No one is immune from substance abuse disorders, including doctors. However, physicians who are charged with DUI often suffer more significant consequences than the general public. California medical professionals arrested for DUI could have their licenses revoked, ultimately endangering their future livelihood.
California is aggressive in reprimanding physicians
Approximately 10% of the nation’s doctors live in California, where a state statute considers a misdemeanor involving alcohol an offense indicating unprofessional conduct. A single drunk driving conviction or a reduced “wet, reckless” conviction can get a doctor in professional trouble. Even if you are not convicted in court, the Medical Board of California may consider the evidence and apply disciplinary action.
What happens if I don’t report my DUI charge?
You may feel like you can get away with a DUI charge if you have a good chance of beating it. However, the better course of action is to report the arrest within the time allotted by the state medical board. You may get into more trouble by neglecting to report it, as the board may take this action as further proof that you may be attempting to hide a substance abuse problem. Being proactive about the charge is one way that you can save your license and career.
What are my next steps?
DUI cases are often complicated, but if the arrest is your first one, you may be able to successfully fight the charges, depending on other circumstances. The most crucial factor is your alleged blood alcohol level. If a test showed that it was .15% or higher, or if you were speeding when you were pulled over, caused an accident, etc., dismissing or reducing the charges could be challenging. Some possible defenses include improper administration of field sobriety tests or the presence of required prescription drugs that mimic DUI symptoms.
Meanwhile, you will still have to deal with the state medical board. Consider following their directives to seek evaluation of alcohol or other substance abuse so you can save your license and continue your medical practice.