Optometrists DUI Charges in Los Angeles

optometrist license suspensionThere are various California professionals whose licenses can be affected by a DUI conviction. One group of professionals who are potentially subject to discipline as the result of a conviction for driving under the influence is optometrists. Optometrists are required to be licensed by the California Board of Optometry in order to practice and the Board has the authority to discipline licensees who commit certain violations of the law or other acts of misconduct.

California Business and Professions Code Section 3110 BPC describes the type of conduct that would expose an optometrist to potential discipline from the Board. This would include being convicted of a felony or any other offense related to the qualifications, functions and/or duties of the optometrist. It also includes consumption of alcoholic beverages to such an extent as to be dangerous to the practitioner or to the public at large.

California Board of Optometry May Investigate

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can be considered an offense that is substantially related to the optometrist’s practice in certain situations. Whenever an optometrist has been arrested for or convicted of a DUI offense, the Board may launch an investigation into the licensee and the circumstances of the particular offense. When the underlying DUI offense is a misdemeanor, the Board will be particularly concerned if the licensee’s offense involved aggravating factors such as an unusually high blood alcohol content, a collision or the use of illicit narcotics. The Board will also consider whether the licensee has prior DUI convictions or if the incident in questions was a first time DUI offense. In certain cases, the Board may be more likely to determine that disciplinary measures are appropriate. The Board is allowed to take disciplinary action against a practitioner’s license even if he or she has had the underlying conviction expunged via a successful California Penal Code Section 1203.4 PC motion.

The Board takes these types of offenses very seriously and will pay extra attention to licensees whose conduct may demonstrate ongoing issues with alcohol or drugs or other factors that could affect the optometrist’s ability to practice competently. The Board can ultimately suspend or revoke a practitioner’s optometry license. In addition, for those who are applying for a license to practice optometry, a conviction or multiple convictions for driving under the influence can provide grounds for denying the license application. The Board would investigate potential licensees the same way that it investigates those who are already licensed optometrists.

Licensed Optometrist Convicted of DUI

Regardless of what discipline is meted out by the Board of Optometry, an optometrist who is arrested for or convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can face criminal penalties in court as well as administrative action against his or her driver’s license. Upon being arrested for a DUI offense, the driver will have his or her license taken away and will be provided a notice of an impending driver’s license suspension. Unless the driver or his or her attorney proactively requests a hearing to challenge the suspension within 10 days of the arrest, the suspension will automatically become effective. For a driver’s first time DUI offense, the suspension period typically lasts four months. The driver would have to serve a 30 day “hard” suspension during which he or she could not drive at all. After the 30 days are up, the driver would be eligible for a restricted license that would allow for travel to and from work and to one’s alcohol education class. If the driver is alleged to have refused chemical testing, the suspension period would be a full year without any eligibility for a restricted license.

A licensed optometrist who has been convicted of driving under the influence in court will also be expected to comply with whatever conditions of probation are included in his or her sentence. This can involve serving time in jail, a mandatory drug and alcohol education class that is either three, six or nine months long, community service or community labor, restitution if there was an accident and any other conditions of probation that may be deemed appropriate.

In addition, Los Angeles DUI defendants would be required to install and maintain an Ignition Interlock Device (“IID”) in their vehicle as a result of the DUI Pilot Program currently in effect.

If you are a licensed optometrist or may be applying for an optometry license and have been arrested for DUI, it is important that you consult with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney immediately. Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how best to defend clients charged with DUI.

For more information about Los Angeles DUI and optometrists, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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