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Can you practice law in California after a DUI?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Professional License Defense |

To best serve their clients and communities, attorneys must have strong ethics and a commitment to the law. Therefore, one or more DUI convictions can cause difficulties for your career if you are a lawyer in California.

Understanding the consequences for lawyers with DUI charges can help you navigate your case.

Consequences for DUIs

A first-time DUI conviction in California can result in up to six months in jail, a suspended license and fines of $390 to $1000. The penalties are more severe for second and third-time offenders. As a lawyer, you face additional consequences because you must report your case to the bar association. Failing to do so within the required time frame can cause you to lose your license to practice law.

A single DUI charge does not typically jeopardize your capacity to work as a lawyer. However, multiple convictions of driving while intoxicated suggest you have substance abuse issues, making you unsuitable for practicing law. Furthermore, DUI cases with aggravating circumstances can lead to suspension, disbarment and other disciplinary actions.

Evidence of rehabilitation

If you do experience sanctions or other consequences from the State Bar of California after your DUI conviction, there are steps you can take to rehabilitate yourself and restart your career. If you have substance abuse issues, it is crucial that you seek assistance for your problems. Addiction is a serious condition, and there are many resources and professionals that can help you. If you can successfully demonstrate your rehabilitation and prove to the bar association that you have the appropriate moral character to practice law, you might be able to regain your license.

DUI convictions can have serious lasting consequences, especially for practicing lawyers.


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