Ernenwein & Johnson, LLP

How a DUI can impact your professional license

A DUI arrest can dramatically influence the way you live your life. It is a mistake that can affect you both personally and professionally. The extremely strict penalties can result in significant fines and potentially even a jail sentence depending on the circumstances.

Many would argue that the legal penalties alone are enough to assure that you will never make the same mistake again. For some professions, however, the legal penalties for a DUI are only the beginning. If you are in a career field that requires a professional license, you may face discipline from the licensing board as well.

Professions affected

There are many different professions that a DUI arrest can affect. As a rule of thumb, professions that place value on strong moral character and ethical behavior typically take DUI arrests more seriously than others. Common examples of professions that an employee may have his or her license affected include:

  • Lawyer
  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Pharmacist
  • Dentist
  • Real estate agent
  • Commercial drivers

Common penalties

Naturally, the penalty you receive from your licensing board is dependent on a number of different factors. First of all, your profession will play a large role in your discipline. The disciplinary measure could be harsher depending on your role as well as the ethical expectations of your position.

Additionally, the severity of your offense and your past conduct will directly influence your penalty. A first-time DUI offender, for example is unlikely to receive as significant of a punishment as someone who has multiple arrests or was involved in an incident that resulted in an injury.

In order to reflect this standard, there is a wide range of penalties that you could face. They may be as lenient as a warning letter or as serious as a permanent license suspension. Examples of these disciplinary measures include:

  • Warning letter
  • Citation
  • Fine
  • Community service
  • Diversion program
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Probation
  • License suspension

What should you do?

There are a couple of steps you can take to improve your standing following a DUI arrest. The first step you want to take is reporting your arrest to the licensing board. Attempting to hide your arrest will only complicate your future. Ultimately, your penalty will be harsher if the police or someone other than yourself reports your arrest to the licensing board.

After receiving discipline for your actions, you need to make sure you follow the restrictions put in place. This may be difficult because some disciplines may require you to take time away from work but ignoring your penalty will only make the situation worse.

Finally, your goal moving forward should be to demonstrate strong moral character. There are multiple ways to do this including participation in a rehabilitation program or performing community service. You should consider doing anything that will improve your image or prove that your mistake was an outlier.

If you find yourself in this type of situation, make sure to consider contacting an experienced professional to assist you.

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