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DUI and A Medical License

How Does A DUI Affect A Medical Professional License?

  On February 18, 2012, Dr. Kristin Ellison, a Rhode Island doctor with 23 years of hospital experience, was found driving the wrong way down a one way street. She was charged with drunk driving and cocaine possession after she failed a field sobriety test and refused to submit to a breath test. Medical professionals are often held to a higher standard than most other people because they are in an area of work that requires high awareness and concentration and their vocation often involves others’ personal health. If a medical practitioner is arrested and charged with a DUI, they are looking at the criminal and civil charge, as well as discipline from within their professional licensing community. Dr. Kristin Ellison signed an agreement on February 21 after her DUI with the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline to give up her license to practice medicine and undergo a drug/alcohol evaluation.

How does a DUI affect a medical license?

  A DUI can have a destructive affect on anyone’s employment standing. However, a person in the healthcare profession are more at risk of losing their job and possibly their medical license and career if they are found to be guilty of drunk driving. Even a misdemeanor DUI charge can cause a professional licensing board to suspend or pull a license causing the loss of a valuable career.

Can a medical license ever be regained?

  A DUI conviction can have grave consequences for the following medical practitioners: * Surgeons * Doctors * Nurses * Dentists * Specialists If a medical professional does, in fact, lose his license due to a drunk driving conviction, it is possible to get it back. However, the process requires further legal action, and it can be a long and drawn-out course of action and will certainly be quite expensive. If a person who holds any kind of medical license is arrested and charged with drunk driving, it is very important that he take immediate steps to minimize any potential negative actions from his Medical Licensing Board. Taking these pre-emptive steps will certainly pay off during the Board’s investigation process and help to lessen the damaging consequences to a medical license. In most states, the Medical Licensing Board looks not only at the DUI conviction itself but at the circumstances surrounding the arrest. They will also look at the events leading up to the DUI arrest, the personal life of the physician, his professional history and reputation and if anything similar has happened in the past. After the investigation, the Board could decide to suspend the license, revoke the license, place the physician/nurse on probation or take no action at all. The Board could also decide to place a condition (like an alcohol treatment program) on an agreed upon resolution.

Hiring a DUI lawyer after a drunk driving arrest

  If you are at risk of losing your medical license due to a DUI, you should talk with a DUI attorney in your area who has experience defending people in the medical field. He will know how to fight your criminal charge and protect your rights in the administrative license process.
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