Professional Consequences of DUI

Not only does a DUI conviction result in harsh criminal penalties, but it also may result in negative consequences to one’s professional license.  Depending on that individual’s profession, a conviction could result in the licensing body suspending, or even terminating, his or her professional license.

The State requires practitioners in many fields, such as medical professionals, lawyers and teachers, to obtain a professional license. Here is how a DUI conviction impacts each:

Medical Professionals:
In Florida, medical professionals, such as medical doctor, doctors of osteopathy, dentists, EMTs, paramedics, advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), clinical dietitians, pharmacists, psychologists, physical therapists and registered nurses (RNs) all face consequences to their professional licenses if convicted of DUI.

Each profession – i.e., doctors, dentists, nurses – has its own respective professional Boards like the Board of MedicineBoard of Dentistry and Board of Nursing to which the medical professional must report the DUI.

Upon conviction of a DUI, the medical health professional has 30 days to report it to their respective Board, or if there is no Board to the Department of Health. Fla. Stat. § 456.072(1)(x). (For some doctors, this reporting period is reduced to 15 days.)

Similarly, any licensed practitioners with profiles with Department of Health have 15 days to update their profile upon “final activity that renders such information a fact.” Fla. Stat. § 456.042.

Doctors
The Florida Board of Medicine takes doctors convictions for DUI very seriously. Doctors convicted of DUI have 30 days to report the offense to the Board of Medicine after the conviction. Some doctors, however, depending on the type of license, only have 15 days.

After reporting the incident, the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation likely will investigate the case to ensure that the DUI did not, and will not, compromise the doctor’s work. During the investigation, the doctor may be subject to an Emergency Suspension Order (ESO) until completion.

The outcome of the investigation depends on the underlying facts of the DUI and the convicted doctor’s previous criminal record, but there likely will be consequences ranging from fines (in addition to the ones the convicted doctor paid as part of his or her criminal case) to a revocation of the doctor’s professional license. Falling in between these extremes, the Board could mandate random drug and alcohol testing, counseling, probation or impose a suspension.

Likewise, if the Board suspects ongoing substance abuse, the professional could be required to submit to evaluation and enrollment in the Professional Resource Network (PRN) as part of the Impaired Practitioners Program.

If you are a doctor in South Florida or the Treasure Coast, and face a DUI charge, contact Michael White for a free in-depth consultation about your case. Not only can he help with the criminal charges, but also with the administrative proceedings to help protect your medical license.

Dentists
The Florida Board of Dentistry also requires dentists to report their DUI conviction within 30 days.

Upon completion of the case, dentists need to submit certified copies of the court documents showing the date and outcome of the charge, a certified copy of any disciplinary actions taken in result of the conviction (probation, DUI school, interlock, etc.), and a detailed letter explaining the circumstances of the charge. The Board expects this letter to include details about any underlying issues occurring with the convicted dentist when the DUI happened, as well as an explanation of what the dentist learned and what he or she has done to demonstrate rehabilitation.

Moreover, because a DUI involves alcohol, and potential abuse, the dentist may be required to submit to an evaluation and in enrollment in the Professional Resource Network (PRN) as part of the Impaired Practitioners Program.

If you are a dentist in South Florida or the Treasure Coast, and face a DUI charge, contact Michael White for a free in-depth consultation about your case. Not only can he help with the criminal charges, but also with the administrative proceedings to help protect your dentist’s license.

Nurses
In Florida, nurses have 30 days to report their DUI conviction to the Florida Board of Nursing. As the Board investigates, the nurse may be subject to an Emergency Suspension Order (ESO).

The Florida Board of Nursing decides on all disciplinary actions decide whether or not to conduct an investigation. Although a first-time DUI is not likely to lead to a license revocation, subsequent DUIs often carry harsher penalties.

Because a DUI involves the use of drugs or alcohol, nurses may be required to submit an evaluation or enroll in an Impaired Nurses Program (IPN), part of the Impaired Practitioners Program.

If you are a nurse in South Florida or the Treasure Coast, and face a DUI charge, contact Michael White for a free in-depth consultation about your case. Not only can he help with the criminal charges, but also with the administrative proceedings to help protect your nurse’s license.

Therapists
In Florida, therapists must report DUIs to the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. The Board will impose penalties ranging from $1000 fine to a permanent revocation of the therapist’s professional license. A second DUI conviction results in minimum of a $1000 fine and a one-year suspension from practicing therapy. A third DUI conviction results in a minimum of a $2,500 fine and a two-year suspension from practicing therapy.

Moreover, because a DUI involves alcohol, and potential abuse, the therapist may be required to submit to an evaluation and in enrollment in the Professional Resource Network (PRN) as part of the Impaired Practitioners Program.

If you are a therapist in South Florida or the Treasure Coast, and face a DUI charge, contact Michael White for a free in-depth consultation about your case. Not only can he help with the criminal charges, but also with the administrative proceedings to help protect your therapist’s license.

Lawyers
In Florida, lawyers must report a felony charge to the Florida Bar within 10 days of the filing of the information or the grand jury indictment.

The Bar, in turn, files a “Notice of Determination of Judgment of Guilt”, and immediately suspends the lawyer. Immediately after the Bar files this Notice, the accused lawyer can file a petition to modify or terminate the Bar’s suspension. The Supreme Court of Florida will then appoint a committee to hear any petitions on suspension and decide upon sanctions for the lawyer.

Discipline for a Florida lawyer facing a felony charge may include disbarment, suspension, public reprimand, diversion to practice, probation, and a disciplinary resignation. Although the rules are less punitive for a misdemeanor accusation, the Florida Bar does not look upon any criminal activity favorably, and mandates that it be immediately reported. 

Teachers 
In Florida, local school districts decide whether a DUI conviction must be reported or not.

A conviction may trigger a disciplinary hearing that could lead to the Department of Education imposing sanctions against the teacher’s Florida Educator Certificate.

If the Department takes disciplinary action against a teacher because of a DUI charge, the teacher may have to appear in front of the Teacher Hearing Panel of the Education Practices Commission, which will decide the outcome of the case.

Districts tend to be more forgiving towards a first DUI offense than they are with subsequent ones.

If you are a teacher in South Florida or the Treasure Coast, and face a DUI charge, contact Michael White for a free in-depth consultation about your case. Not only can he help with the criminal charges, but also with the administrative proceedings to help protect your Certificate.

Professional Consequences Of Dui