Many of us have made the choice to drive a vehicle after consuming one alcoholic drink or more. Usually, it is a careless, reckless, naïve decision, believing the alcohol or medications will not affect our driving ability. We also believe that our driving will not draw the attention of the police. Frequently, we underestimate the effects of our drinking and do draw attention to our driving either by the police or other drivers that contact 911. Add to this the legal checkpoints in Georgia, and it is not always easy to get away with drinking and driving. The state of Georgia has the second strictest DUI laws in the nation. The risk is high, and the penalty can be severe, especially for individuals with a medical license.
Our skilled profesional license defense attorneys at SHElaw firm® want to provide you with some information and offer our help. Read on for more information about the impact of a DUI on your professional license, and contact us today to speak with an attorney, risk-free.
Is this Your First, Second, Third, or additional DUI charge?
For a first DUI conviction, the minimum penalties are:
A fine of $300, 24 hours incarceration, 12-months suspension of driver’s license with possible limited permit, a risk reduction program, community service, and a mental evaluation
For a second DUI conviction, the minimum penalties are:
A fine of $600, 72 hours incarceration, 3-year DL suspension with possible ignition interruption device, a risk reduction program, community services, a mental evaluation, probation, and a requirement to pay for the publication of a notice of conviction in local media.
For a third DUI conviction, the minimum penalties are:
A fine of $1000, 15 days incarceration, 3-year DL revocation, a risk reduction program, community services, a mental evaluation, probation, and a requirement to pay for the publication of a notice of conviction in local media.
For a Fourth and subsequent DUI conviction, the minimum penalties can be:
A fine of $1000, 90 days incarceration, 5-year driver’s license revocation, a risk reduction program, community service, a mental evaluation, probation, and a requirement to pay for the publication of a notice of conviction in local media.
When calculating the costs of each of these infractions, add court costs and fees, the expense of lost time of production, loss of respect from partners, associates, peers, patients, and friends, and time spent incarcerated and going to court. If you are a practicing medical professional, rescheduling your daily schedule for the mandatory minimum incarceration time can be a major problem for your office staff. You may be able to make excuses for the first time and the truth not get out. But, the second and subsequent arrests will be published in the local media for all to see, paid for by you.
Are You Being Charged with a Misdemeanor, a High and Aggravated Misdemeanor, or a Felony?
Every criminal case is evaluated based on the facts specific to that case. Certain factors must exist for the District Attorney to charge it as a high and aggravated misdemeanor or a felony instead of a misdemeanor. A driver must be less safe to drive due to their use of drugs, alcohol, inhalants, or a combination. The first and second offenses are charged as misdemeanors, the third as a high and aggravated misdemeanor, and the fourth and subsequent convictions will be charged as felonies.
You will be charged with a felony if any of these conditions exist along with your misdemeanor DUI charge:
- A minor under age 14 is present in the impaired driver’s car.
- There was an accident resulting in serious bodily injury.
- Fourth DUI charge in 10 years with three prior convictions.
All these penalties, restrictions, and repercussions are for anyone arrested and found guilty of a DUI offense in Georgia. How it affects your medical license is more complicated. The Georgia Composite Medical Board will determine that.
What does The Georgia Composite Medical Board do?
The Georgia Composite Medical Board includes 11 practicing MDs, 2 ODs, 1 PA or NP, and 2 consumer advocates. The GCMB oversees, regulates, and issues permits, certificates, registrations, and licenses for medical practitioners in Georgia. On the Laws Page of their website, you can locate a link for the Patient Right to Know Act. Sections 11-13 are for information regarding criminal convictions. The original licensing paperwork for a physician in GA indicates that you agree to self-report any legal incidents in which you become involved.
If you are a medical practitioner and get a DUI, you should report it to the GCMB. Even if you are the most popular and loved physician in GA, there is always a jealous competitor, disgruntled former employee, or unhappy patient who will report you. For medical professionals practicing with a GA license, the Board may issue any of the following punishments:
- Probation, suspension, and revocation of certificate, permit, or license
- Limit the ability to practice, or require additional training in the area of expertise
- Require competency hearings, and review patient records
- Issue a monetary fine, and/or require reimbursement for investigation expenses
- Require a private or public reprimand
If you are applying to The Board for a new license in GA, be honest. They do extensive background checks and will find the record of your arrest. It will look even worse if you lie to try to hide it.
The Georgia Composite Medical Board can rule that you are “unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety due to drug or alcohol abuse.” This “Skill and Safety” judgment is founded on your conviction and a review of recent patient care or knowledge of protocols. The GCMB can suspend or revoke your license to practice medicine in Georgia under this statute. Any of these actions will also be reported to the national boards, making it difficult to get licensed in other states.
A DUI will result in a premium increase for your malpractice insurance if you can continue your medical practice or practice in another state. Your auto, boat, and other recreational vehicle premiums will increase too. Additional DUI convictions will impact your practice and your bank account more.
Contact a Professional License Defense Lawyer Near You and Protect Your Career!
The professional license defense experts at SHElaw firm® want to help you keep your license in good standing. Do not just plead guilty to the first charge in order to make it go away, certain it will never happen again. I never thought I would get another DUI are famous last words. It could happen again, making that first conviction very important. Contact SHElaw firm® today to speak to our local criminal defense attorneys. We want to help insure the pain you are already experiencing is as bad as it gets.