An unanticipated DUI/DWI charge can really send you reeling. There will be a certain level of shock and indignation, especially if you feel that you have been unfairly or wrongfully accused. Then there will be legal fees, potential jail time, possible fines and other penalties including the loss of your driving privileges. These things are bad enough but you may just lose your professional licenses on top of all that.
For example, if you’re a medical doctor in the state of Minnesota (or have some other vocation that requires a professional license to practice), your career could be put on hold or be made to come to a hard stop on account of a DWI conviction. There’s no chance of hiding what goes on your record, either, since pretty much any licensing board is going to require you to report a criminal conviction, and medical boards, for good reason, are tougher than the rest when it comes to scrutiny.
In today’s post we want to talk about the ways in which a DUI conviction can affect a medical license, and what you can do to prevent the worst if you are facing that kind of adversity. Keep reading for more good information but here’s our spoiler alert: you can contact us at any time for advice in such matters. The team at our Twin Cities law office is extremely knowledgeable about the laws governing the medical profession and is tenacious at fighting back against the powers that be.
What happens after a DWI conviction?
There’s one thing we know for sure. As a practicing doctor, you will be required to file notice of your DWI conviction to the state medical board. So, that will have to happen right away. That said, such a notice will not always lead to an investigation. Rather, it will be reviewed to determine whether or not your offense is directly related to your ability to function appropriately within your profession.
Unfortunately, as a doctor, when it comes to alcohol and drugs, there is a real stigma attached to any missteps, even if you are off the clock when something unfolds. Having an attorney on hand to fight against a conviction in the first place makes the most sense. However, if you are convicted, it will still be crucial to have good legal counsel to ensure that your career does not get derailed and that your good reputation remains intact. A prudent team of attorneys can help you handle things the right way.
Will I Be Sanctioned?
That isn’t something that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” since it all depends a lot on the relevant factors. You see, a DUI/DWI conviction may not adversely impact your medical license at all if the event occurred, say, while you were off on a vacation somewhere and resulted in no damage to property or to other people. That’s just one example. Remember, it could easily go the other way if your conviction was your second or third for a DUI/DWI charge, or one that involved passengers, personal injuries and/or damage to property. Additionally, a DUI that entailed a high BAC or happened while on the way to work is much more likely to result in discipline by the Board.
What if this is my first DWI?
That is definitely a good thing. If convicted, you are far less likely to have mandated treatment and therapy sessions or daily drug/alcohol screens. And you stand a better chance of keeping your job. Still, any DUI conviction can lead to serious consequences. That’s why you will want to engage an attorney who is prepared to fight that battle without trying to bargain down the charges. The bad news is that even if you are simply charged and never actually convicted of a DUI/DWI, you may face a medical board hearing. So, you will want to have a lawyer at the ready regardless.
What are possible defenses?
Well, your attorney will have to explore all the angles and see what works best for your situation. Take heart, though, because you will have options. It turns out that even if your breath test results suggest you were well beyond the legal limit, it is possible to get the DWI/DUI charges dismissed or reduced to some other kind of a non-alcohol driving offense. For one thing, the legality of the stop will be looked at closely, and the validity of the breath test results will be challenged. We always like to remind our clients that, here in Minnesota, it is not a matter of whether or not you can prove your innocence, but whether the state can prove your guilt. Lining up a great criminal defense attorney to work on your behalf can make that a difficult task for the prosecution.
Should I hire a DWI Attorney?
If you’ve read this far, you already know what you need to do. It is definitely time to hire a DWI attorney. Minnesota has four levels of DWI for which a driver can be charged. A charge at any level can greatly disrupt your life, so it should be taken very seriously. We can not over-stress the importance of all that is at stake here. Penalties often include jail time, hefty fines, driver’s license revocation, mandated treatment, vehicle forfeiture, and loss of employment or professional licensure.
While you can’t change your recent past, don’t take chances with your future by failing to call the most aggressive DWI attorneys in the area. At Sheridan & Dulas, P.A., our perennial philosophy is to fight back every time in an attempt to help you beat the charges. The best part is that our team is ready to start today! All you have to do is call our Eagan, MN law office at [phone] to schedule your initial consultation. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form at your convenience and we will get back to you right away.