Physicians Charged with DUI
A DUI arrest is a serious matter. The consequences of an arrest for any crime involving the abuse of alcohol or drugs are particularly serious for medical professionals including medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), and registered nurses (RNs).
Although a misdemeanor conviction does not prohibit licensure or renewal, it may result in disciplinary action.
When fighting a criminal charge in court, if the charge can be proven at trial, there may be advantages to entering a pre-trial diversion, pre-trial intervention, or drug court program. If the charges cannot be proven at trial, then the best result is fighting for an outright dismissal on the merits or “not guilty” verdict at trial.
After a conviction for any criminal charge or a plea in court (even for a withhold of adjudication on a lesser charge), the physician is required to immediately report any plea or conviction to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation or the Department of Health and update their online profile.
When a physician reports a DUI or a reduced charge for reckless driving, the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation or the Department of Health will launch an investigation and pursue disciplinary action. The board might impose sanctions after a DUI conviction or a plea to a lesser charge including:
- mandatory counseling;
- random alcohol and drug testing;
- a fine; and
- a “Letter of Concern” in the individual’s professional file.
The most severe sanctions include the revocation of a professional license.
Attorney for a Physician or Doctor Charged with DUI in Florida
If you are a medical professional who was accused of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances, then retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you fight the charges.
With offices in downtown Tampa, FL, the criminal defense attorneys at Sammis Law Firm are experienced in fighting the DUI case in court, the administrative driver’s license suspension at the DSHMV, and the licensure issues related to continuing in your chosen profession.
The best results occur when you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to take a proactive approach. We can help you report the arrest, plea, or conviction. We can also give you advice about whether you should self-report and when you should submit to evaluation and enrollment in the Professionals Resource Network (PRN).
Contact us for a free consultation.
Reporting an Arrest, Plea, or Conviction to the Board
A DUI conviction or even a plea to the reduced charge of wet or drug reckless driving must be reported on an application to the Florida Board of Medicine Medical Doctor Licensure. The criminal history section of the application provides:
Have you ever been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty, nolo contendere, or no contest to, a crime in any jurisdiction other than a minor traffic offense? You must include all misdemeanors and felonies, even if adjudication was withheld. Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) are not minor traffic offenses for the purposes of this question.
An applicant is required to report any conviction, guilty plea, or nolo contendere plea for any misdemeanors, felonies, driving while intoxicated (DWI), and driving under the influence (DUI). Convictions for minor traffic violations not related to the use of drugs and alcohol do not need to be reported.
The reporting requirements apply to the applicants even if there was a suspended imposition of sentence. You have to report charges even if you completed a period of probation and the charges were dismissed or closed.
We are often asked whether a person can get a license if they have a misdemeanor or felony crime on their record. The bottom line is that each application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The board considers the nature and severity of offenses, as well as rehabilitation and other factors.
You should submit certified official court documents related to your criminal record, showing the dates and circumstances surrounding your arrest or conviction. The documentation should show the laws violated and the disposition of the case including the charging document, information, judgment and sentence, order of probation, and final disposition.
You should also submit a description of the circumstances.
Consequences of an Arrest for Drug or Alcohol Abuse
For all licensed health professionals, a plea of nolo contendere or no contest is treated the same as a plea of guilty regardless of whether the court adjudicates you to be guilty of the crime or withholds adjudication.
As required by Section 456.072(1)(x), a licensed health professional must report any plea of no contact or guilty, regardless of whether adjudication was withheld, to the licensing board or the Florida Department of Health within thirty (30) days of the conviction or finding.
For any physician or other licensed practitioners with a profile with the Department of Health, Section 456.042 requires the profile to be updated to reflect any “final activity that renders such information a fact” within fifteen (15) days.
A physician might be subject to an emergency suspension order (ESO) until the licensure case is complete if the arrest involves the abuse of alcohol or controlled substances, including DUI or possession of a controlled substance.
Depending on the severity of the offense, the doctor or other licensed health professional might be required to submit to evaluation and enrollment in the Professionals Resource Network (PRN) for a five-year period.
Additionally, action may be taken to revoke or suspend your clinical privileges and medical staff membership for licensed health professionals who work in an ambulatory surgical center, a clinic, a hospital, a skilled nursing facility, or a staff model HMO.
The licensed health professionals that are subject to having their clinical privileges or medical staff membership revoked or suspended including any physician, physician assistant (PA), advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), podiatrist, clinical psychologist or a clinical pharmacist.
Read more about what happens when a nurse is charged with DUI in Florida.
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