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Impact of DUI for Licensed Professionals

An Ohio DUI has serious consequences for anyone convicted of this crime, but for people who have professional licenses to practice their professions the effects can be even worse. It’s possible that an OVI conviction — especially repeat convictions — could lead to suspension of your professional license, which in turn could mean you lose your job.

Different types of professional licenses are treated differently, and so the consequences for your license will vary based upon the rules and regulations for your profession, what agency has jurisdiction over your professional license, and how that agency tends to treat DUI convictions. Some are more lenient than others, but it almost always comes down to the individual circumstances of your case.

If you have a professional license and have been charged with a DUI, a good Columbus criminal defense attorney may be able to help. If your attorney can fight the Columbus DUI charge and secure a dismissal of your case or a reduction of your charge, you may be able to avoid some of the consequences for your job or your professional license.

Doctors with DUI Charge

Doctors are licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio. The board has jurisdiction over approving new licenses and suspending or revoking existing licenses. The board has a set of published disciplinary guidelines for when a criminal offense such as an OVI / DUI can affect a medical license. A criminal offense does not have to be related to your medical practice to affect your license.

According to the guidelines, any felony conviction, guilty plea, or sentencing alternative program for a felony that is unrelated to your medical practice can result in a minimum 30 day suspension of your license, with conditions for reinstatement, or a maximum penalty of permanent revocation of your license . When the conviction is for felony OVI, conditions are likely to include alcohol and substance abuse education or treatment. A felony conviction can lead to a maximum penalty of permanent suspension.

The guidelines don’t address whether a single misdemeanor DUI may lead to disciplinary action, but multiple OVIs — even misdemeanors — may be an indicator of habitual or excessive alcohol or substance use or abuse and therefore an impairment to your ability to practice. If the board determines that your alcohol or substance use impairs your ability to practice, your medical license can be suspended or revoked.

Ultimately, it’s up to the board to decide what action should be taken, if any. The disciplinary guidelines are not binding law, and can be changed by the board at any time without notice to the public. While the guidelines are an indicator of what might happen, the effect of a Columbus DUI on your medical license will depend upon the unique circumstances of your case and how the board weighs and considers those circumstances.

Nurses with DUI Charge

Ohio Rev. Code R.C. 4723.28 gives the Board of Nursing authority over disciplinary actions against people with nursing licenses or dialysis technician certificates. DUI currently is not among the 11 offenses that automatically bar you from obtaining a nursing license. However, the statute allows the board to deny an application for a nursing license or to place restrictions upon an existing license when you are convicted or plead guilty to any felony crime, a crime involving gross immorality or moral turpitude, a misdemeanor drug violation, or a misdemeanor committed in the course of your nursing practice.

OVI can sometimes be charged and convicted as a felony, and its up to the Board of Nursing to determine what offenses might fall under the category of “gross immorality or moral turpitude.” The latter is a fairly subjective criteria and the board itself says in its criminal history fact sheet published online that it can’t offer advice or a definitive answer how your criminal history might affect your license. A Columbus DUI may not lead to action against your license, but the possibility exists — particularly if something about the circumstances of your case suggests to the board that your offense fits their definition of gross immorality or moral turpitude.

Pharmacists with DUI Charge

The State Board of Pharmacy licenses pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and the board has jurisdiction over approving license applications or taking disciplinary action against currently licensed pharmacists or pharmacy techs. Because of the nature of pharmacy work, the board can be strict when someone commits an offense related to alcohol or drugs.

Ohio Administrative Code 4729-6-01 addresses impaired pharmacists — and the word is used broadly to also include pharmacy interns or pharmacy techs — and details what actions the board can take against a pharmacist who is deemed too impaired to perform his or her job. Impairment in this context doesn’t mean a single instance the way it does with impaired driving, but rather a pattern that indicates the pharmacist can’t safely practice pharmacy.

A pharmacist may be considered impaired if he or she shows signs of substance abuse or chemical dependency, which can include legal problems related to alcohol or drugs. A single DUI might not lead the board to believe you’re impaired and unable to practice pharmacy, but multiple OVI convictions could trigger a disciplinary action. Action could include referral for substance abuse assessment and treatment, or the board has the authority to initiate disciplinary action or to summarily suspend a pharmacist’s license if the pharmacist is believed to present a danger of immediate and serious harm if allowed to continue practicing.

Dentists with DUI Charge

Dentists or dental hygienists are licensed by the Ohio State Dental Board and must pass a criminal background check before a license application will be granted. For current license holders, the board has a set of disciplinary guidelines that include the possibility of suspension or revocation of the license for any felony conviction or for any misdemeanor committed in the course of practice. A simple misdemeanor OVI may not trigger disciplinary action unless committed in the course of practice, but a felony OVI may result in at least the temporary loss of your license.

Lawyers Facing DUI Consequences

Lawyers in Ohio are subject to the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the Supreme Court. The rules primarily address how lawyers should practice ethically and maintain the integrity of the profession. The rules don’t specifically address the scenario of an Ohio DUI, but it can be considered misconduct to engage in any conduct that “adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law.” There are examples where the Supreme Court of Ohio has suspended a lawyer’s license following multiple OVI convictions.

Financial Service Providers Facing DUI Charges

People such as mortgage brokers who are licensed by the Ohio Division of Financial Institutions of to work in the financial services industry must undergo a criminal background check before their licenses are approved. Primarily, they’re going to be looking for crimes such as theft, fraud, or white collar crimes that indicate you’re not trustworthy to handle other people’s financial information. However, a Columbus DUI conviction could show up on the background check. If you’re concerned about how an OVI conviction might affect your professional financial services license or your career, you should consider consulting with an experienced Columbus DUI attorney who can help you try to avoid consequences on your professional license.

Teachers and Educators with DUI Charges

The general rule of thumb for teachers, principals, or other educators is that the Ohio Department of Education does not require you to report an OVI when you apply for a job within the system. However, you may face disciplinary action if you’re arrested for a DUI after you’re employed. Ohio Rev. Code 3319.31 allows the State Board of Education to pursue disciplinary action against any licensed educator or person who is seeking a license who engages in conduct that is considered immoral or unbecoming of a teacher, or if an educator pleads guilty to or is convicted of a felony offense.

It may be critical to your career that you get the help of a qualified OVI defense lawyer as soon as is possible after your arrest. A lawyer not only can help you with the DUI charge itself, but also may be able to help you with any disciplinary action that arises as a result of your arrest.

Pilots and DUIs

Pilots are licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and must report any and all DUI convictions to the FAA. Pilots also must report to the FAA when their driver’s licenses are suspended because of a refusal to take a breath, blood or urine test, or when their licenses are suspended for testing over the legal limit. A notification letter has to be mailed to the FAA in Oklahoma City within 60 days after the conviction or administrative drivers license suspension. If no letter is sent, the FAA may suspend or revoke your pilot’s license or deny your application for a license. If you don’t report, the FAA can find out about your conviction from the National Driver Register.

Commercial Drivers

People who hold commercial drivers licenses, such as truck drivers, bus drivers, or taxi drivers, face serious consequences and possible loss of their livelihood when convicted of an OVI in Ohio, or when placed under an administrative license suspension for refusing a breath, blood, or urine test. There are implications for your CDL even when your alleged DUI was in your personal vehicle and on your personal time.

When you get a DUI in Ohio, your CDL may be disqualified for up to one year on a first conviction, and possibly for life on a second conviction. You’re also required to notify your employer of any traffic conviction within 30 days, and of any license suspension or revocation before the end of the business day following your receipt of the notification of the suspension. Needless to say, that could have very negative consequences for your employment. You can read more about CDLs and OVI convictions here.

It’s vitally important that CDL holders seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney when facing OVI charges. An attorney could help you avoid disqualification of your CDL and other consequences of an alcohol-related conviction.

Public Safety Workers with DUI Charges

Police officers, firefighters, or EMTs may face suspension from duty when convicted of an OVI or when placed under an administrative license suspension. A valid driver’s license usually is a requirement for police officers, who need to be able to operate patrol cruisers, firefighters who need to drive fire engines, or EMTs who need to drive ambulances. Any other disciplinary action or how your suspension is handled — for example, whether you’d get paid administrative leave — likely would be governed by a union contract that may vary from department to department.

If you are a licensed professional who has been charged with a Columbus DUI, don’t hesitate – your employment, licensure, and reputation may be at stake. Our Columbus DUI attorneys are experienced at handling cases with tact and care while achieving the best possible outcome for your situation. Contact us at for a free consultation today.

At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we can help you confront the Ohio criminal justice system from your arrest through to your trial. By advocating for your rights and thinking strategically about your case defense, we will maximize your chances of obtaining a positive case result. If you’ve been charged with OVI, call us today at for a free and confidential consultation of your case.

DUI Charge as a Licensed Professional? Contact Us.

If you’ve been charged with a OVI / DUI, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced Columbus DUI attorney to fight for you in court, please contact us at or via email at advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com.

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