Most people are familiar with some of the negative repercussions of receiving a DUI charge in Florida. From the suspension of your driver’s license to possible incarceration, it is widely known that a DUI can impact a person’s reputation; however, what many don’t realize is that it can do greater damage to the lives and reputations of people with professional licenses.
If you rely upon a license to practice your profession, the hardships you face upon a DUI will likely exceed those faced by the average person who does not require a license to make a living. A conviction is especially risky for those who practice medicine, professionals who work in education, legal professionals, security professionals, and others.
Average Consequences of a DUI in Florida
A first DUI in Florida is a misdemeanor offense that carries serious penalties. A conviction may lead to:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- Up to 12 months of probation (the total period of incarceration and probation may not exceed one year)
- License suspension for a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 months
- A minimum fine of $500 and a maximum of $1000
- Community service hours
- DUI school
- Vehicle impoundment
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (required with a BAC of .15% or higher or a minor in the vehicle)
Any of the above consequences stands to impose a significant hardship in a defendant’s life; however, defendants with professional licenses put their entire careers in jeopardy when they are convicted of DUI.
Average Consequences of a DUI in Florida for Licensed Professionals
If you hold a professional license, your driver’s license isn’t the only one you need to worry about upon a DUI conviction. Many professional institutions view a DUI as a mark on a person’s record as a credible and responsible member. Consequently, in addition to the aforementioned list of penalties, licensed professionals may suffer the loss of their professional licenses, forcing them out of the career for which they spent countless hours receiving specialized education and training.
Professions Most Affected by a DUI
If you rely upon a professional license to perform your job, you should immediately research the DUI policy the institution which issued your license holds. The sooner you work to resolve your DUI, the more likely it is that you can remain in good standing in the face of your employer and the industry to which you contribute.
You may be surprised by what you find when learning about your institution’s DUI policy. While a DUI conviction affects most licensed professionals, it does not affect all licensures equally. The positions in which a license is a reflection of trust, good character, and strong morals stand to absorb the most shock. The following licensed and credentialed professionals may be subjected to further discipline upon a DUI conviction:
- Mental Health Professionals
- Insurance Agents
- Real Estate Agents
- Airline Pilots
- TSA Agents
- Law Enforcement Officers
- And others
Protecting Your Professional License in Palm Beach County
The state licensing board for your particular industry will decide whether or not to pursue sanctions against you over a DUI conviction. You may lose the ability to practice your professional legally for a period of time. If you face a DUI charge, it is vital to team up with a knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorney near you.
Attorney Brian P. Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has over 30 years of experience helping license professionals defend their licenses and remain in good standing with the state board. He has dedicated a significant portion of his practice to DUI defense in West Palm Beach and surrounding areas. Be sure to schedule an appointment for a free consultation by calling 561-622-5575 or complete our online contact form.