Can A DUI Attorney Help Guide Their Client Through The Administrative Process?
Absolutely. If someone got a DUI last night and they called me and they are a nurse or a doctor, what I am going to let them know is that there is a very good chance that the Department of Justice will see the arrest and notify the board, not their employer necessarily, but the medical board. It will usually trigger a letter that should be presented to an administrative attorney who will represent you with the board. You should not be trying to represent yourself. There is just too much at stake. Your steps need to be; 1) get the best DUI lawyer you can find, and 2) also get the best administrative attorney who deals with the nursing board or the medical board and has experience there, who can really tell you everything that you need to know about the procedure.
If you do get convicted of the DUI or other similar related charges, and that is something that the administrative attorney can tell you exactly what you need to report, then you need to report it to the board within thirty days of the conviction. You do not need to report the arrest unless it is in your contract to inform your employer of an arrest. They may already get informed or they may not. Usually with my clients who are in nursing, their employers do not get informed. But it can happen obviously. The procedure is get the lawyer, get them quick, get them on board and listen to everything they tell you about what is going to happen, about what their roles are going to be and what your duties and roles are going to be.
You will hear different things from different types of administrative attorneys who deal with these boards. It has changed overtime, what most of the ones will tell you now is that at some point, they very well may want you to have done some type of counseling. So whether it is individual, group counseling or AA meetings, getting started right away, getting documentation of that is a very good idea because then down the road, you are adding that so if you have to do a DUI school, if you do get convicted, you are doing school plus counseling, if it adds up to a certain amount of counseling, that administrative hearing portion is going to be enough for the board when they review you or during the hearing or during negotiations, then you have accomplished something that you do not want to wait on.
You do not want to wait until they tell you that you need to do this. Being proactive is usually a very good thing but before you start doing all that or presenting it to anybody, you need to check with that administrative attorney you hired to represent you on the board, with the board.
Is A Drug Related DUI Better Or Worse Than An Alcohol DUI For A Licensed Professional?
It depends on what the medication is. One of the problems, one of the reasons why nurses are under such scrutiny is because they deal with dispensing the medications. Doctors are getting a lot more scrutiny than they used to as what I have been told. Because I do not do the actual administrative hearing myself, I have not seen it; it is just in talking to the administrative attorneys that I deal with. Doctors are getting more scrutiny, but what they are concerned with is even nurses who are dispensing medication. It is not necessarily the ones in the bigger hospitals because there are a lot of people there and there are people looking over their shoulders, so there are more eyes on you.
They are concerned more with those who are doing nursing in smaller settings where there is not that supervisor allowance, someone who is working with the shut-ins or the elderly working in that home who have no one looking over their shoulder with the medications. So yes, prescription medication is something that is a big red flag. Is that the worse or better than alcohol? Hard to say because every case is different. But if it is abuse in medication and depending on the type of nursing that you are doing and what you are exposed to, it can be a more severe situation and your license can be in jeopardy.
Impact Of DUI Charges On A Medical Or Nursing Student
I have had a number of students as clients; most of them keep going especially if it is a first DUI. If it is a second one, you really want to consider whether you are going to keep going because it is going to be real hard to get a job in this area and you may have to go somewhere else. You may need to wait until any probation is over. It is much tougher with multiple DUIs. A first one will not stop you from getting every job out there but it will be much more difficult to get license and to get a job.
However, if you have done everything that needs to happen to assure the medical board or the nursing board that you are not going to be a problem in the future, that you are not a risk and that you have gone through the counseling needed to make them feel comfortable then it can be okay hopefully in their eyes, but this is something where I strongly advise talking with the administrative attorney who would help you with your civil case and with any review board that would look at your license. Also talk to them about what if the school you are at gets notified, what their take may be and whether or not you should notify the school.
That is something that I cannot advise generally, but I would talk to the administrative attorney about that and get their advice and obviously have them look at any student handbook that you can get hold of.
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