DUI Consequences for Licensed Professionals
Receiving a DUI conviction as a licensed professional can have long term, unforeseen effects and consequences for one’s career and reputation. Depending on the occupation, some licenses may be revoked or forfeited. Future professional license applicants may also be disqualified from obtaining their license, depending on their conviction.
Below are more detailed explanations of how a DUI conviction can affect certain occupations:
- Doctors – If you are a doctor and convicted of a DUI in the State of Pennsylvania, a hearing may be conducted in which your character and fitness to practice medicine will be evaluated. It is imperative to disclose a DUI conviction or any criminal charge, or you have face losing your license to practice medicine.
- Lawyers – If you are a lawyer and convicted of a DUI in the State of Pennsylvania, it is mandated that you report the offense to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. If you fail to disclose your conviction, you may lose your bar license and be unable to practice law.
- Dentists – If you are a dentist and convicted of a DUI in the State of Pennsylvania, you are required to report the conviction on your license renewal application. If you are a first time applicant, you are also required to disclose this information on the initial license application. Penalties and consequences vary as every application and license is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
- Nurses – If you are a nurse in the State of Pennsylvania and convicted of a DUI, you are required to report the conviction, plea, ARD program participation or reciprocal discipline to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing at biennial renewal. The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing has the authority to discipline a licensee where the licensee is:
Convicted/plead guilty/receives ARD for a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude
Presents a clear a present danger to the public health or safety
Possessed/acquired/used/distributed a controlled substance for other than an accepted medical purpose
- Pilots – If you are a pilot and convicted of a DUI in the State of Pennsylvania, you will face legal consequences in state in addition to being required to report the offense to the Federal Aviation Administration and to the Civil Action Security Division within 60 days of the conviction. Additionally, you are also required to report whether your driver’s license has been suspended to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Action Security Division. If you do not report a DUI conviction or driver’s license suspension, then you may face your pilot’s license being suspended, revoked or denied.
- Pharmacists – If you are a pharmacist and convicted of a DUI in the State of Pennsylvania, you are required to report the offense to the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy. Each DUI conviction is considered individually on a case-by-case basis by the Professional Compliance Office of the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy. Penalties and consequences are determined by the Professional Compliance Office. You will likely be referred to the Professional Health Monitoring Programs (PHMP) Voluntary Recovery Program (VRP) for an evaluation. This is one resource for licensed pharmacists to get confidential treatment for chemical dependency.
- Commercial Drivers License (CDL) motorists (including truck drivers, bus drivers, taxi drivers) – Regardless of whether the DUI offense was committed in a personal or work vehicle, in the State of Pennsylvania, the penalties are the same. The per se level or legal limit for someone with a CDL is .04 % BAC. In addition to the consequences you will face regarding your personal driver’s license, you will also have a 1-year CDL disqualification. If the DUI offense occurred while in the commercial vehicle, you will face an additional year loss of your CDL, and 3 years if you were transporting hazardous chemicals. If you have a second DUI conviction, your CDL will be banned for life. Participating in the ARD program has no effect on your CDL being disqualified.
- Police – If you are a police officer convicted of a DUI in the State of Pennsylvania, you will face the same penalties as someone not employed as law enforcement. Receiving a DUI conviction is handled internally within a police officer’s office/municipality on a case-by-case basis. Penalties and consequences are determined by whether the officer has had any previous offenses or faced disciplinary actions. Receiving a DUI will not prohibit you from being a police officer.
- Teachers – If you are a teacher in the State of Pennsylvania and convicted of a DUI, there are no specific set-in-stone procedures or disciplinary actions. The outcome and penalties following a DUI conviction are based on the overall situation and nature of circumstances. If drugs were involved in the DUI conviction, there is a good chance you will lose your teaching license. If you have more than one DUI conviction, you will undoubtedly face more severe penalties.
- Firefighters – If you are a firefighter in the State of Pennsylvania and convicted of a DUI, your penalties and discipline will be determined by the specific fire department in which you are employed. For more information specific consequences, consult your employer’s personnel handbook.
- EMTs – If you have been convicted in the last four years of a DUI in the State of Pennsylvania, it is unlikely that you will be able to receive EMT certification. If you are currently an EMT facing a DUI conviction, you are required to report the offense within 30 days to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and will likely face an automatic license suspension.
- Stock Brokers – If you are a stockbroker and convicted of a DUI, you are required to report this to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. It is imperative that you report your conviction as soon as possible if not immediately, as failure to report may result in disqualification as a stockbroker. Large brokerage firms typically require reporting a conviction. To find out specifically whether you should report your conviction, consult your employer’s personnel handbook.
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