December 22, 2020 | DUI Defense
Doctors often work long hours in high-stress conditions. Unfortunately, high-stress occupations can lead to alcohol and substance abuse. Data show higher rates of alcohol abuse among doctors than the overall U.S. population.
Getting a DUI can be distressing for anyone. In addition to penalties like a suspended driver’s license, you may have trouble getting car insurance. But for medical license holders, the stakes are extra high. What happens to your medical license if you get a DUI in Indiana?
Applicants for Medical Licensure
Upon application for a medical license in Indiana, applicants must disclose certain criminal offenses. Except for traffic violations resulting in fines, and arrests or convictions that have been expunged, applicants must disclose:
- All arrests (even if no conviction resulted)
- All prosecutorial diversion or deferment agreements
- All convictions (misdemeanor and felony)
- All guilty please (misdemeanor and felony)
- All nolo contendre / no contest please (misdemeanor and felony)
Failure to disclose can result in a denied application.
At the time of licensure, the Indiana Medical Licensing Board evaluates each conviction and its underlying circumstances. All information related to an applicant’s criminal activity is considered. The Board will either issue a license, deny a license, or issue a probationary license.
Mandatory Self-Reporting After Licensure
The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency medical license renewal form, which is required to be completed periodically after licensure, comprises seven (7) questions. One of the questions on the renewal form asks:
“Since you last renewed, except for minor violations of traffic laws resulting in fines and arrests or convictions that have been expunged by a court, have you been arrested, entered into a diversion agreement, been convicted of, pled guilty to, or pled nolo contendere to any offense, misdemeanor, or felony in any state or U.S. territory?”
Thus, medical license holders are required to self-report any incidents that arise after licensure.
In addition to the renewal form, Indiana law requires medical license holders to report any misdemeanor or felony convictions to their licensing board within 90 days after the conviction.
Indiana Medical Board Disciplinary Actions
After an investigation, the Board decides whether formal disciplinary action is warranted. Disciplinary actions can include:
- Letter of reprimand
- Limits on practice
The disciplinary action can also involve a fine, suspension, or revocation of a license.
Impairment of Duties of a Physician
A medical license may be suspended or revoked if a license holder cannot carry out the duties and functions of a physician. Because of the nature of their occupation, impairment of a medical license holder can have grave consequences.
Some risks of impairment on the job include:
- Prescribing or administering the wrong dosages of medicines
- Work absence or tardiness
- Errors in surgical incisions
- Contamination or infection
Since a DUI can be a warning sign of a potential alcohol or substance abuse disorder, one or more DUI convictions can lead to a reprimand from the licensing board.
Although there are no categorical penalties for medical license holders who get a DUI, it is likely that the penalty severity depends on whether it is the license holder’s first DUI. However, even if it is your first DUI, if you were involved in a collision that injured or killed someone, you may face more severe penalties, including suspension of your medical license.
If a licensee is subject to disciplinary action, they have the right to appeal to an administrative law judge.
It has been said that prevention is the best cure. Likewise, prevention is the best defense. But, if you are a medical professional who is facing a DUI charge, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Indiana DUI defense attorney.