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Can your medical license survive a drunk driving conviction?

If you've never been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) before, you might be prepared to deal with the loss of your driver's license, but there is another potential consequence that can end up coming as an unpleasant surprise.

You may lose your professional license. If you're a doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse or anything else that requires a professional medical license to practice, all that time you've dedicated to your career can be wasted due to a conviction. Almost all licensing boards require you to report a criminal conviction, and medical boards are no exception. (Keep in mind that pleading guilty or "no contest" is the same as being convicted under the law.)

How can you convince the medical board to allow you to keep your license after a DUI conviction?

It is possible. It just takes work. You'll generally have to convince the medical board of the following:

  1. That this was an isolated incident and not part of a pattern of questionable behavior
  2. That you do not have any sort of alcohol or substance abuse problem
  3. That your conviction will not affect your ability to practice in any way

As part of the process of proving that you don't have a drug addiction or suffer from alcoholism, you may eventually have to submit to testing by a specialist in substance dependency. That can give you the documentation and support you need to ease the board's collective mind.

You'll also need to provide the board with an explanation of how you ended up in the situation that led to your DUI. While a DUI can literally happen to anyone -- one extra beer or glass of wine with dinner before you head home can do it -- you need to be cautious about how you present the facts of your case. If you sound like you were careless, the board may still punish you.

While it takes some effort to defend a professional license after a DUI conviction, your case is by no means hopeless. This is the time to get some solid advice before you take the next step and notify the board.

Source: aol.com, "9 Ways A DUI Will Destroy Your Career," Donna Ballman, accessed April 13, 2018

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