How to Protect Your Professional License and Yourself when Charged with a DUI in Florida
While many might know about the consequences of getting charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida, they may not know how a DUI can affect their eligibility to maintain their professional license.
A DUI charge could ruin anybody’s reputation - whether that means having your license suspended or going to jail. To someone with a professional license, however, a DUI charge may be much more detrimental to their career than to the average person’s career.
Harsh Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Florida
A DUI in Florida is considered a first degree misdemeanor, and carries several serious consequences. A person’s first or second DUI is charged as a misdemeanor; however, a third or any subsequent DUI and a DUI resulting in someone else’s injury or death is charged as a felony. A DUI conviction may lead to up to a year in jail and, depending on the circumstances, 12 months on probation, a license suspension, a fine of $500 or more, community service hours, mandatory DUI school, or possibly a breathalyzer installed in your vehicle. While these penalties can severely alter anyone’s daily life, a person with a professional license now has the added fear of the termination of their license, or even worse, their career.
Who has a Professional License?
For some jobs, a professional license is necessary for a person to work or practice. People who work as doctors, dentists, lawyers, nurses and teachers, for example, all have professional licenses and may face career ending ramifications when charged with a DUI.
What to do if Charged with a DUI Affecting Your Professional License
Don’t panic, but you need to take control and act quickly. You only have 10 days to save your driver's license if you've been charged with a DUI in Florida.
First things first - contact a criminal defense attorney with a great reputation. Time is of the essence. To avoid catastrophic consequences of your DUI charge to your career and professional license, you need to hire a lawyer right away to mitigate the damage and stress of the charges. If you call Rossen Law Firm’s trained criminal and DUI defense attorneys at 754-206-6200, we can guide you through the process of responding to your respective professional board and we can represent your case. We offer free strategy sessions for you to learn how we’ll help you beat your DUI case.
How Does a DUI Charge Affect a Doctor?
In Florida, doctors have 30 days to report their DUI charge to their medical board. Depending on the person’s license, they may only have 15 days. Then, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Health may launch an investigation into the person charged, in order to ensure that their work has not been compromised as a result of the DUI charge. The consequences of a DUI on a medical licence include a professional license suspension or termination depending on the nature of the offense, random drug and alcohol testing, mandatory counseling, probation, and a ‘letter of concern’ in the person’s file.
How Does a DUI Charge Affect a Dentist?
In Florida, dentists have 30 days to report their DUI charge to their medical board. Once the case has been completed, dentists need to submit certified official court documents showing the date and outcome of the charge, certified copy of any disciplinary actions taken in result of the conviction (probation, DUI school), and a detailed letter explaining the circumstances of the charge. The letter should include details about the factors in your life when the charge happened, what you learned from the experience, and what you have since done to support rehabilitation.
How Does a DUI Charge Affect a Lawyer?
In Florida, lawyers have to report a felony charge to the Florida Bar within 10 days of the failing of the indictment. The Bar will file a ‘Notice of Determination or Judgment of Guilt,’and immediately suspend the lawyer. At any point after the notice is filed, the lawyer can file a petition to modify or terminate their suspension. The Supreme Court of Florida will appoint a committee to hear any petitions on suspension and decide upon sanctions for the lawyer. These may include disbarment, suspension, public reprimand, diversion to practice, probation, and a disciplinary resignation. While the rules are less serious for a misdemeanor, the Florida Bar does not take any criminal activity lightly and requires it to be reported immediately.
How Does a DUI Charge Affect a Nurse?
In Florida, nurses have 30 days to report their DUI charge to the Florida Board of Nursing. Because a DUI involves the use of drugs or alcohol, nurses may be required to submit an evaluation or enroll in an Impaired Nurses Program. The Florida Board of Nursing decides on all disciplinary actions, and may decide whether or not to conduct their own investigations. While a first-time DUI charge is not likely to lead to the revocation of one’s nursing license, a second or third conviction may carry more serious consequences with the Board.
How Does a DUI Charge Affect a Teacher?
In Florida, individual schools and districts have their own rules about reporting a DUI charge. If the case ended in a plea or conviction, it may trigger a disciplinary hearing, possibly leading to the Department of Education imposing sanctions against your Florida Educator Certificate. If disciplinary action is taken against you, you may have to appear in front of the Teacher Hearing Panel of the Education Practices Commission, which decides the appropriate resolution of the case. A first offense misdemeanor charge is more likely to be forgiven by the school than a second offense or a felony.
How Does a DUI Charge Affect a Therapist?
In Florida, no matter if a therapist was convicted or found guilty, regardless of an adjudication, or if he or she entered a plea of nolo contendere to a DUI charge, they need to report the outcome of their case to the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. For a first offense, the minimum discipline is a $1,000 fine and probation from practicing, while the maximum disciple is the $1,000 fine and a permanent revocation from practicing. For a second offense, the fine is the same but with a one year suspension from practicing. For a third offense, the fine is $2,500 with a two year suspension from practicing or permanent revocation.
How the Rossen Law Firm Wins DUI Cases Affecting Professional Licenses
Ellen was meeting up with a friend at Flanigans in Davie for a fun night out. Ellen’s friend introduced her to a man, and she had a conversation with him over food and drinks.
One thing led to another, and Ellen found herself at this man’s house to rest. Before long, this man was trying to rape Ellen. She got into her car and fled. After driving on the wrong side of the road for 8 blocks in her panicked state, Ellen was pulled over by police and was ultimately arrested for DUI.
She was terrified her licensing board would suspend her professional license and a conviction would damage her reputation in the community - things she had spent years working to build. We were able to prove in court, with the help of a Rape Trauma Expert, that Ellen was frazzled and not drunk. Her charge was reduced to reckless driving.
Check out Ellen’s Case Result to learn more about her case and how Rossen Law Firm beat her DUI.
The police received an anonymous tip that a car was driving funny in Boca Raton and they ended up pulling over Kenny.
Kenny failed the field sobriety exercises and was arrested and charged with DUI. In the process, he was given two separate breath tests. He blew more than 2.5 times the legal limit.
Kenny had never been in trouble before, but was still denied the Palm Beach DUI First Time Offender diversion program because of the high breath tests and his poor driving.
In the end, Rossen Law Firm beat his DUI and got him into the diversion program anyways. Since Kenny is a doctor in residency for emergency room medicine who had worked hard to put himself through medical school and pass his board exams, beating his DUI was very important. He was afraid he would lose his medical license and career if convicted of DUI in Florida.
To learn more about Kenny and how we beat his DUI by getting him into the Palm Beach diversion program, read his case result here.
Reach out today to learn more about protecting yourself and your professional license when charged with a DUI, or to schedule a free strategy session with Rossen Law Firm.
Fort Lauderdale Office: 754-206-6200
Sunrise Office: 754-999-2499