What Are the Penalties for Practicing Medicine While Intoxicated?

Treating patients and overall practicing medicine is a serious responsibility that requires your full concentration. This is why it is completely unacceptable to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, even in the slightest, during your working hours. If found guilty of this, you may not only fall below the standard of care established by your peers, but you may also face criminal charges set forth by the New York State Department of Health’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC). Read on to discover the possible penalties for practicing medicine while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and how one of the seasoned OPMC/OPD misconduct defense lawyers at Walker Medical Law can help ward them off.

What are the possible penalties for practicing medicine while intoxicated?

A patient, colleague, or employer may report you to the OPMC if they pick up on any signs that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work (i.e., slurred speech, unbalanced mobility, rude behavior, etc). This may prompt an investigation by the OPMC, in which they may ultimately conclude that you were practicing medicine while intoxicated. The subsequent penalties that come with this charge may include the following:

  • Fines of up to $10,000.
  • Mandatory completion of community service hours.
  • Mandatory attendance of continuing medical education courses.
  • The temporary suspension or permanent revocation of your medical license.

What are the penalties for my medical license after a DWI charge?

While you may take your driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge seriously, you may just assume that such wrongdoing that you participated in while “off the clock” may not affect your medical license. However, this assumption may leave you sorely mistaken.

For one, you may be slammed with penalties that affect your ability to maintain your employment as a medical professional. For example, with a first-offense DWI charge, you may be sentenced to up to one year in jail; up to 36 hours of an alcohol education program that must be completed within 12 weeks; and up to six months of a suspended driver’s license. Simply put, these penalties may inhibit you from “clocking in.”

But more prevalent, the OPMC may inevitably interfere upon getting word of your DWI charge. This may ultimately lead to penalties similar to those imposed when caught under the influence while practicing medicine. What’s more, this offense may appear on your profile in the OPMC database. This may create difficulty in finding work in the medical field once more and overall tarnish your reputation within the medical community.

If you find yourself in this predicament or anything of a similar nature, you may have to negotiate a settlement agreement with the OPMC. You must reach out to a competent OPMC/OPD misconduct defense lawyer from Walker Medical Law to help you properly execute this. We look forward to having an initial conversation with you.