Don’t Make the Common Mistake in Thinking a DUI Will Not Affect Your License
If you are a doctor that has been charged with DUI, you should not make the common mistake of believing the DUI will not affect your medical license simply because it relates to conduct outside of the medical practice.
Not only is the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine aggressive in disciplining doctors with DUI convictions, it is likely your employment contract also prohibits such alcohol related convictions. You have to be proactive in dealing with and defending the DUI charges filed against you.
You Have 30 Days to Notify the PA State Board of Medicine
Not only are there important dates that you have to be aware of regarding the criminal charges, there are also important timelines that you must follow as to the Bureau of Occupational Affairs and the PA State Board of Medicine. Once you receive your DUI charges you have 30 days to notify the them that you have been charged with DUI. Furthermore, if you are convicted of DUI, or are placed on ARD you have 30 days from sentencing or placement on ARD to notify these organizations as well. I have set forth more specific law on the reporting of convictions to show just how important it is to take these charges seriously.
In Pennsylvania, Act 6 of Pennsylvania’s Medical Boards says that any person holding a license, registration, certificate, or permit issued by a licensing board or commission under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs shall notify the appropriate licensing board/commission within thirty (30) days of the occurrence of any of the following:
- A disciplinary action taken by a licensing agency of another jurisdiction.
- A finding or verdict of guilt, an admission of guilt, a plea of nolo contendere, probation without verdict, disposition in lieu of trial or an accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) or any felony or misdemeanor offense.
Not Disclosing Arrests, ARD Placement, or DUI Conviction Can Result in Loss of License
If you are placed on the ARD program that does not automatically mean you will lose your license to practice medicine. However, an ARD or a conviction may trigger a hearing before the Bureau of Occupational Affairs whereby your fitness to practice medicine may be called into question. It is important to know that a failure to disclose an arrest for DUI, and ARD for DUI, or a conviction for DUI conviction within thirty (30) days can result in loss of your medical license just because you did not disclose the arrest.
Cooperate and Demonstrate Responsibility Before the Medical Board
The Medical Board may conduct an interview and their own investigation into you and your DUI to determine if your license should be suspended or revoked. Demonstrating responsibility and being cooperative will go a long way in helping keep your license. But it is important to be very careful as to what you cooperate on and what you disclose. Their system, especially their “voluntary” alternative programs, are not all what they portray them to be and are not really designed to help doctors get through the program easily.
Know Your Options – Get an Experienced DUI Attorney Familiar with Medical Licensing
It is important to know your options if you are a doctor charged with DUI. Brian Manchester has extensive training in DUI defense and is even a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the American Chemical Society, and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. Brian Manchester also regularly attends seminars that specifically focus on DUI defenses, and he was also the Educational Chairman for the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys. For a Free Strategy Session, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.
A DUI can be particularly detrimental to a teacher’s career if not handled properly. The Pennsylvania School Code Section 111 requires teachers, principals, school nurses, coaches, cafeteria staff, janitors, and virtually any other employee of a school to disclose the DUI conviction to the school. This amendment became effective on September 28, 2011.
With all school employment applications, Subsection (b) of Section 111 of the Pennsylvania School Code requires a criminal history report to be obtained from the Pennsylvania State Police. Subsection (c) additionally requires the prospective teacher or school employee to submit fingerprints which will be sent to the F.B.I.
Subsection (f)(1)(3) asks specifically for convictions related to DUI to be provided. This subsection requires a three (3) year ineligibility period for a prospective employee convicted of a second DUI if it is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree. Any second offense DUI where the driver’s BAC is above .16% or a refusal of chemical test, and any third or subsequent DUI offense with a BAC of .10% or higher (or an accident is involved) is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree. For example: In 2015 an individual is convicted of a second DUI while their BAC was .16% and received a sentence of 5 years intermediate punishment. That person would be ineligible for prospective employment in a school until 2023 – the 2015 sentence expires in 2020 at which point the three-year ineligibility period begins to run.
As for current school employees who receive a DUI, a current school employee is not automatically rendered ineligible if they receive a DUI. However, fact that a DUI is not an offense that requires automatic period of ineligibility for a current employee should be of little comfort to current employees that get a DUI. It is still probable that they could be subjected to the ineligibility provisions, given Subsection (f.2) states that nothing in this subsection shall interfere with a school’s ability to make employment, discipline, or termination decisions. Thus, the school is free to terminate a current employee because of the DUI, in which case the employee would be seeking prospective employment. Therefore, because a prospective employee is ineligible for three (3) years from the expiration of their sentence, the terminated employee would not be able to gain new employment at a school until the period of ineligibility ended. Lastly, current teachers with a qualifying DUI would not be able to move to a new school district under any circumstances until the completion of their period of eligibility. In essence, if you are a current school employee charged with a DUI, your best option is to find a way to keep your current position.
You Shouldn’t Assume You’ll Lose Your Job or Teaching Credential
It is important to know your options if you are a teacher charged with DUI, and you should not assume that you will lose your job or teaching credential. Brian Manchester has extensive training in DUI defense and is even a member of the National College for DUI Defense, the American Chemical Society, and the Society of Forensic Toxicologists. Brian Manchester also regularly attends seminars that specifically focus on DUI defenses, and he was also the Educational Chairman for the Pennsylvania Association of Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys. For a free consultation, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.