As we’ve talked about numerous times in our blog, DUI charges can trigger a ripple of consequences for professionals, especially those who need licenses to practice. Following a conviction and an independent investigation, licensing bodies like the Medical Board of California and the Board of Registered Nursing often impose disciplinary actions on licensees with DUI convictions. The severity of the penalties imposed by these bodies depends on individual cases.
Governing Bodies and the Law
The Medical Board of California is the licensing body for physicians, surgeons, and other allied professionals in the field of medicine. As a licensing body, it determines whether practicing professionals are subject to disciplinary actions as directed by legislatures like the California Business and Professional Code and the California Code of Regulations. Before 2007, the Medical Board of California rarely imposed harsh disciplinary action on convicted practitioners. It instead offered rehabilitative programs for treatment to curb harsher penalties like license revocation. However, since then, California has implemented strict policies against DUIs and drug-related crimes that the licensing bodies impose on professionals in the field.
The Board of Registered Nursing is a licensing agency given the mandate by the government to uphold professional conduct and nursing practices. The BPC Section 2750 and Nursing Practices Act empower the Board to suspend or revoke licenses on specific grounds. Just like the Medical Board of California, it often inquires about the surrounding factors in the case to determine suitable disciplinary action.
Sections 2761 and 2239 are the governing laws on how bodies should take action against convicted nurses and medical professionals in the field. The Code prohibits any action unless the crimes were substantially related to the licensee’s qualifications, duties, or functions in conjunction with other factors relating to the case.
Factors that Licensing Bodies consider
How the Medical Board of California and the California Board of Registered Nurses depends on a number of factors on individual cases. These bodies do not follow a specific guideline on how to take disciplinary action. However, the agencies will often launch an independent investigation where they can analyze and review records of the conviction and those leading up to the arrest. Generally, the agencies consider the nature and severity of the act, the way the licensee handles the terms of his or her probation, or the presence of prior convictions.
Impact of a DUI on a Licensee
Other than the general DUI Penalties for DUI offenses, a bad reputation is the most immediate impact that can affect medics. By law, offenders are not required to disclose an arrest to employers or the board. However, licensees are obligated to report to their respective boards as soon as a court delivers a conviction or risk fines of up to $5,000.
Depending on the offender’s case, the Bodies might review the facts surrounding the case to determine whether crime-convicted practitioners will keep their licenses.
With multiple offenses, your chances of keeping your license become slim. Both Sections 2763 and 2239 interpret multiple convictions as unprofessional conduct and potential alcohol dependency. The Board might require offenders to submit to frequent psychological and physical evaluations, random urine tests, and rehabilitation programs that go on for months. The Board might also ask that offenders take a leave of absence from work.
A DUI can also make you ineligible to provide healthcare services like Medicare and Medical to patients. This is especially important if you own a private practice. In the worst-case scenario, the board might suspend or revoke licenses stripping medical officers of their right to practice in the field of medicine.
As licensed professionals ourselves, we at Criminal Defense Hero understand how losing a professional license can significantly impact a career. With is in mind, professionals facing the real risk of losing their licenses and careers should reach out to an empathetic attorney with the right skill set and experience required to win in these high-stakes cases.