This blog is intended to inform doctors and nurses of the general implications of an arrest for the crime of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substances (DUI) on a Medical or Nursing License. This is Attorney Joseph Paletta and the focus of my law practice is DUI defense and Medical and Nursing License defense, and you must know that the former always affects the latter to some degree. You see, regardless of the outcome, the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine and Nursing requires you to notify the applicable Board of the DUI arrest.
Regarding the outcome of a DUI, if you have no criminal record, you will likely qualify for the pre-trial diversion program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). This program will permit the DUI charge to be resolved with no conviction, and your criminal record expunged. However, even if your prosecution is resolved by ARD, the Board of Nursing (BON) requires at least an alcohol evaluation by an approved evaluator such as the Gateway Rehabilitation Program. If the result of that evaluation indicates an “impairment,” the BON may impose additional requirements on you to preserve your license.
If you do have a criminal record, you will likely not qualify for ARD, and the case will be resolved by a trial or plea. Generally, a conviction of a Misdemeanor results in a five (5) year suspension of a Nursing License. A conviction of a Felony like diversion (technically “acquisition or obtaining of possession of a controlled substance by … deception or subterfuge” 35 P.S. Section 780-113(a)(12)) will cause the suspension of a Nursing License for ten (10) years.
For more specific information about your situation, I strongly suggest that you contact my office for a consultation, and certainly before speaking to anyone from the BON or law enforcement.
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