The Internet is becoming fraught with reports of physicians losing their license following a DUI arrest. Most reports relate to doctors who have had multiple arrests or are have been arrested for a DUI incident involving injuries. However, this is no reason to be overly optimistic that the Medical Board will not take action against a physician upon a first arrest. The tangential effects outside the courtroom for DUI arrests are becoming more stringent daily. It is likely that most of the cases where physicians are losing their licenses for multiple offenses is a product of the more active and strict enforcement by administrative agencies and licensing boards as opposed to the mere fact that they have multiple offenses. Nonetheless, at this time multiple offenses certainly remain important criteria for Medical Licensing Boards and Administrative agencies.
In California the Medical Board (www.mbc.ca.gov) states that it looks not only at the DUI conviction itself but beyond the conviction into the circumstances of the arrest and the events in the personal life of the physician leading up to the arrest. Moreover, a physician is under a duty to disclose any pending charge for a felony and any conviction for a misdemeanor. It should be noted there is a discrepancy in what the legal requirements are for a licensed physician versus an applicant regarding a misdemeanor charge. Under California Business and Professions Code section 802.1 a physician is not required to report a misdemeanor unless it results in a conviction. Whereas an applicant is required to report any pending charge.
If the Board files a petition against a physician and the physician elects to challenge the matter a hearing may be held before an administrative law judge. Based on the decision of the administrative law judge and the investigation of the Board recommendations will be made for discipline. The Board may elect to take no action, suspend the license, place the physician on probation or revoke the physician’s license. The Board may also place conditions on any action in order to address perceived concerns of public safety.
The primary disciplinary provisions for a Physician in California are set forth in the Business and Professions code. Important provisions are as follows:
- Calif. B&P section 480;
- Calif. B&P section 820;
- Calif. B&P section 2234;
- Calif. B&P section 2239;
- Calif. B&P section 2305
If you or someone you know has a professional license or is an applicant for a professional license in the State of California and has been arrested for a DUI charge contact The Law Office of Johnson & Johnson at 925.952.8900 for a consultation.