Does a DUI Affect Your Nursing License or Medical License?

Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs

How to Protect Your Nursing, Physician or Professional License When Convicted of a DUI or DWI

A DUI does not need to be a career-ending event for licensed health professionals. However, a DUI or DWI conviction is a serious event and can have collateral consequences that, if not properly and timely handled, threaten not only your license, but also your career and reputation.

The Department of Health and professional licensing boards — such as the state Board of Medicine, Board of Nursing, Board of Dentistry, Board of Pharmacy and Board of Chiropractic Medicine — view nurses, physicians and other licensed health professionals with DUI and DWI offenses as risks to the public. Therefore, the fines and sanctions are significant. They include:

  • Fines ranging from $500-$10,000
  • Probation
  • 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

Licensing boards have a vast range of fines and sanctions they can impose on you as a result of a DUI and DWI. When determining the sanction they will impose on you, 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.

What Should You Do After a DUI?

All too often, health professionals contact the impairment programs (the Professionals Resource Network (PRN), the Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN), the Health Professionals Recovery Program (HPRP), or the Ohio Physicians Health Program), believing that these programs will help protect their professional license from discipline. While these programs may help, they are very invasive and expensive — and they may still end in formal disciplinary action.

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 you need to be very careful in how and when you respond to the board or investigator.

Robert Andretz, who handles criminal and regulatory matters at Chapman Law Group, talks about what happens when physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other licensed healthcare professionals are charged with DUI/DWI/OWI — and the possible solutions when you have a healthcare-based criminal law attorney on your side.

Your Best Defense? The Healthcare Lawyers at Chapman Law Group

We at Chapman Law Group strongly encourage nurses, physicians and licensed health professionals facing a DUI to contact our attorneys as soon as possible to discuss their options. There have been too many instances when we are called to help after a licensing action has concluded, and in some cases we are unable to assist. We’ve also found that it is more expensive to attempt to reverse a licensing action than it is to attempt to prevent a negative outcome.

We have extensive experience assisting licensed healthcare professionals with DUIs. We work with physicians, nurses, pain management clinics, pharmacists and other licensed healthcare professionals all across Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Lansing) and Florida (Miami, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville). 

If you have already retained a DUI attorney, we can work with our DUI specialist 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.

Call us today for a consultation.

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Lauren A. Leikam

Senior Attorney

Sarasota Office
6841 Energy Court
Sarasota, FL 34240
Phone: (941) 893-3449

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