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Professional Licenses after DUI

What Happens to my Professional License after a DUI in DC or VA?

If you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Washington, DC or Alexandria, VA, you may face jail time, fines, and the suspension of your driver’s license. However, if you hold a professional license, your livelihood could be at stake. Although not all professional licenses are affected by a DUI conviction, in some cases, you may still lose your ability to work in your profession.

With this in mind, if you have been charged with DUI or DWI in DC or Alexandria, VA, you need an aggressive defense attorney from S.L. England, PLLC, to protect your future. Contact us at (202) 759-2333 to get started.

Doctors with DUIs

Doctors invest a significant amount of time and money into building their careers, but a DUI or DWI conviction can impact their ability to practice medicine in Alexandria, VA or Washington, DC.

Both the Alexandria, VA Board of Medicine and the DC Board of Medicine have rules regarding how a DUI or DWI conviction affects professional medical licenses. The boards are more likely to allow you to retain your license if you are charged with a first-offense misdemeanor DUI. Subsequent offenses or felony charges may show a pattern of substance abuse, which can jeopardize your ability to practice medicine.

In Alexandria, VA, “A person shall not be refused a license, certificate or registration to practice, pursue, or engage in any regulated occupation or profession solely because of a prior criminal conviction, unless the criminal conviction directly relates to the occupation or profession for which the license, certificate or registration is sought.” To determine whether a conviction directly relates to a profession, the regulatory board will consider the following:

  • The nature and seriousness of the crime
  • The relationship of the crime to the purpose of requiring a license to engage in the occupation
  • The extent to which the occupation or profession might offer an opportunity to engage in further criminal activity of the same type as that in which the person had been involved
  • The relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity, or fitness required to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of the occupation or profession
  • The extent and nature of the person's past criminal activity
  • The age of the person at the time of the commission of the crime
  • The amount of time that has elapsed since the person's last involvement in the commission of a crime
  • The conduct and work activity of the person prior to and following the criminal activity
  • Evidence of the person's rehabilitation or rehabilitative effort while incarcerated or following their release

The District of Columbia permits health occupation boards to take several disciplinary actions against any applicant for a license, registration, certification, or approval to operate a nursing school/program, in addition to any person who is legally permitted to practice a health occupation in the District. Examples of actions that may warrant disciplinary action, such as revoking a license, include:

  • Being convicted in any jurisdiction of any crime involving moral turpitude, which means a crime that:
    • Offends the generally accepted moral code of mankind
    • Is one of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the conduct of the private and social duties that an individual owes to his or her fellow man or society in general
    • Is one of conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals
  • Is addicted to, or habitually abuses, any narcotic or controlled substance
  • Fraudulently or deceptively obtains or attempts to obtain a license, registration, or certification or fraudulently or deceptively uses a license, registration, or certification

We advise you to be mindful that your health occupation board may assume your DUI charge to be a reflection of drug addition or habitual drug use, and depending on the nature of your allegations, they may determine your reported DUI to represent conduct that is contrary to modesty or good morals. Unfortunately, the ambiguities in DC health occupation board laws may result in bias and subjectivity from board officials when determining whether or not to suspend or revoke your license, registration, or certification due to your DUI conviction.

Luckily, hiring a skilled defense attorney soon after your arrest gives you the best chance of saving your license. If you are convicted of a DUI or a DWI in DC or Alexandria, VA, your respective licensing board could impose their own penalties, including fines, probation, license revocation, or the loss of employment. In addition, you may have difficulty finding future employment.

Nurses with DUIs

Nurses convicted of DUI or DWI also have their licenses in jeopardy. As such, if you are a nurse, you could face suspension or revocation of your professional license, censure, reprimand, or placement on probation. The board takes any alcohol or drug-related convictions very seriously, especially if you are accused of being so impaired that it is unsafe for you to practice nursing or have a pattern of substance abuse.

In some cases, a first-offense misdemeanor DUI or DWI may not result in any action against you. However, if aggravating circumstances exist in your first DUI offense, such as getting a DUI on the way to work or a drug DUI in conjunction with stealing medication from your employer, you could lose your license.

According to the District of Columbia Nurse Practice Act, each board has the right to take disciplinary action against nurses convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude, which can include DUIs under certain circumstances. Penalties include a $5,000 civil fine, mandatory participation in remediation courses, probation, and the denial, revocation, suspension, or reprimand of a license. Chapter 30 of Title 54.1 of the Code of Alexandria, VA Nursing allows the board to refuse, suspend, revoke, censure, or reprimand licenses for nurses who are convicted of any felony or any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, which can include DUIs depending on the details of the offense.

As such, if you were arrested for injuring or killing someone as a result of your DUI or DWI or were involved in a hit-and-run, you may lose your nursing license. Subsequent DUI charges may result in the loss of your nursing license because they show a pattern of substance abuse.

Pilots with DUIs

For pilots, DUI or DWI convictions carry serious professional consequences. If you are a pilot charged with DUI or DWI, you must notify the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of any alcohol or drug-related driver’s license suspension, regardless of whether you have been convicted. While you may think you can get away with withholding your DUI charge, it’s important to remember that the FAA is automatically notified of your DUI or DWI arrest when your fingerprints are run through LiveScan.

Further, if you are convicted of DUI or DWI, you must notify the FAA within 60 days. The FAA will take action against your pilot’s license and your administrative driver’s license suspension for your DUI or DWI conviction, so it is critical to hire an attorney to represent you at your hearing. This will be held at the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles Adjudication Services if your DUI was in Washington, DC, or at the Alexandria, VA Department of Motor Vehicles if your DWI was in Alexandria, VA.

After your conviction or driver’s license suspension, the FAA will review your case. For a first-offense DUI or DWI conviction with a BAC under 0.15% and submission to all required chemical testing, the FAA may not suspend your license. For a second or subsequent conviction, you may have your license suspended or revoked. Some countries, including Canada and Mexico, restrict entry to people convicted of DUI. If you fly internationally, you may lose your ability to travel to some locations even if you do not lose your pilot’s license.

Lawyers with DUIs

Lawyers must be trustworthy, honest, and fit to practice law in Alexandria, VA and Washington, DC. Although a first-offense misdemeanor DUI or DWI conviction may not affect your ability to practice law, a felony conviction can.

However, any attempt to misrepresent, defraud, or deceive the Bar regarding your first-offense misdemeanor conviction or any interference with the administration of justice can lead to sanctions. You could receive an informal admonition by the Disciplinary Counsel, a reprimand by the Board of Professional Responsibility, or public censure by the Court. In serious cases, you could face a three-year suspension or disbarment.

Teachers & Educators with DUIs

Teachers are entrusted with children’s welfare, which is why school boards and the Department of Education take criminal convictions very seriously. As such, a first-offense DUI or DWI conviction may result in your suspension from teaching, but that may be at the discretion of the school board.

If you teach driver’s education, you are immediately removed from the classroom and behind-the-wheel instructing for any DUI or DWI arrest or conviction.

Aggravating circumstances such as being arrested for DUI or DWI on school property may result in the suspension or revocation of your teaching license, while any felony DUI or DWI convictions will result in the loss of your job and prevent you from working as a teacher altogether.

Hire an Aggressive DUI Attorney

If you hold a professional license and have been charged with DUI or DWI in Alexandria, VA or Washington, DC, hire an aggressive defense lawyer from S.L. England, PLLC, for the best chance of saving your career. Our attorney has the courtroom experience you need to effectively present your case to a judge and jury at any level in court and administrative hearings for your driver’s license suspension.

To begin your defense, call us today at (202) 759-2333 or contact us online.

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