How to Protect Your Medical or Nursing License Following a DUI

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For most of the working population, getting a DUI is embarrassing and costly. For health care professionals, a DUI conviction can be career-ending.

You’ve probably heard horror stories about fellow health professionals losing their license because of a DUI, or being forced into invasive monitoring programs in order to maintain their license after a DUI.

But there are things you can do to help minimize and protect your medical license or nursing license from the risk of loss of licensure, restrictions, and monitoring requirements.

In large part, a better outcome from a DUI depends on three critical factors:

    1. Do you have an alcohol or drug addiction?
    2. Is this your first offense?
    3. Are you able to prove to the relevant board that:
      • this was an isolated situation;
      • you are safe to practice;
      • you would not benefit from a period of monitoring; and
      • you do not need active supervision?

What to Do to Retain Your License After a DUI

Retain an Attorney Experienced in Both DUIs and Professional Licensing

First, do not, under any circumstances, contact the relevant interventional program.

Contrary to the mission statement of the relevant state programs, they are not there to help you and guide you. Their job is to protect the public.

Of course this is a very subjective mission and open to aggressive interpretation.

Uninformed co-workers or supervisors may encourage you to call HPRP, PRN, IPN or OPHP.

Resist the temptation.

Your first call after being charged with a DUI should be to an attorney, preferably one who practices both criminal defense and professional licensing.

Please do not try to handle the licensing aspect by yourself or with a criminal lawyer or someone who does not have experience with the professional boards. All too often we receive calls from health providers who were encouraged by a criminal defense attorney to plead no contest to a DUI — and now they are facing disciplinary action by the board.

Unfortunately, some criminal defense attorneys simply do not know that a no contest plea is viewed by the boards as similar to a guilty plea. Other lawyers fail to consider the licensing ramifications when advising clients on a DUI, or licensure is simply outside their scope of representation.

That’s why you need an attorney who has experience and can handle both DUIs and professional licensing to ensure that your DUI is handled in a manner that will minimize licensing action.

If you have already retained an attorney to handle the DUI, we at Chapman Law Group can work with your DUI lawyer to make sure statements are not made in court or in pleadings that harm your case with the licensing boards.

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.

Evaluation Options

Second, our attorneys will work with you to obtain support that you do not have a substance abuse problem and that you would not benefit from treatment or monitoring.

HPRPIPN, and PRN are not the only programs in town. We will work with you to select a Ph.D. or MD/DO who specializes in substance dependency/addiction.

This addictions professional will conduct a detailed assessment, including some initial clinical sessions and the administration of the MMPI 2-RF and often the SASE inventory. This process is much better than the HPRP, IPN and PRN intake/evaluation process. It provides a strong background for the necessary recommendations to the board that:

  • this was an isolated situation;
  • you are safe to practice;
  • you would not benefit from a period of monitoring; and
  • you do not need active supervision.

Please use caution should you decide to obtain your own evaluation from a provider not approved by our attorneys. Some providers, under certain circumstances, may be required to report licensed professionals to the state if they find that the licensed professional is impaired.

We strongly encourage licensed medical professionals to contact our attorneys for assistance in obtaining an evaluation. Our lawyers will ensure that the provider has the proper credentials and affiliations; applies the correct testing methods; and provides a report containing particular information that will assist in reporting and/or disciplinary action following a DUI.

Reporting Options

Third, we will work with you to report the conviction and prepare the necessary pleadings to argue your case before the relevant board or administrative law judge.

In all cases, the board’s concern is that you are safe to practice and you are not impaired. Therefore, if step two reveals you are impaired, we will work with you to obtain the best resolution possible.

This solution may include working with HPRP, IPN, PRN or OPHP to obtain the right monitoring agreement. However, the decision to call HPRP, IPN, PRN or OPHP should not be made without proper legal advice.

If you have a dependency or impairment problem, the interventional programs are there to help. But if you do not have a dependency/impairment problem, those interventional programs are a nightmare and need to be avoided at all costs.

Our Experience Protecting Medical and Nursing Licenses From DUIs

Having a DUI should not be a career-ending event, if it’s handled properly. You will get through the process if you promptly take the necessary steps to make sure you protect your medical license, nursing license, or other professional license.

Chapman Law Group is dedicated to the defense of health professionals. We regularly help health care professionals convicted of or currently facing a DUI. 

We assist licensed professionals with:

    • Pending DUI charges
    • Reporting DUIs to the professional boards
    • State disciplinary actions relating to DUIs
    • Obtaining licensure with a prior DUI conviction
    • Other matters affecting licensure following a DUI

Our goal is to help licensed professionals maintain a full unrestricted license without the need for monitoring. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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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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