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Professional Licensing Affected by DUI Arrests

The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in California can be severe. This includes possible jail time, DUI school, ignition interlock device, fines, fees, and higher insurance costs. For many, the loss of a driver's license is one of the most difficult consequences of a DUI, especially when they need a car to get to and from work.

Some professionals may even risk losing their job or livelihood because of a drunk driving conviction in California. Many professional licenses require mandatory reporting of a drunk driving arrest or conviction, which may result in loss of their professional license. Talk to an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer about how a DUI can affect your professional license.

Professional Licenses and DUIs in California

There are many types of professions and licenses which may be affected by a DUI in California. This includes:

  • Pilots
  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Dentists
  • Real estate agents
  • State employees
  • Commercial drivers

The consequences of a single DUI, drug offense, or multiple criminal convictions may depend on the type of license. Some professional licenses are regulated by the state, federal government, or licensing body.

Licensing Board Discipline for a DUI

A licensing board may take a number of possible disciplinary steps after a DUI arrest related to drugs or alcohol. The disciplinary measures may depend on the profession and the type of violation. Generally, multiple arrests, hit and run DUI, or DUI causing injury will result in more serious penalties than a first-time DUI.

Disciplinary measures may include:

  • Warning letter,
  • Citation,
  • Censure,
  • Fines,
  • Community service,
  • Diversion program,
  • Substance abuse treatment,
  • Drug or alcohol testing,
  • Substance abuse education,
  • Limited professional duties,
  • Practice restrictions or supervision,
  • Practice monitoring,
  • Probation,
  • Temporary license suspension, or
  • Permanent license suspension.

These disciplinary measures may affect an individual's ability to work. A suspended license could mean the loss of a job or even end an individual's professional career.

Pattern of Substance Abuse

For some professions, a single DUI may not be enough to result in any loss of license or sanctions. However, professional disciplinary hearings may consider whether a drunk driving arrest is part of a pattern of substance abuse. This may include both criminal and non-criminal actions:

Pilots and DUIs in California

DUI arrests for pilots are handled by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA takes drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs very seriously. Under FAA regulations, a pilot must notify the FAA of any drug or alcohol DUI or a suspended license related to drugs or alcohol.

Pilots have to notify the FAA within 60 days of any DMV action related to a DUI arrest, license suspension, or chemical test refusal. This involves sending a “notification letter” to the FAA, including the type of violation and the date of administrative action or conviction.

Pilots are also required to report any arrests, convictions, or alcohol-related license suspension as part of the medical application. Failure to notify the FAA in time can be grounds for a pilot's certificate suspension or revocation.

A single DUI arrest may not mean the loss of a pilot's flying privilege. However, other signs of substance abuse, multiple drug or alcohol offenses, including a DUI, or failure to report a DUI may mean the loss of a pilot's license to fly.

DUI and Professional Drivers with a CDL

A DUI arrest can have serious consequences for professional drivers, commercial drivers, or anyone holding a commercial driver's license (CDL). If a commercial driver is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, they can get a commercial DUI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of only 0.04% or higher.

A first-time offense will result in a suspended CDL for one year. A second DUI can mean a permanent loss of the driver's commercial driving privileges.

Medical Professionals and DUIs

Medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, may face disciplinary proceedings for a drunk driving arrest. These are generally handled by the state board. For physician's in California, a drunk driving conviction must be reported to the California Medical Board.

A single DUI may not result in any disciplinary action. However, a doctor may be placed on probation for multiple DUIs or substance abuse issues. This may also require seeking treatment for substance abuse, drug or alcohol testing, and substance abuse education.

Registered nurses in California may have to report a drunk driving arrest or conviction to the California Board of Registered Nursing (CBRN). A nurse may be able to go through a diversion program to seek alcohol or drug treatment. The nurse may also have to explain the circumstances around the DUI arrest and face possible board discipline, including suspension from nursing.

Legal Representation in Disciplinary Hearings

Individuals facing disciplinary hearings may be able to have an attorney represent them in the hearing. Talk to your attorney about whether they can represent you before board disciplinary hearings.

East Bay DUI Attorney for Professionals

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 30 years of DUI experience and understands the consequences involved for professional licensing after a DUI arrest. She understands how to approach the individual facts of each case for the greatest chance of success, keeping her clients out of jail and driving on the road Representing drivers in Contra Costa and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, and the local officers and prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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