When a California professional licensee (such as a credentialed teacher, registered nurse, pharmacist, medical doctor, dentist, physician assistant, occupational therapist, physical therapist, psychologist) is arrested or convicted of driving under the influence (DUI/DWI/CA Vehicle Code section 23152) an immediate concern is the repercussions the DUI will have on their CA professional license.
Each CA licensing board including the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the Board of Registered Nursing, the Licensed Vocational Nursing Board, the CA Medical Board, the CA Dental Board, the CA Department of Insurance, the Board of Behavioral Sciences, the Occupational Therapy Board, the Board of Psychology, the Board of Real Estate, the Court Reporters Board, the Veterinary Board, etc… has their own laws, rules and regulations regarding the handling of criminal arrests and convictions including DUIs.
Some boards require that the licensee report the arrest within a certain period of time after its occurrence (often 30 days). However, if a licensee is already on probation with their licensing board, then they may have to report the arrest within 72 hours. If the arrest requires immediate self-reporting and the arrestee fails to report within that specified time frame, they could face additional discipline for untimely disclosure. Complicating matters is when the board, after receiving disclosure of the arrest, requests a detailed explanation of the arrest circumstances. Such an explanation may not be wise given that the arrestee has a Fifth Amendment Right not to make any statements concerning the alleged criminal act. Needless to say, it is always a good idea for a professional licensee who is arrested to contact a professional license defense attorney like Jonathan Turner right away.
Some boards do not require disclosure of arrests but do require disclosure of convictions either right away or when the licensee is filling out their license renewal application. Every professional license application these days has a personal background/moral character section that inquires into all criminal convictions – misdemeanors and felonies. Many boards even require disclosure of traffic matters entailing fines above a certain threshold such as $300. This means that even a speeding ticket may have to be disclosed even though most traffic tickets are infractions and not misdemeanors.
Ultimately, depending on the license at issue and the circumstances of the crime, the board may or may not seek discipline of the license. For example, the nursing boards and the teacher credentialing commission frequently investigate licensees who get DUIs. The results of those investigations vary depending on each case’s circumstances e.g. blood alcohol level, prior offenses, whether there were injuries or passengers involved, etc…
In sum, if you are a CA professional licensee and are arrested for a crime such as driving under the influence, you should consult a professional licensing defense attorney like Jonathan Turner immediately. It is important that you know when and what to disclose to your particular board in such a situation.