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DUI Consequences for California Pharmacists

The consequences of driving under the influence (DUI) in California can go far beyond jail time and fines. A California DUI has harsh penalties, including DUI school, ignition interlock device restrictions, fines, probation, and a permanent criminal record. However, even after completing all the terms of the sentence and probation, the penalties for some people go further. 

Some jobs, professional licenses, and future opportunities can be impacted by a drunk driving record. Professions that can be impacted by a DUI include doctors, pilots, and pharmacists. Even pharmacy technicians can have their license suspended or denied after a DUI in the East Bay

California State Board of Pharmacy

Pharmacists and pharmacy techs in California are licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy. The Board has strict requirements and licensing regulations to grant someone a license to practice and to renew their license. There are a lot of issues that may require disclosure to the Board, including criminal arrests and convictions. 

When applying for a pharmacy license or renewal, criminal convictions, arrests, and disciplinary action must be disclosed to the Board, where they are, “substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business of the pharmacy profession.”

Substantially Related Offenses

What kinds of convictions are substantially related to the pharmacy profession? Pharmacists are entrusted with private medical information, access to drugs, and personally identifying information. Crimes that may be substantially related to the job could include: 

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are often in direct contact with many drugs and chemical substances, including controlled substances, narcotics, and Schedule II and III drugs. Schedule II and III drugs may have a potential for abuse and could lead to dependence. The Pharmacy Board is especially wary of licensed individuals who may have a substance problem, given the nature of the job. 

Reporting a DUI Criminal Conviction

If you are applying for a pharmacy license, part of the process involves a background check with the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), using your fingerprints. If the background check finds any criminal history, the application will go through a review process to approve or deny the license. 

If you have a criminal conviction, you can voluntarily provide information about the conviction to help the Board make a decision, and show that you have completed any necessary probation requirements. Information you can submit includes: 

  • A written explanation detailing the circumstances surrounding the criminal offense.
  • A copy of the arrest/incident reports.
  • A copy of the court documentation, including the criminal complaint, court minutes, sentencing, and probation order.
  • Proof of compliance with probation, including participation in a substance abuse program; payment of fees; or completion of community service; and any other probation restrictions.
  • A copy of a document showing the date of release from incarceration.

Will I Be Able to Get a Pharmacy License With a DUI?

A drunk driving conviction is not an automatic bar to getting your license from the Board of Pharmacy. However, it can be an additional hurdle to overcome. If it is too late to fight the DUI charge, you can still make a good case to have your license approved. For individuals with a criminal conviction, their license will not be automatically denied because of the conviction. 

If you have a criminal history, the board will review applicants on a case-by-case basis, with consideration of any evidence of rehabilitation. Factors in determining the license approval include: 

  • The nature and severity of the acts or offenses. 
  • Evidence of any subsequent offenses or crimes. 
  • Time elapsed between commission of the acts or crimes.
  • Whether the applicant has complied with the terms of parole, probation, restitution, or any other sanctions. 
  • Evidence, if any, of rehabilitation submitted by the applicant.

Evidence of any rehabilitation that can support your case can be submitted. In general, the board will be receptive to taking responsibility and showing remorse for your past actions instead of blaming it on someone else. Other evidence of rehabilitation can include attending abuse support groups, volunteer work, and letters of reference. 

Can I Avoid Discipline After a DUI Arrest?

The easiest way to avoid discipline by the Pharmacy Board is to avoid a conviction in the first place. This is why it is important to consult with an experienced Alameda County DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest. Time is of the essence after a drunk driving arrest and drivers only have 10 days after the arrest to request a DMV hearing, or their driver's license will be administratively suspended. 

There are several legal defense strategies available, including challenging the traffic stop, unlawful search, and reliability of the field sobriety tests. Even the chemical breath or blood tests can be inaccurate when the police do not follow the procedures or have the machines maintained and calibrated. Talk to your East Bay criminal defense attorney about the legal defenses available in your case. 

Even if the evidence against you is strong, your lawyer may be able to have your charges reduced through a plea agreement. A plea agreement can help you avoid jail time and may reduce the charges. You may also be able to get a deferred entry of judgment to avoid a criminal record

East Bay DUI Attorney for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Techs

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 38 years of DUI experience and understands the consequences involved for professional licenses after a DUI arrest.  Representing professionals 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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