If you are a California pharmacist who has been arrested for a DUI, it is imperative to hire an attorney with expertise in both criminal law and professional licensing law who can uniquely understand the impact of a DUI on a pharmacist’s license. An experienced license attorney can represent a pharmacist for both the criminal DUI charge and the disclosure and disciplinary process with the California State Board of Pharmacy (CSBP).
A DUI (driving under the influence) is considered a criminal offense in California and can put your pharmacist license and years of hard work at risk. After a DUI conviction, the California State Board of Pharmacy may call for revocation or suspension of your license.
Consider the following fictionalized vignette:
Frank (a California pharmacist) goes to a bar after work with some buddies. He has one beer, says goodbye to his friends, and drives home. While parallel parking on a street near his home, he side-swipes an unattended parked car. Frank tapes a note on the parked car’s window with his name, address, driver’s license, vehicle registration information, and a brief summary of what happened. The owner of the car calls Frank about some missing information later that evening and notices that Frank is slurring some words. Believing that Frank may have been drinking when he hit his car, the car owner calls the police and says he suspects a case of drunk driving. The police show up at Frank’s door and ring the bell. Under the influence but not suspecting anything, Frank answers the door. The officer gives Frank a field sobriety test which Frank passes. A breathalyzer test shows Frank’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) to be 0.09%. The police officer places Frank under arrest for DUI and takes him to the police station. Frank is a first time offender with a clean record. Frank fears losing his pharmacist license and doesn’t know what to do next. What type of lawyer should Frank hire? How can Frank best protect his license?
Notifying the California State Board of Pharmacy About Your DUI
California pharmacists undergo Live Scan fingerprinting at the time of licensure. When a pharmacist is arrested and fingerprinted for DUI, the Department of Justice automatically notifies the California State Board of Pharmacy of the arrest.
Plea Bargaining the DUI
A “wet reckless” (Vehicle Code 23101 and 23103.5 VC) is a plea bargain from a California DUI. An attorney with expertise in both criminal law and professional licensing law uniquely understands the impact of a DUI on a pharmacist’s license and will work hard in an effort to get a DUI reduced to a wet reckless. A DUI conviction may result in a license revocation, probation, and heavy fees. A wet reckless conviction may result in less severe disciplinary penalties by a licensing board.
It is imperative for a pharmacist facing a DUI to find a professional licensing and DUI attorney at the earliest stages, before a conviction, to fight for the DUI to be reduced to a wet reckless.
What Happens After A Pharmacist’s DUI Conviction?
The California State Board of Pharmacy may discipline a licensee who has used alcohol in a way that is dangerous to himself or the public. Pursuant to the California Business and Professions Code Section 4301,
“The board shall take action against any holder of a license who is guilty of unprofessional conduct or whose license has been procured by fraud or misrepresentation or issued by mistake. Unprofessional conduct shall include, but is not limited to, any of the following: (h) The administering to oneself, of any controlled substance, or the use of any dangerous drug or of alcoholic beverages to the extent or in a manner as to be dangerous or injurious to oneself, to a person holding a license under this chapter, or to any other person or to the public, or to the extent that the use impairs the ability of the person to conduct with safety to the public the practice authorized by the license, and (k) The conviction of more than one misdemeanor or any felony involving the use, consumption, or self-administration of any dangerous drug or alcoholic beverage, or any combination of those substances.”
The California State Board of Pharmacy considers each conviction on an individual basis and evaluates when the conviction occurred, its severity, and the details of each case. The Board will require several types of documentation to be submitted including court documentation, arrest reports, a DMV printout showing driver’s license status, evidence of rehabilitation compliance, and a written explanation. But note, a state licensing authority has no mandatory duty to remove publicly available information about a licensee’s convictions from its website–including convictions that are eventually dismissed under Penal Code Sec 1203.4 and Sec. 1203.4a.
It is highly recommended that a licensee or applicant consult with a professional licensing attorney before submitting the written explanation to the California State Board of Pharmacy, as this letter is carefully considered by the CSBP.
Renewing Your Pharmacist License or Applying for One After A DUI Conviction
A DUI conviction must be disclosed to the California State Board of Pharmacy for all license applications and license renewals. A professional licensing attorney should be consulted about how best to disclose a DUI conviction to a licensing board. It is prudent to have a professional licensing attorney assist in this disclosure in an effort to minimize both disclosure mistakes and disciplinary repercussions. A professional licensing attorney can also assist a pharmacist in disclosing a DUI arrest or conviction to an employer.
Questions Pharmacists Facing a DUI Conviction Should Ask Their Attorney:
• Do you have expertise in both criminal law and professional licensing law?
• How many DUI cases have you won?
• Have you successfully gotten a DUI reduced to a wet reckless?
• Do you have experience representing pharmacists in DUI cases?
• Have you ever had a client’s license revoked by the California State Board of Pharmacy for a DUI?
• What are the outcomes I can expect for my case?
• Will the attorney I hire handle my case personally?
• Do you charge a flat fee or an hourly fee?
We Are Here to Help.
The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister have successfully represented a wide range of California licensed professionals including pharmacists, nurses, physicians, and mental health practitioners. If you are a pharmacist who has been arrested for a DUI, it is imperative to enlist the assistance of an experienced DUI and licensing attorney immediately. We have a background in criminal and professional licensing law and understand the unique legal complexities facing pharmacists. We have the knowledge and experience to craft a comprehensive strategy and are dedicated to navigating your specific case from the DUI through the disclosure and disciplinary process to best defend your professional interests.
For additional information or to schedule a consultation on a professional licensing issue, please contact us today at (877) 280-9944.
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