Drinking under the influence is illegal in every state. If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher, you will be arrested and charged with drunk driving. Unfortunately, if you’re a nurse, a DUI can have much greater consequences than just a night in jail.
You may lose your nursing license
If you’re convicted of DUI, you will automatically lose your nursing license because DUI is considered a crime of moral turpitude. This means that your DUI will go on your permanent record and will be visible to any future employers. Additionally, you may need to complete an alcohol treatment program and attend regular meetings with a probation officer. If you fail to do so, you could face jail time.
You may lose your job
Even if you don’t lose your nursing license, you may still lose your job. Many hospitals have strict policies against drinking and driving, and they will not hesitate to fire an employee who is convicted of DUI. If you’re lucky, you may be able to keep your job if you agree to enter into an alcohol treatment program, but this is not guaranteed.
You may have difficulty finding a new job
If you do lose your job, you may have difficulty finding a new one. Many hospitals conduct background checks on all potential employees, and a DUI will show up on your record. This could prevent you from getting hired at another hospital, or it could result in you getting offered a lower salary than other candidates. Even if you’re able to find a new job, you will likely need to disclose your DUI on future job applications. This could limit your career opportunities and make it difficult to advance in your chosen field.
While a DUI can have serious consequences for your nursing career, it is possible to fight the charges if you have been wrongfully accused or if there are extenuating circumstances. However, it is important to note that DUI cases are often difficult to win, so you may need to arm yourself with evidence and witnesses in order to have the best chance of success.