A DUI can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Pennsylvania. If you hold a professional license, you must report any misdemeanor or felony convictions to your professional licensing board, which can then result in the suspension or revocation of your license.
It took many years of education and hard work to earn your license. Losing it would negatively impact your life, especially financially. A defense attorney from our firm can fight your DUI charge and protect your license.
What Is a DUI?
You could face DUI charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most DUI charges are misdemeanors, but felony charges are usually brought if you injure or kill someone.
The BAC or blood alcohol concentration limit in Pennsylvania is set at .08 percent. At that point, you are legally driving under the influence, the police can arrest you, and the prosecuting attorney will likely charge you with DUI.
Is Your Professional License at Risk?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, there are 29 state licensing boards and commissions, each with its own power to investigate and punish misconduct, including DUI convictions.
Each professional board has its own standards. It’s just a matter of which professional license you hold and which board governs it. Because most professional boards require you to report a misdemeanor or felony conviction, your license is at risk.
Which Professionals Can Lose Their License for a DUI?
Any professional license holder faces suspension or revocation if the board overseeing your license judges your misconduct in violation of standards. But let’s look at a few professions and how their respective boards could punish a DUI conviction.
Commercial drivers hold a CDL or commercial driver’s license. They are subject to higher standards than most drivers, especially since the vehicle they are driving carries extra risks on the road. Commercial drivers must follow all traffic laws, and there are regulations on how long they can drive before they must take a break or get some sleep.
Because a commercial driver works on the road, there are stiff penalties for drinking on the job. A commercial driver will face DUI charges even if their BAC is only .04 percent instead of .08 percent. If you’re a commercial driver, you could lose your CDL and your regular driver’s license after a first offense. Losing your CDL could be permanent after a second offense.
Doctors have a duty of care to their patients and take an oath to do no harm. A DUI conviction can seriously cast doubt on a doctor’s commitment to those standards. If you’re drinking and driving, you may be a risk at work as well.
You must report a DUI conviction to the Pennsylvania State Board of Medical within 30 days. The board could judge you unfit to practice medicine and revoke your license.
Flying in a plane under normal circumstances is stressful enough, but a pilot with a DUI conviction is concerning. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Civil Action Security Division require pilots to report a DUI conviction in 60 days or face the suspension or revocation of their license.
Even lawyers must report a DUI conviction. If you fail to report a DUI conviction to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, you face disbarment.
The State Board of Nursing requires you to disclose a DUI conviction or entrance into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program if you hold a license to be an RN, LPN, CNS, LDN, or CRNP. Failing to comply can result in the loss of your license.
The above are just a handful of the many professionals who can lose their license because of a DUI conviction or failure to report a DUI conviction. Other professionals include:
- Social workers
- Real state agents
- Police officers
Your professional license is everything to you. It represents years of hard work, time spent building your reputation, and it’s how you provide for yourself and your family financially. As such, you want to do everything you can to protect your license.
How Can a Lawyer Protect Your Professional License?
An arrest for a DUI charge is not a conviction, so you can take action to protect your professional license by consulting with and obtaining legal representation from a lawyer with experience handling DUI cases and defending licenses.
A lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your DUI charge, challenge the evidence brought by the prosecution, question if the police followed proper procedure, collect evidence and gather witness statements supporting your side, seek a reduction of the charges by negotiating a plea deal, and represent you in court if necessary.
Our founder is a former prosecutor, so we know how the other side will litigate their case against you. We can also represent you and protect your rights when the board overseeing your license conducts an investigation into your DUI charge or conviction. You do not have to answer questions without an attorney present. We will work to negotiate lesser penalties with the board and represent you at hearings.
Learn More About How a DUI Can Affect Your Professional License
Your professional license, reputation, and financial future are all on the line after a DUI charge. A conviction can result in jail time and hefty fines. Beyond the legal penalties, the board overseeing your license can open an investigation and determine if suspension or revocation is appropriate in your case.
A DUI conviction and the loss of your license will follow you around for a long time and appear on future background checks. A lawyer from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can help. To learn more about how a DUI can affect your professional license, please do not hesitate to contact us today.