A quick happy hour to celebrate a friend’s accomplishment or a drink to vent about a long day can quickly turn into a nightmare if the police pull you over afterwards and accuse you of drunk driving. These allegations are serious, and penalties can extend beyond fines and the loss of a driver’s license — especially for physicians.
How are the penalties more severe for physicians?
Because doctors answer to more than just the police. In addition to upholding the laws of the state they must also meet the requirements of the state licensing board.
It is not uncommon for the state licensing board to pursue sanctions against a physician for alcohol related offenses. Although a first driving under the influence (DUI) charge on its own is unlikely to result in the loss of your medical license, other factors could result in more serious repercussions. These could include:
- Past offenses. The board may take a DUI more seriously if there is a history of previous offenses.
- Additional charges. Certain factors increase the charges. This can include the presence of a minor in the vehicle at the time of the allegations, reckless driving, or other traffic offenses in addition to the DUI.
- An accident. The repercussions are also likely more severe if the DUI was connected to an accident that resulted in property damage, injury, or death.
Sanctions from the board can range from revocation of one’s medical license to participation in the state’s Professional Health Program.
This reality is just one example of the long-reaching consequences of a DUI charge and reiterates the importance of taking the allegations seriously. Defenses are available and can result in a reduction or dismissal of criminal charges. An attorney experienced in this area of criminal defense can review your case and discuss your options.