chapter or any rule promulgated by the board;

(20)    Not reporting discipline by a licensing board of another state or territory under United States jurisdiction to the board; and

(21)    Not reporting a conviction of a criminal offense arising out of the practice of optometry to the board.

Unprofessional conduct, as defined in this section, may not be the basis for criminal prosecution unless otherwise declared unlawful.

Source: SDC 1939, § 27.0707; SL 1951, ch 131, § 4; SL 1979, ch 253, § 6; SL 1983, ch 270, § 2; SL 2013, ch 173, § 5; SL 2022, ch 147, § 15.