You had a few drinks at dinner and made the mistake of getting behind the wheel. You were certain you were sober enough to be driving, but you slid too fast through a stop sign and saw red and blue lights flashing behind you.

With a sinking feeling in your gut, you know that you’re about to be arrested, and a drunk driving conviction could cost you your California pharmacist’s license.

What you need is a solid defense strategy. Here’s where to start:

1. Call an attorney first

A lot of professionals call their licensing agency in a panic — before they call an attorney. That’s a big mistake. First of all, you don’t want to tell your licensing agency about the problem unless you have to do so. If you aren’t convicted, you may not have to disclose anything.

Call our office for more information on how we can help you protect your professional license before you take any further action.

2. Keep in mind that a plea equals a conviction

Many people — even professionals — don’t quite understand that a guilty plea or a plea of “no contest” still equals a conviction as far as the licensing board is concerned. Don’t believe that you can work your way out of the problem by a plea deal — no matter what the prosecutor says.

3. Don’t ignore contact from the board

Sometimes, the California State Board of Pharmacy will find out about an arrest from the Justice Department before your case is concluded. Do not ignore any contact from them asking for more information. Instead, turn the letter over to your administrative defense attorney for a careful response.

We recognize that this is one of the most frightening, distressing times of your life. We will work with you to try to ease your concerns and fight to protect your license and livelihood.