DUI Charges and Your Professional License
A DUI can put your California professional license and the hard work you invested to receive it, all at risk. If you are a professional facing a DUI charge, it is imperative to hire an attorney with expertise in both defense law and professional licensing law who can uniquely understand the impact of a DUI on license defense. Your attorney will represent you throughout the DUI process and necessary disclosures to California licensing authorities.
DUI charges are serious. Most state licensing boards now automatically receive notification of criminal proceedings against their license holders as a result of online database connections between state and local government agencies.
Often the outcome of your DUI case has significant implications for the outcome your licensing case. After a DUI conviction, a licensing authority may file an accusation against your professional license calling for revocation or suspension of your nursing license. Don’t be fooled by criminal attorneys who say they can “help” with your license defense case when they have no expertise in this area of administrative law.
If you are faced with DUI or substance abuse criminal charges as well as revocation or suspension of your professional license, you need to hire an attorney who has experience handling both criminal cases and licensing defense.
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Practicing your profession while under the influence of alcohol or substances (e.g. substance abuse) puts your California professional license at considerable risk. Please call the Law Offices of Lucy McAllister toll free at (877) 280-9944 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your specific case.
Substance abuse occurs across all generations, cultures, and professions. In the field of nursing, it is estimated by the American Nurses Association (ANA) that six to eight percent of nurses use alcohol or drugs to an extent that is sufficient to impair professional performance. Others project that about one in ten nurses, or 10-15%, may be currently impaired due to substance abuse or in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, the same estimate for most professions and the general population.
Use of a controlled substance is a violation of the Nursing Act as it is in many professions:
- 2761(f): Conviction of a felony or any offense substantially related to the qualifications, functions and duties of a registered nurse, in which event the record of the conviction shall be conclusive evidence thereof. Offenses that the Board deems to be substantially related include, but are not limited to, child abuse, murder, rape, assault and/or battery, lewd conduct, theft crimes, and sale or use of controlled substances. In addition, for reinstatement of licensure, the individual must have completed criminal probation and have compelling evidence of rehabilitation substantiated by a recent psychiatric evaluation. (See also 490, 492, and 493).
- 2762(a) Illegally obtaining, possessing, or administering narcotics or dangerous drugs to self or others.
- 2762(b) Use of any narcotic, dangerous drug, or alcohol to the extent that it is dangerous to self or others, or the ability to practice nursing safely is impaired.
- 2762(c) Conviction of a criminal offense involving the prescription, consumption, or self-administration of narcotics, dangerous drugs, or alcohol, or the possession of or falsification of a record pertaining to narcotics or dangerous drugs. (See also 2761(f) and 2762 (a), (b) and (e)).
- 2762(d) Commitment or confinement by a court of competent jurisdiction for intemperate use of, or addiction to, any narcotics, dangerous drugs or alcohol.
- Diverting drugs to maintain a substance abuse habit is also grounds for a license being suspended or revoked.
SB 1441 (Ridley-Thomas, Chapter 548, Statutes of 2008) created the Substance Abuse Coordination Committee under the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The Committee was tasked with creating a set of uniform standards to be used by all the health care boards to deal with substance-abusing licensees in the health care professions. These regulations govern the impact to a California professional’s license when a practitioner is found to have violated these standards.
If you have been accused of criminal charges and your California license has been placed in suspension, revoked or your application for a license has been denied, contact the Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister immediately.