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What Happens To Doctors Who Get A DUI?

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the State of Nevada is a serious matter. The collateral consequences for doctors charged with DUI are even direr because of the potential effect an arrest for DUI/DUID can have on a physician’s professional license. A physician licensed in Nevada does not have to report minor traffic violations. A frequent question that is posed to my Firm is whether a DUI/DUID is considered a minor traffic violation and consequently does not need to be reported to the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners or the Nevada Board of Osteopathic Medicine. The answer is NO.

Although you do not have to report minor traffic violations, a DUI, drug DUI, or similar types of crimes involving the impaired operation of a motor vehicle, are not considered minor traffic violations. Reporting such crimes will not necessarily impair your ability to receive or maintain your Nevada medical license, but you must report them.

How Does A DUI Charge Affect Physicians?

Nevada Revised Statutes 630.301 through 630.3065 set out the general laws regarding conduct by a physician constituting grounds for the Board of Medical Examiners to initiate disciplinary action or to deny licensure. Nevada Revised Statutes sets forth issues of criminal offenses; disciplinary action was taken by other jurisdiction; surrender of the previous license while under investigation; malpractice; engaging in sexual activity with the patient; disruptive behavior; violating or exploiting the trust of the patient for financial or personal gain; failure to offer appropriate care with the intent to positively influence financial well-being; engaging in disreputable conduct; engaging in sexual contact with the surrogate of patient or relatives of the patient.

A conviction or arrest for DUI is generally not substantially related to the qualifications, functions, and duties of a physician, but a disciplinary panel can conclude that such an arrest constitutes unprofessional conduct as a ground for discipline. Arrests for DUI by physicians reflect poorly on the profession and consequently, it can be deemed unprofessional conduct and subject a doctor to disciplinary action.

It is important to note that any sanction imposed upon a physician by the Board may be in addition to any other criminal or civil penalty the physician faces. In other words, as a licensed professional you are subject to “double discipline” which translates to discipline by the State for the criminal case, and discipline by the Board for the arrest or conviction.

Penalties For First Time DUI In Nevada

Standard First DUI

Drivers convicted of a first DUI must serve either two days to six months in jail or perform 48 to 96 hours of community service while wearing clothing that identifies the driver as someone convicted of DUI. The fine ranges from $400 to $1000. Convicted drivers are also required to pay for and attend an educational course on drug and alcohol abuse and install an IID on their car for 185 days as a condition for getting their physician’s license back.

First DUI With BAC Of .18% Or More

Penalties are more serious for a driver if they have a BAC of .18% or higher. On top of the standard first DUI penalties mentioned above, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for a period of 12 to 36 months. Along with an IID, you may also be required to attend a drug and alcohol treatment program.

Felony DUI

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI that resulted in wrongful death or substantial injury to another motorist or pedestrian, you could face extensive jail time. Nevada law states that someone convicted of a felony DUI could face anywhere between 2 to 20 years in prison and must pay a fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.

What Are The DUI/DUID Reporting Requirements?

It is in your interest to report a DUI or DUID to the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners or the Nevada Board of Osteopathic Medicine. Failure to report an arrest or conviction for a DUI/DUID can subject a physician to revocation of his or her license. Written disclosure to the Board’s enforcement division is what is necessary to satisfy the reporting requirement, and the disclosure must be made swiftly after your arrest. In other words, do not wait until your criminal matter has been adjudicated and is dismissed or a judgment of conviction is entered, you should report the arrest to the Board’s enforcement division soon after your arrest. It is also important to note that employers and hospitals may have DUI/DUID reporting requirements in addition to those that are imposed by the Board.

Failure to follow those procedures can result in disciplinary action taken by your employer and the employer is likely to report disciplinary action to the Board who can open an investigation on this basis. Make sure you are in compliance with your employer’s reporting requirements. Each hospital has its own rules and regulations, we can help navigate the rules at different hospitals and medical executive committees.

If you have questions concerning reporting requirements it is important to contact an experienced administrative law attorney who handles matters before licensing boards. At the Spartacus Law Firm, we have the experience you need to minimize the harsh consequences of being arrested for a criminal offense. Our goal at the Spartacus Law Firm would be a closure of the file with no disciplinary action, which is the best outcome.

What Does The Board Look At After A DUI Arrest Is Reported?

The Board will review a number of factors in evaluating whether a DUI/DUID should be escalated to a formal complaint and subject a physician to an administrative hearing and/or disciplinary action. The Medical or Osteopathic Board will look beyond guilt or innocence when evaluating whether disciplinary action should be taken against a physician. Most commonly, the Board evaluates the record of the case, circumstances surrounding the arrest (factors such as the Blood Alcohol Content or if anyone was harmed or if there was property damage are relevant), the plea that is entered, and the judgment and conviction, and prior disciplinary history. Any prior record of previous DUIs can subject a physician to harsher disciplinary action.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will A DUI/DUID Affect My Medical License?

When a physician gets arrested for a DUI/DUID the Board’s initial concern is the mental health of the physician and his or her fitness to practice medicine. Common disciplinary action for a DUI/DUID can include:

  • Revocation or Suspension of a physician’s medical license;
  • Board imposed supervision of the physician while at work;
  • Therapy and submission to alcohol or drug testing;
  • Fines;
  • A “letter of concern” in the physician’s file;
  • Probation;
  • Completion of an Ethics Course.

If you have been arrested for a DUI/DUID or any criminal offense it is imperative to consult with an experienced DUI attorney who also has experience in representing physicians before the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners and the Nevada Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

Will A DUI/DUID Affect My Medical Malpractice Insurance?

Physicians and physician assistants require medical malpractice insurance. A conviction for a DUI/DUID can result in an increase of insurance premium or a denial of coverage. Notably, if your DUI/DUID is reduced to reckless driving or dismissed you are much less likely to suffer negative consequences to your malpractice insurance coverage.

Will A DUI Prevent Me From Becoming A Doctor?

Probably not. However, this does not guarantee that the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners or the Nevada Board of Osteopathic Medicine will allow you to become a physician. Each case is unique and the Board looks at each individual case and does not have a unitary disciplinary policy. Many factors are taken into consideration when an applicant with a DUI/DUID conviction applies for licensure. It is important to consult with a knowledgeable professional license defense attorney to craft an appropriate strategy to respond to any potential concerns regarding licensure by the Board. Get the right help to deal with this serious issue, contact the Spartacus Law Firm today.

Please do not attempt to handle your licensing matter yourself or retain an attorney that does not understand the intricacies and nuances of the professional licensing boards. Your lawyer must be able to contemplate the effect a criminal plea can have on your medical license. For example, many attorneys are not aware that a plea of no contest is the same as a guilty plea in the eyes of the Board.

What Happens If I A Doctor Does Not Report A DUI Offense?

A recent study revealed how DUIs are handled by Physician Health Programs (PHPs) on a state-by-state basis. This study showed that most states do have a policy of asking licensees to self-report their arrests and/or convictions. Self-reporting of minor offenses is necessary for 45% of states, whereas felony arrest reporting is required in 55%. Misdemeanor and felony DUI convictions are reported by nearly all jurisdictions, with the majority requiring self-reporting within 10 to 30 days. If a doctor fails to report their conviction (within the specified time limit), that is considered a disciplinary infraction in and of itself.

Contact Our Las Vegas Doctor DUI Attorney

If you’re facing DUI charges as a doctor in Las Vegas, there’s a good possibility that you’ll be charged with serious penalties if convicted. It’s natural to be intimidated by the legal system and the unknown factors in your case. You’re likely confused about your options, and concerned for your future. If you have been arrested for a DUI/DUID or any criminal matter, contact the Spartacus Law Firm today for a consultation 702-660-1234.

(702) 660-1234