If you’ve been charged with a DUI, then you’re probably worried about what the allegations mean for your future, especially if you’re a licensed healthcare professional. After all, a conviction could lead to jail time, a fine, driver’s license suspension, and harm to your reputation, but it can also have a devastating impact on your career.
How a DUI impacts your career as a licensed healthcare worker
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is tasked with ensuring that professionals like you are competent to perform their job duties. If you’re charged with a DUI, then the IDFPR will most definitely investigate your case to see if some sort of discipline is warranted. What could that discipline look like?
It depends on the facts of your case. However, state law allows the IDFPR to suspend or revoke your license, publicly reprimand you, place you on probation, and even fine you up to $10,000.
The specific discipline that you end up facing is going to depend on the outcome of your DUI case and its severity. Indications that you have an alcohol dependency is likely going to lead to more significant discipline, and you might face harsher penalties if it looks like you were trying to hide your criminal charge from the IDFPR. That’s why you’re required to report your DUI arrest to the IDFPR.
How can you protect your career when facing DUI charges?
First, it’s important to remember that there’s a big difference between a DUI arrest and a DUI conviction. Although you might face some sort of discipline for the arrest itself, a DUI conviction is likely going to result in more significant discipline and a record that’ll be harder for you to shake.
Therefore, while you’ll want to be apologetic in some fashion, you probably don’t want to admit guilt, especially not before assessing your DUI defense options. Depending on the facts of your case, you might be able to use the following strategies to effectively protect yourself:

Argue illegal search and seizure: If you were illegally stopped or the police misused an exception to the warrant requirement when they searched your vehicle, then you might be able to block that evidence from being used against you.
Claim improper administration of a breath test: Breath tests can be faulty, especially when improperly stored, calibrated, or used. If you were belching just prior to the administration of the test, for example, then the reading may come back artificially high. You need to point these issues out to the judge and jury in your case.
Point out lack of credibility: Although most people have an engrained trust in the police, law enforcement officers and witnesses aren’t always as trustworthy as we hope them to be. If you can demonstrate that witnesses in your DUI case lack credibility, perhaps by pointing out inconsistent statements, then you can diminish the power of the prosecution’s case.

Fight to protect your freedom and your career
As a licensed medical professional, there’s certainly a lot at stake when you’re accused of drunk driving. That’s why you need to find the best strategy for defending yourself both against criminal penalties and professional discipline.
Fighting on two fronts can be stressful to say the least, but there are aggressive advocates out there who can help you fight to protect your interests. If you want to learn more about what it takes to build an aggressive DUI defense, then please continue to read our blog and our website.
 The post What a DUI means for Illinois’ licensed healthcare workers first appeared on W. Scott Hanken, Attorney at Law.