I’m a Dentist And I Got a DUI in Arizona

Dentists and other dental professionals in Arizona are licensed by the Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners. The Board also investigates allegations made against licensed and unlicensed persons and takes disciplinary action for violations.

According to the American Dental Association, 10-15% of dentists have substance abuse problems some time during their lives. There are laws in Arizona that apply dentists who are arrested and convicted of DUIs.

Can I Be a Licensed Dentist if I have a Prior DUI?

Maybe. The Board may deny your application for licensure or only grant you a restricted permit if you have committed any prior act that would be cause for censure, probation, suspension, or revocation of a license. Using controlled substances is grounds for disciplinary action by the Board which could result in censure, probation, suspension, or revocation of your license; therefore having a prior DUI could result in the denial of your application.

Do I Have to Report my DUI to the Board?

Yes. Licensees are required to inform the Board in writing if they are charged with or arrested for any conduct that could affect their ability to practice dentistry or that could affect the safety of their patients. An arrest for DUI is an indicator that you might have a substance abuse problem, which could affect your ability to perform dental work and may endanger your patients.

Will I Be Disciplined by the Board?

Probably. You will be subject to disciplinary action by the Board if you are convicted of a felony or if you engage in any “unprofessional conduct.” Using controlled substances constitutes unprofessional conduct under Arizona law and is grounds for disciplinary action. Your substance use could result in the suspension or revocation of your license.

Will my DUI Force Me to Miss Work?

Maybe. You may have to miss work or revise your work schedule to meet with your DUI attorney, attend your court appearance, and if convicted, serve jail time. If you are convicted of DUI in Arizona, it is possible that you will spend only one day in jail. If you are convicted of an extreme, super extreme, or aggravated DUI, you may have to spend more time in jail, possibly up to six months. If this occurs, you may have the option for work release, which would allow you to continue to work while you’re serving your sentence.

Can I Still Drive to Work After my DUI?

When you get a DUI, your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days. You may not legally drive for any reason while your license is suspended. After the first 30 days of your suspension, you may apply for a restricted driving permit to restore some of your driving privileges.

You will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for at least 6 months after the reinstatement of your driving privileges. If you are caught driving a vehicle without such a device, you will be required to have an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for an additional year.

If I Lose my Dental License, Can I Get It Back?

Maybe. If your dental license is suspended or revoked due to substance abuse, you may submit a written application to the Board for a new license. You must demonstrate to the Board’s satisfaction that you are “completely rehabilitated” before they will allow you to be a dentist again. If your substance abuse problem included a criminal conviction, you must have all your civil rights restored before the Board will re-issue you a license.

What If I Have a Substance Abuse Problem?

Confidential treatment is available for dentists who have problems with substance abuse. The program includes education, intervention, therapeutic treatment, and post-treatment monitoring and support.

If a dentist or applicant for licensure has a substance abuse problem, the Board will require him/her to enter into a non-disciplinary stipulation agreement that requires the dentist or applicant to comply with treatment. The Board may refuse to grant a license to an applicant or may put a licensed dentist on probation if he/she refuses to enter the agreement.  

What If I Suspect Another Dentist has a Substance Abuse Problem?

If you are licensed by the Board and you suspect that another licensed dental professional has a substance abuse problem, you are required to report it to the Board. If you do not report it, you could be disciplined for unethical conduct. 

If you have been arrested for DUI, contact an attorney for DUI at Oracle Law Group Office P.C. for assistance with your DUI case.

Photo credit: Liz West from Flickr