As a medical professional, you undoubtedly take your role very seriously. The lives and wellbeing of patients are in your hands each day. You would never treat a patient if you knew you were impaired, and you would not take chances at work if it meant jeopardizing your physician or nursing license.
However, are you aware that your personal life can also affect your ability to work in the medical field? Even when you are off duty, the California board that governs your profession has a strict code of conduct you must follow. While you may never work under the influence, you may face disciplinary action for a DUI on your day off.
Your license on the line
Upholding the high standards of the health care industry is part of the duty of the board of licensing for your profession. While a DUI conviction may not indicate that you are a danger to your patients, the licensing board will likely investigate it anyway to get a more complete picture of the incident. For example, did your DUI occur while you were on your way to work at the hospital? Did you have an extremely high blood alcohol concentration? Do you have other alcohol-related convictions in your past?
In most cases, it is your duty to report any DUI conviction to the board responsible for your licensing. It is critical to consider the benefits of having legal counsel before you take this step. Going before a disciplinary board to defend against a DUI conviction means you are already at a disadvantage, and you will have to demonstrate that you are not a danger to your patients. Doing this on your own may be overwhelming.
Reach out for help
Losing your license, even for a temporary suspension, means losing your livelihood. This can have a devastating effect on your family and your future. Even if a court does not convict you of DUI, there is a chance the licensing board will take disciplinary action, depending on the circumstances.
You do not want to face the board without strong support and solid guidance. Avoiding making a mistake at this time is critical. You may have only one chance to prove you are fit to continue in the medical field. With the right advocate, you may be able to present a strong case that will protect your professional license.