A DUI does not need to be a career ending event for licensed health professionals. However, a DUI conviction is a serious event and can have collateral consequences that threaten not only your license, but your career and reputation, if not properly and timely handled.
The Department of Health and professional licensing boards view nurses, physicians and other licensed health professionals with DUI and DWI offenses as a risk to the public. Therefore, the fines and sanctions are significant. They include:
- Fines ranging from $500-$10,000
- Revocation of license, including licenses in other states
- Random drug and alcohol testing
- Mandatory attendance at counseling or recovery programs
- Letter of Concern placed in file
- Loss of employment
- Increased difficulty in finding future employment
The board has a vast range of fines and sanctions they can impose on you as a result of a DUI and DWI. They generally consider prior criminal history and disciplinary actions, length of time in the profession, rehabilitation efforts, restitution, financial hardship, extent of the drug or alcohol problem, deterrent effect of penalty imposed, and actual damage caused by violation when determining the sanction they will impose on you.
It is best to contact a professional licensing attorney before reporting a DUI or DWI to the relevant board. A professional licensing attorney knows how to properly report the offense and what to do to place you in the best position before the board. If you have already reported your DUI or DWI and received notice of a subsequent action against your license, contact a professional licensing attorney as soon as possible. You still have options but need to be very careful in how and when you respond to the board or investigator.
All too often, health professionals contact the impairment programs (PRN, IPN, HPRP, OPHP, etc.) believing that these programs will help protect their professional license from discipline. While these programs may help, they are very invasive, expensive and may still end in formal disciplinary action.
We strongly encourage nurses, physicians, and licensed health professionals facing a DUI contact our attorneys as soon as possible to discuss their options. Our attorneys have extensive experience assisting licensed professionals with DUIs. If you have already retained a DUI attorney, we can work with our DUI attorney to ensure that your DUI is handled in the best possible way to protect your license. If you have already been convicted of a DUI, we can assist you in reporting the conviction to the board and help negotiate a favorable outcome. All too often we are called to help after a licensing action has concluded, and in some cases we are unable to help. It is also more expensive to attempt to reverse a licensing action than it is to attempt to prevent a negative outcome.