DUI and your Dentistry License


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DUI and your Dentistry License

How does a DUI affect a Dentistry License? A DUI and your Dentistry License is something that may not mix.

You worked hard to get a dentistry license, and have been licensed by the Dental Board of  California.  And then you got a DUI, and are here because you want to know – what are the consequences for a dental license from a DUI?

Your license is subject to actions in accordance with the law.  Business & Professions Code, section § 1670.1, which governs discipline for dental professionals.

That code section mentions actions taken against dental licenses based upon a conviction for any crime (including the crime of DUI), so it would appear that you would not have to disclose crimes until there is a conviction.

That makes the best strategy to try to avoid a conviction that would be of the type that might trigger discipline from the Dental Board of California.

What Convictions Affect a Dental Board License?

In order for the conviction to trigger discipline, it must be “substantially related” to the qualifications, functions or duties of the Dentist pursuant to Business & Professions Code section § 1617.1  The question of what is “substantially related” between a DUI conviction and a professional license, has become a major issues with all professional discipline including  Dentists since the decision in Sulla v. Board of Nursing (2012) 105 Cal.App.4th 1195, and will be decided on a case-by-case basis. 

A Dentist convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs or the combined influence of drugs and alcohol will certainly be looking at a substantial investigation by the Board.  The reason for that is that the board is concerned about the potential for dental and medical professionals with addiction, or substance abuse issues.  Multiple offenders and Dentists with a history of substance abuse are also candidates for greater disciplinary investigation than a first time offender with no aggravating circumstances.

The Board is permitted to take action even when the underlying conviction has been set aside under the provisions of Penal Code Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code, which is California’s Expungement Statute,  allowing such person to withdraw his or her plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty, or setting aside the verdict of guilty, or dismissing the accusation, information, or indictment.

If you are a dental professional and would like the help of a law firm experienced in DUI cases, please contact our firm or call us anytime.


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