I’m a Doctor and I Got a DUI

The Arizona Medical Board licenses and regulates all allopathic doctors in Arizona. If you are a medical doctor or have aspirations of becoming one and you get a DUI, it’s important that you know how that will impact your professional career.

Can I Become a Doctor if I Have a DUI on my Record?

Maybe. The application for licensure asks if you have been charged or convicted of a felony or been charged or convicted of violating any state or federal drug laws. In Arizona DUI, extreme DUI, and super extreme DUI are misdemeanors. Aggravated DUI is a felony. If your DUI was drug related, you will have to disclose it. If your DUI was alcohol related, you may not have to disclose it. The application also asks if you have been treated for drug or alcohol addiction or attended rehab in the last five years, and if you have a chronic problem with drug or alcohol abuse. Your DUI may not be disclosed in your application, but your treatment must be disclosed if the court ordered you to attend a treatment program. If the Board grants you a license, it may come with restrictions due to your drug or alcohol problems that require a higher level of supervision or limit your ability to practice medicine.

If I Get a DUI after I’m Licensed, Do I Have to Report it to the Board?

Yes. If you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor that involves conduct that may affect patient safety, you must notify the Board within 10 days of being charged. Any DUI is an offense that must be reported to the Board. What will the Board do if I get a DUI? The Board will investigate any situation where you might be medically incompetent, guilty of unprofessional conduct, or mentally or physically unable to safely practice medicine. If the Board finds that disciplinary action is not necessary, it may dismiss the complaint against you, require you to attend a designated continuing medical education course, or put an advisory letter in your file. If the Board finds that rehabilitative or disciplinary action is necessary, the Board may limit or restrict your license or put you on probation.

The Board may require you to participate in an approved rehabilitative, retraining, or assessment program at your expense. The Board can also suspend or revoke your license, issues a decree of censure, or put a letter of reprimand in your file.

If I have a Substance Abuse Problem, can I Attend Treatment?

Yes, but it will be at your own expense. Statistics show that 8-15% of doctors struggle with substance abuse. If you go to treatment, the treatment program will be required to submit periodic reports to the Board regarding your treatment and release all treatment records upon request. The program must immediately inform the Board if the staff believes you are abusing any substance or if it they believe your problems will not be alleviated by treatment. If you choose to go to treatment, you must also agree to be put on probation. If you go to treatment that is ordered by the Board, you must also submit to bodily fluid testing or other tests that detect alcohol or drugs at any time within five years following the end of treatment or the probationary period.

If I get a DUI, can I Still Drive to Work?

When you get a DUI, your driver’s license will be suspended for ninety days. You may not legally perform any job functions that involve driving while your license is suspended. After the first thirty 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 six 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 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: Kathea Pinto from Flickr