The Effects of a DUI on your Medical License
While most people understand the dangers of drinking and driving, a DUI charge is often a person’s first criminal charge. Being the subject of a DUI traffic stop, undergoing sobriety tests, and ultimately being placed under arrest can send your heart and mind racing. It’s understandable to become anxious about your future and even angry at the fact that you might have been unfairly targeted for a sobriety test.
Although a first DUI offense in Florida is a misdemeanor crime, a conviction can lead to criminal penalties such as incarceration, license suspension, community service, and court fines and fees. For those with professional licenses, such as medical licenses, the consequences don’t stop there. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others practicing medicine must tackle many other challenges upon a DUI conviction.
Reporting Your Conviction to the State Medical Board
Each state has a licensing board that applies a different procedure for medical license applications and holds different standards for background checks. Florida is one of 36 states in which a medical professional must pass a background check before obtaining his medical license.
A medical professional who faces DUI charges must follow the rules when reporting the offense to the medical board. Doctors, nurses, and others have just 30 days to report a DUI conviction. Depending on the license, an individual may have just 15 days to update their online medical profile.
State medical boards take DUI convictions very seriously. Drug and alcohol crimes will likely instigate disciplinary action against you. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Health typically launch investigations against medical professionals with DUI convictions to ensure that their work was not compromised by the DUI incident.
If you must report your DUI conviction per Florida statute §458.331, your license may be temporarily suspended or permanently revoked depending on the nature of your offense and your criminal history.
Sanctions Against Medical Professionals
Upon the conclusion of the investigation, medical boards may issue sanctions against professionals with DUI convictions. These sanctions are separate from and in addition to any criminal and administrative penalties the individuals may have already suffered in the criminal justice system and from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Examples of possible sanctions upon a DUI conviction as a medical doctor are somewhat similar to criminal penalties. They may include:
- Random alcohol and drug testing
- Mandatory counseling
- A “Letter of Concern” in the professional’s file
- The revocation of the professional license
Sanctions can significantly damage a medical professional’s reputation and career, which is why professionals should not settle for mediocre legal representation immediately after arrest.
Will My Career be Destroyed?
If you are a medical doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other medical professional facing a DUI charge, it doesn’t have to be the end of your career. DUI charges are fairly common in medicine due to the high-stress nature of the job. State licensing boards primarily show concern for practitioners with addiction and dependency issues that would prevent them from practicing medicine safely.
If you get a DUI, you have a high chance of facing serious repercussions from the medical board; however, it is not a guarantee that you will lose your career. It’s important to report your DUI to the state medical board in a timely manner and cooperate with their investigation. We can refer you to health care lawyers who can assist you with the board. It’s also important to talk to a DUI lawyer with experience representing doctors, nurses, and others who practice medicine about your case.
Doctor DUI Defense in Orlando
At the Umansky Law Firm, our team of highly-skilled defense attorneys have decades of experience helping people overcome DUI charges. We have over 100 years of combined experience practicing criminal law in Orlando that we will put to work for you to preserve your medical license and avoid the worst consequences of your DUI. Contact us by calling or send us an email.