Can a DUI Affect a Professional License in California?

Gavel in courtroom

There are numerous types of professional licenses in California. For example, there are professional licenses in the fields of accounting, architecture, athletics, automotive, cosmetology, behavior sciences, chiropractic, construction, dental, teaching, real estate, pharmacy, law, medicine, and many more.

If you are facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges and you have a professional license or intend to get one in the future, you’re probably wondering, “Can a DUI conviction affect a professional license in California?”

If you’ve never been arrested for DUI before, we want you to know that there are a lot of consequences to a DUI that people are not aware of. A DUI can affect housing, employment, scholarships, auto insurance, and certainly professional licenses.


Those who work in the medical field are clearly at risk, but a DUI conviction is also known to affect insurance brokers, teachersreal estate agents, and notaries. If you’re a nurse for example, even one DUI can mean the California Board of Registered Nursing places you on probation, requiring you to:

  • Abstain from drug and alcohol use
  • Submit to random drug and alcohol testing
  • Attend Alcohol Anonymous meetings

If you’re a doctor, multiple misdemeanor DUIs or one felony DUI can lead to the discipline of your physician’s license. Particularly in the medical field, DUIs are routinely grounds for discipline against a healthcare professional.

Furthermore, if a healthcare professional is convicted of DUI, it can mean that he or she is not allowed to be a MediCare or MediCal-approved provider. A DUI can also affect a healthcare professional’s employment, especially since DUIs show up on employment background checks.


The medical field is not the only one that frowns upon DUI convictions. Both the Department of Real Estate and the Department of Insurance look down on DUIs. They argue that when someone is convicted of DUI, it reflects on their character and judgement and not in a good way.

Unfortunately, an innocent night out with co-workers or friends involving one too many mixed drinks or glasses of wine can lead to an embarrassing mistake that can cost one their professional license and their livelihood.

If you’re facing DUI charges, contact our Orange County DUI firm for a free consultation. When you hold a professional license, it’s critical that you’re proactive, and know your responsibilities to disclose your arrest and conviction to the licensing board.

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