Pharmacy techs can have many opportunities to find a job and do not require a lot of schooling. However, pharmacy techs work around controlled substances and you may face trouble if they end up with a criminal conviction.
If you are a pharmacy tech and were arrested for a DUI in California, it is important to understand your legal rights so you can keep your job and avoid a criminal conviction. If you already have a DUI on your record, talk to an East Bay DUI defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick for advice.
Pharmacy Techs Boards and Criminal Convictions
Techs work with pharmacists to dispense, pack, and label prescription medications for patients. Pharmacy technicians work with controlled substances, including Schedule II drugs that have a high potential for abuse, like fentanyl and oxycodone. Pharmacy techs need to be licensed by their state's pharmacy board. There are state and federal requirements for board licensing.
To be a pharmacy technician in California, you have to be licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy. There are some criminal convictions that could prevent individuals from being able to register with the Board of Pharmacy. If someone is already registered, certain criminal convictions can result in revocation or suspension. Pharmacy techs may also be required to undergo drug screening.
Can I Get a Pharmacy Tech License After a DUI or Drug Conviction?
A conviction is not an automatic bar to registering with the California Board of Pharmacy. A drunk driving conviction does not necessarily mean you can't get a job. However, some criminal convictions will prevent you from getting licensed as a pharmacy tech. Criminal convictions may also make it harder for you to find a job.
Pharmacy Techs Boards and Criminal Convictions
The Board of Pharmacy cannot deny an application for some convictions that have been dismissed or expunged, or for crimes that occurred more than 7 years ago, (or if incarcerated, 7 years from the time of release). However, the board can deny certain convictions, including serious felonies and most sex crimes that require registering as a sex offender.
For any other criminal convictions within the past 7 years, the board can deny an application or issue other disciplinary actions. The board's decision will depend on the individual situation. Factors the board will consider including:
- The nature and severity of the offense
- Evidence of any act committed subsequent to the crime.
- Time elapsed since the commission of the crime
- Whether the applicant has complied with any terms of parole, probation, restitution, or any other sanction
- Evidence, if any, of rehabilitation submitted by the applicant
What Do I Have to Disclose in the Pharmacy Board Application?
You will have to submit your fingerprints to the California Department of Justice and the FBI for a criminal background check. The background check will show any criminal convictions.
According to the Board of Pharmacy, disclosure of the following information can expedite the review and may give you a chance to address any concerns:
- A written explanation detailing the circumstances surrounding each conviction.
- A copy of the arrest/incident report for each conviction.
- A certified copy of the court documentation for each conviction.
- Current proof of compliance with probation.
- A certified copy of any official document showing the date of release from incarceration.
What Can I Do to Improve My Chance of Becoming a Pharmacy Tech?
Passing the Board of Pharmacy is done on a case-by-case basis. If you already have a conviction, you can also take steps to improve your case before the pharmacy board. Look at the factors the board considers above and think about how you can address those in your case.
- Nature and Severity: A DUI causing serious bodily injury or a high BAC DUI (0.15% BAC or higher) are more severe than a simple DUI or wet reckless.
- After the Conviction: Have you avoided any other criminal arrests or convictions after the DUI? If you have multiple DUIs, especially in recent years, it can appear there is a serious substance abuse issue.
- Time Passing: How much time has passed since the DUI? If it happened in the past 6 months, the board may consider it too recent to get a good idea if you represent a safety risk to pharmacy patients.
- Terms of Probation: There are several conditions of probation after a California DUI, including DUI school, community service, and paying fines. Make sure these conditions are all settled before you consider applying as a pharmacy tech.
- Rehabilitation: A drunk driving arrest or drug DUI can present substance abuse concerns. Going through rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment, and being open about how you have addressed any substance abuse concerns can improve your chances.
Discipline for Pharmacist Techs in California After a DUI Arrest
According to the California Board of Pharmacy, "There should be no tolerance for licensees who traffic in drugs or who, in the absence of appropriate evidence of rehabilitation, personally abuse drugs or alcohol."
The board has many disciplinary options for pharmacy techs after incidents involving diversion or abuse of drugs and alcohol abuse, including:
- Stayed revocation
- Surrender license
- Public reproval
- Clinical diagnostic evaluation for abuse of alcohol
- Medical evaluation
- Drug and alcohol testing
If the board finds your DUI shows abusive use of alcohol, it can result in a minimum 5-year probation. Maximum Certification Action: Revocation
- Recommended Certification Action: Revocation stayed, suspension until
If you have questions about pharmacy technician certification in California, contact the California Board of Pharmacy.
Do I Have to Report a DUI Arrest to My Pharmacist Employer
There is a difference between a drunk driving arrest and a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. An arrest means there was probable cause that you were driving drunk but not yet had your day in court. After pleading guilty or getting a guilty verdict in court, you are considered to have committed the crime.
In most cases, you don't have to notify an employer about an arrest. However, if the arrest ends in a conviction, you may be required to report the offense to the pharmacy and the Board of Pharmacy. This includes a guilty verdict, guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendere. If you have questions about when you have to report a drunk driving conviction, talk to your California DUI defense lawyer.
Does the Pharmacy Do a Background Check Before Hiring Pharmacy Techs?
Yes, pharmacies in California will do a criminal background check as part of the hiring process for pharmacy technicians. Some of the bigger chains like CVS or RiteAid take these checks very seriously when deciding whether to take a chance on a tech when there are many other applicants without a mark on their criminal record.
Background checks include more than just a check of your criminal background, they may also include:
- Identification verification
- State and federal criminal record checks
- Professional license verification
- Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) record
- Employment verification
How Can I Avoid a Conviction for a DUI in California?
The best way to improve your chances of passing the boards after an arrest is to avoid a conviction. There are many legal defense strategies available for defendants facing California DUI charges, including:
- Lack of probable cause
- Inaccurate chemical testing
- Unlawful search and seizure
- Lack of evidence
Your best option may be to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer to make sure the arrest does not end in a conviction. East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 40 years of California DUI defense experience. Contact East Bay DUI defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.