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8. Effects of a DUI on Various Jobs & Careers

Legal Standard. Generally, the California Business and Professions Code requires that before any professional license is denied, suspended or revoked for a conviction, the conduct in question must be shown to be substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of the profession. (B&P 480, 490). Each licensing agency develops its own guides and regulations vary widely from agency to agency. You should discuss your specific case with a Santa Rosa attorney.

White CollarPractical Considerations. Sonoma County DUI lawyers know that most professional and consumer licensing boards (such as the Contractors State License Board, the Department of Health, the Medical Board, the Bar Association, etc...) typically will not take disciplinary action for a single Sonoma County DUI. Rather they are more concerned if one or more DUIs indicate that a licensee has a substance abuse problem. Where one DUI might not cause discipline, two or more DUIs may very well indicate abuse or addiction, or poor common sense and professional judgment. (Grifiths, 96 CA4 757.)

Disclosure & Remedial Measures. Experienced Santa Rosa DUI attorneys will tell you that in most cases the best practice is full and timely disclosure if required (see discussion below about how to find your record and what do employers know), and if applicable a willingness to address substance abuse issues in your life. It is imperative that you protect your career by prompt inquiry into applicable rules, and by avoiding a subsequent Sonoma County DUI incident or violation of probation in Santa Rosa Superior Court. In addition, certain rehabilitation may save a career. Factors such as the passage of time, successful completion of Sonoma County probation, remorse, change in attitude, expungement, alcohol or drug rehabilitation, completion of formal education, stability of family life, and community involvement can have significant impact on a licensing board decision to soften or reverse discipline. (B&P 480, 10 CCR 2911, Arneson, 28 Cal.3d 440.)

Note that a conviction for nearly any infraction is not a lawful basis to suspend or deny a professional license. (PEN 19.8, CVC 13202.5.) If your Sonoma County DUI lawyer is successful in causing your matter to be dismissed, or reduced to an infraction, risk to a professionally licensed career may be substantially minimized.

Click on these links for samples of laws and regulations governing professional conduct and disciplinary approaches for various professions:

Accountants (CPAs), and see B&P Section 5063 Reporting Requirements, and Reporting Form

Attorneys, and see discipline appeal case, In re Kelly (two DUIs in 2-1/2 years plus probation violation, public reproval, three years disciplinary probation), and State Bar v Guillory (DUI prosecutor with three DUIs in four years, suspended minimum two years upon approval of CA Supreme Court), and see also In re Reichle, and In re Hardin, and see generally, Reporting Form

Barbers & Beauticians

Contractors, and Reporting Form

DMV Occupational Licenses (Salespersons, Dealers, Driving Schools)

Doctors, and see discipline appeal case, Watson v. Medical Board (four DUIs in five years, license revoked, but stayed subject to probation for five years, with 30 days' actual suspension, discipline upheld on appeal), and see Medical Board Puts Napa Doctor on Probation (first offense DUI on night doctor was on call, traffic stop for speeding/weaving, see Board Decision: four years medical license probation, ethics course, therapy, no alcohol use, random drug/alcohol testing), and see generally, Reporting Form

Insurance Brokers, and Reporting Requirements

Military (and see further discussion or Military Recruits and Military Service, below)

Nurses, and see discipline appeal case, Sulla v. Board of Nursing (single DUI, solo collision, 0.16% BAC, license revoked, but stayed subject to three years of probation, discipline upheld on appeal), but see Sample Citation and Fine only (for single DUI, 0.22% BAC), and see generally, Disciplinary Guidelines, and Sample Board of Nursing Diversion Offer (consult with a Nursing Lawyer first), and Reporting Requirements

Paramedics, and AMR Policy Example

Peace Corps, and More on Peace Corps

Pharmacists, and More on Pharmacists, and see discipline case, In the Matter of Jacqueline Hall

Pilots, and More on Pilots, and Reporting Requirements

Real Estate Agents, and Reporting Form

Teachers, and see discipline appeal case, Broney v. Commission on Teacher Credentialing (three DUI convictions in 14 years, teaching credential suspended 60 days, but stayed subject to three years of probation, discipline upheld on appeal)

Therapists

Vocational Nurses & Psychiatric Technicians, and see sample Inquiry Letter

Or click on Resources on this site and then find your licensing board website under "Agencies and Organizations," or consult your professional directory for additional information. Inaction with respect to a Sonoma County DUI or other conviction in the Santa Rosa courthouse may cause serious consequences which could have been avoided with timely intervention.

Military and Law Enforcement Personnel.

Military and law enforcement personnel who are charged and/or convicted of a Sonoma DUI present special situations which require information you receive from military counsel, union representative, or your commander, and coordination of strategy with your Sonoma DUI lawyer. You should also be aware of any self-reporting requirements of your particular service branch.

Local Coast Guard DUI Consequences. The following consequences have been reported by several local Sonoma County coast guard personnel prior to any adverse DUI court or DMV findings: base driving privileges suspended for one year, grounded from flight operations for 60 days, alcohol dependency screening by command surgeon and/or off base intensive evaluation and 28-day residential treatment, two alcohol awareness classes per week for six weeks, command investigation, captains mast non-judicial punishment, documentation of alcohol incident in permanent record, fine, suspension of incentive pay, after hours work and confinement to base.

Military Service. Obviously, the best way to avoid consequences if you suffer a Sonoma County DUI while serving in the military was to avoid the DUI altogether. The second best way is to try to beat the DUI by hiring a local Santa Rosa lawyer, such as Jake, to review the case and present your options. Click here to read a "sobering" account by an airman of The Fast Track To Losing Stripes. Click here to read about the top enlisted sailor on the San Diego-based destroyer Gridley, a Master Chief Petty Officer relieved of duties as command master chief due to loss of confidence in his ability to fulfill the role: Top Sailor on San Diego Destroyer Ousted after Tennessee DUI Charges.

Military Recruits. You may wish to consider asking your lawyer to attempt to avoid the typical three or more years of Sonoma County probation if such continuing jurisdiction by a civilian court would present obstacles to enlistment or continued service. Click here to see an example of a DUI Disqualification Letter declining consideration for enlistment until the Sonoma County DUI case is resolved without conditions (in other words, without continuing probation). Sometimes a letter or other proof of need to resolve your Sonoma County case without probation terms may help your Santa Rosa DUI lawyer to obtain such a resolution. Click here to see an example of a Recruiting Officer Letter request for no probation. If you authorize your Santa Rosa DUI lawyer to speak with the appropriate commanding or recruiting officer, often severe consequences may be avoided.

Road MaintenanceCommercial Drivers.

Commercial drivers with Class A or B licenses face particularly tough consequences upon conviction for a Sonoma County DUI or failure to win the related Santa Rosa DMV hearing. A truck driver, commercial delivery person, or fire engine driver may face loss of career because a DUI conviction will normally result in a one-year loss of his/her commercial license (CVC 15300).

A second DUI or combination of convictions (even if the prior conviction(s) were more than ten years ago) will normally result in lifetime loss of commercial privileges (CVC 15302). Note that the DMV's current interpretation of CVC 15302 is that this penalty is not intended to include DUI arrests prior to the operative date of September 20, 2005. Sometimes the only way to avoid catastrophic personal or economic consequences is to obtain a substantial reduction in charges, or win your case at trial in the Sonoma County Superior Court. Discuss your specific case with a Sonoma County DUI lawyer.

Employer Pull Notice ("EPN") Program.

As required by Vehicle Code Section 1808.1, certain drivers, typically commercial drivers with Class A or B licenses, or Class C licenses with special driving qualifications, are enrolled by their employers in the EPN program. Pursuant to this program, the DMV will automatically generate a driving record and mail it to the employer for newly enrolled drivers, or annually for currently enrolled drivers, or upon an "action or activity" which is defined by law as a conviction, failure to appear, accident, driver license suspension or revocation, or any other action taken against the driving privilege, including initial DUI charges.

A Santa Rosa DUI attorney may be very helpful keeping commercial and other drivers on the road after a DUI arrest and before the case resolves, explaining to an employer that simply receiving a notice of an action or activity does not necessarily mean that an employee cannot drive at this time, but just that an initial action has been taken (such as suspension by means of the pink temporary license, but stayed due to a request for DMV hearing) and might very well be fought and won (or DUI reduced to wet reckless or better, etc) in Sonoma County court and at the DMV, resulting in no DUI suspension at all, or that there may be significant delay before any DUI suspension actually occurs, and that, depending on individual circumstances, the employee's driving privilege is likely perfectly valid and complete at this time despite any pending DUI charges or allegations in court or at DMV.

Click here to see a Sample Government Employee Pull Notice sent to a county employer regarding an employee arrested for a refusal DUI, or here for a Sample Commercial Driver Pull Notice sent to a trucking company regarding a driver arrested for a simple DUI in his private non-commercial vehicle. You can find more information on the EPN program by clicking on EPN Program. If you are not required to be part of the EPN program pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 1808.1(k), then if you are enrolled, your employer must obtain your prior written consent on a form such as the Authorization for Release of Driver Record Information, and keep a copy on file at your worksite, and immediately remove you from the program upon termination of your employment. Click here for other Pull Notice Forms on the DMV website.

Background Checks and Employment Applications

When applying for a state license or job, many licensing agencies and employers ask about criminal history before hiring you or allowing you to sit for a licensing exam. See, for example, the Dental Hygiene Committee of California Exam Application. A good Sonoma County DUI attorney will advise that you get a copy of any records indicating negative incidents, such as your DMV record, local court record, and state criminal record.

Get copies of your records. Find your DMV driving record by going to DMV and asking for a complete long form "H6" driver license history printout. A Santa Rosa DUI lawyer can be very helpful assisting you in deciphering this printout. Find your local criminal record by going to the local courthouse where you were arrested and/or convicted to get a "docket" or printout of your case history. Get your California state criminal records by clicking the following link and requesting a copy of your DUI or other criminal records: California Department of Justice Records Request. Again, a Sonoma DUI attorney may be very useful in explaining how to read records after you receive them.

Correcting inaccuracies. If there are inaccuracies on your state criminal record, you may submit a formal challenge to the Department of Justice only after you have received a copy of your record from the Department, pursuant to California Penal Code sections 11120-11127. Form BCIA 8706 "Claim of Alleged Inaccuracy or Incompleteness" will be mailed to you along with your record. Submit form BCIA 8706 and any supporting documentation to the Department of Justice at the address provided on the form. The challenge will be reviewed and a written response will be provided, along with an amended copy of your criminal history record if appropriate.

What can a potential employer ask about? The best Santa Rosa DUI attorneys will tell you that employers are highly regulated on what information regarding criminal backgrounds may be solicited on employment applications. Both federal and state laws restrict the types of questions which may be asked. California Labor Code Section 432.7 generally prohibits employers from asking about arrests or detentions which did not result in convictions, or which resulted in diversion programs in lieu of convictions, or about convictions which have been sealed or expunged (see our Sonoma County DUI Lawyer Discussion of Expungements). This does not prohibit employers from asking about pending cases where an arrest occurred but the case has not yet been resolved. California Labor Code Section 432.8 generally prohibits employers from asking about minor marijuana convictions more than two years old. California Labor Code Section 432.9 generally prohibits public agency employers from asking about conviction history on any employment application, until the agency has determined the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications for the listed job. For a good discussion of applicable employment law in this area, see, California Laws on Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records, and the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing publication, Employment Inquiries: What Can Employers Ask Applicants? Consult with a Sonoma County DUI attorney about your unique situation.

Public Information, Internet & Mug Shots

Court Records. Santa Rosa DUI attorneys will tell you that criminal case records from arrest to disposition are generally considered to be public information. Indeed, this is the reason why stopping at your local county courthouse where a case is pending or was concluded, is the single best way for you to find accurate information about your matter. Unfortunately, this is also true for any prospective employer, vindictive spouse, or news outlet who knows your county of residence. Generally, these records may not be sealed or destroyed without further proceedings, although guilty pleas may be withdrawn and cases dismissed pursuant to California's expungement process. Expungements do not completely wipe out evidence of a DUI conviction, but may be very useful in certain circumstances. See our Sonoma County DUI lawyer discussion of expungements by clicking here: Easing the Consequences of a DUI: Expungements.

NurseNews Outlets & the Internet. Given the incredible access to information provided by the world wide web, anyone arrested for a DUI should expect to find evidence of such proceedings in the news and on the internet. Local police agencies routinely make available over-the-counter arrest logs (the typical source of "jail mail" for lawyer solicitations in your mail box), and arresting agencies routinely publish and post DUI arrest stories and periodic arrest logs. Click here to see the Sonoma County Sheriff Daily Arrest Logs, here for the Mendocino Sheriff Daily Booking Reports (including mugshots), here for the Napa County In Custody Bookings, here for the Lake County Recent Arrests, here for the Marin County Public Booking Log, and here for the Solano County Jail Booking Logs.

Agencies often post arrest information on the Nixle public safety agency reporting service. Click the following links to see the local Nixle sites for Santa Rosa Police, Petaluma Police, Sebastopol Police, Rohnert Park Police, and Sonoma County Sheriff.

Local news outlets such as the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Napa Valley Register, Marin Independent Journal, and Ukiah Daily Journal often publish and upload to the internet DUI news headline stories, including names of individuals arrested for DUI, particularly if the allegations are relatively severe, and thus newsworthy (such as collisions, police chases, children in the vehicle, multiple offenders, etc.). Certain news outlets also collect and publish DUI arrest and conviction statistics which include names of arrested individuals. Click here for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat Daily Arrest Logs, which lists Sonoma County arrests, and often lists arrests in surrounding counties including Napa, Lake, Mendocino and Marin.

Although such reporting may harm relations or reputations, and preliminary allegations and reports may later be proven false or misleading, nevertheless, Sonoma DUI lawyers find that most publishers refuse as a matter of policy to remove an individual name from such news stories and listings when requested to do so, even under the most compelling circumstances.

Mug Shots. Many counties publish or release booking photos and mug shots to the media, and there are numerous commercial internet companies who obtain and re-post these photos online. A commercial website might remove a mug shot following a simple request, but many have been known to charge a hefty fee without any guarantee that the harful or offensive mugshot or info will not pop up on a sister website. In 2014, California passed SB1027, outlawing this practice in Civil Code Section 1798.91.1. But see the following in-depth discussion on this topic by the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts: Fight Against Mugshot Sites Brings Little Success. See also a number of older articles on this topic: Mugged by a Mug Shot Online, and Don't Want Your Mug Shot Online? Then Pay Up, Sites Say, and How People Profit From Your Online Mug Shot And Ruin Your Life Forever, and Mug Shot Websites Face Lawsuit Alleging Violations Of Arrestee Publicity Rights.

See one rare example of local law enforcement doing something to protect the privacy of the accused: Sonoma County Sheriff Removes Jail Mugshots from Internet.

The good news from a Santa Rosa DUI lawyer standpoint is that at least some of these sites may respond (if you have the money), but this is a perfect opportunity for unscrupulous people to scam and abuse desperate people, so be sure to search for reviews online for any company before paying money to try to remove mugshots or harmful information, or to rehabilitate your online reputation. Understand that if you pay for removal, there's no guarantee that the mugshot or harmful information isn't already elsewhere or won't pop up somewhere else (this is just one variation of the scam).

Finally, it's worth considering that in most cases adverse information doesn't surface unless someone is searching hard for it, in which case they may find it elsewhere or already know what they're looking for; criminal cases are a matter of public record and available for anyone who asks at the local courthouse. Consult with a Sonoma County DUI attorney about your unique situation.

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Any result portrayed was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.

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Dave Jake Schwartz is an Honors Graduate from UC Hastings Law School, and UC Davis, former Federal Judicial Clerk, and Nationally Qualified Sobriety Tests Practitioner. Member of the California Bar for 30 years, Sonoma County resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of Sonoma County DUIs and DMV hearings: first/multiple offenders, minors, seniors, tourists, undocumented immigrants, veterans, probation violations, suspended license, public intoxication, open container, minor in possession, child endangerment, collisions, hit and run, evading, resisting arrest.

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Dave Jake Schwartz