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Will a DUI affect my professional license?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Firm News

If you are charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, your initial concerns may revolve around the loss of your freedom through a jail sentence, paying high fines or losing your driving privileges.

While these are some examples of the serious penalties that come with a DUI conviction, a conviction can also affect a professional license.

When you have spent years working hard and committing yourself to a goal to achieve a professional license, losing it can ruin your entire career. It might be hard to imagine that having some drinks with friends and driving home could end your career, but that could be your reality.

Here are some examples of professions that can be affected by a DUI conviction.

The medical professions

Doctors who are charged or convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania must notify the State Board of Medicine within 30 days. They will likely need to appear in front of the medical board and are at risk of losing their license. Failing to report the charge or conviction also puts their license at risk.

The same rules apply to others working in the medical field, such as nurses and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Nurses must report any DUI charge or conviction to the State Board of Nursing, putting their nursing license at risk.

EMTs must report a DUI to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. A DUI conviction within the last four years could also impact the ability to become an EMT.

The same rules generally apply to other professionals such as dentists and attorneys. Any DUI conviction must be reported when applying for or renewing a dental or bar license.

Commercial driver’s license holders

Individuals with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are also at risk of losing their license if they are convicted of DUI. The standard is lower for CDL holders; they can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol content is 0.04% or higher, as opposed to 0.08% or higher for drivers without a CDL.

Being convicted of DUI as a CDL license holder could cause you to lose your CDL for years, depending on the circumstances. Like most CDL holders, you probably need the license to perform your job. Without a CDL, you will be out of work.

There are many other types of professionals whose careers could be negatively impacted by a DUI conviction. These include police officers, firefighters, pharmacists, teachers and pilots.

Although some of these professions may not necessarily have a state board that they must report the DUI charge or conviction to, many departments have their own rules and regulations when it comes to reporting a DUI charge or other crimes.

You must typically report the DUI no matter the outcome

As you can see, most of these rules require you to report a DUI charge, even if it does not lead to a conviction.

If you settle a DUI through a plea deal or completing an accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program, you must usually still report it.