No one wants to get arrested or charged with a crime. Even non-violent charges carry serious penalties and social stigma. Offenses like drunk driving can impact your social life and your career, as well as your freedom.

Impaired driving charges are relatively common and can happen to anyone who makes a simple mistake. A conviction for any level of driving under the influence (DUI) offense can impact your personal life and lead to serious consequences, including fines and potential jail time.

For those with a professional career, especially those with state licensing in California, a drunk driving conviction can have severe consequences that impact not only your ability to drive but also your ability to continue your career.

Your employer may have a zero tolerance policy

Working in a professional field often means getting held to a higher standard than other people. You probably had to sign an employment contract when you started your job. That contract includes policies on everything from using company resources for personal purposes to criminal convictions. After all, everything from the way you dress to your actions on social media can have a financial impact for your employer.

Many employers have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to a criminal conviction. Even something like a DUI could mean losing your job once your employer finds out about it. That can cause major setbacks for your career, and may leave you in a financially difficult position. You need to consider your employment contract carefully before entering any kind of plea in pending DUI cases.

Even if you don’t face termination for a conviction, there can be other consequences with your employer. Many times criminal convictions can result in reviews by your state licensing board. Most California licensing boards, such as the state nursing board, take criminal charges seriously and may revoke your license or otherwise limit your ability to practice your profession if you plead guilty or wind up convicted.

You have the right to defend yourself at a licensing review hearing

Whether you are a nurse, doctor, teacher or other professional, your California professional license is the lifeblood of your career. Losing that license can mean losing out on your income. It can also leave you in the position where you have responsibility for student loans but an inability to benefit from that very expensive education.

Thankfully, you may be able to defend yourself against any sort of censure or punishment by the relevant state licensing board. If you’re facing criminal defense charges, you should also begin preparing for the potential of an administrative hearing about your license.

You need to take the potential for losing your license very seriously and take proactive steps to protect your license. Doing so can minimize the fallout of a DUI conviction on your professional career.

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