DUI offenses are subject to harsh implications, such as having to install the ignition interlock device, attending DUI school, probation, fines, and permanent criminal records. However other offenders still face more severe penalties even after serving their full sentences and completing their probation.

A conviction for drunk driving could affect a person's ability to get certain professional licenses, including for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and advance in their careers. If you're a pharmacist facing DUI charges or any other criminal accusations, you should talk to a defense attorney specializing in whatever offense you've been charged with. Read on to learn more about what will happen to your professional license if you get a DUI.

The California State Board Of Pharmacy

The California State Board of Pharmacy issues licenses to pharmacy technicians and pharmacists in California. The Board follows rigorous standards and licensing guidelines for granting and renewing a license for professional use. Certain things might need to be disclosed to the Board, and some of those things include convictions and arrests for criminal offenses.

If you're applying for or renewing your pharmacy license, you must tell the Board about any arrests, convictions, or disciplinary actions that could be substantially related to your qualifications, duties, or responsibilities in your pharmacy profession.

Substantially Related offenses

What convictions are considered to be substantially related to your pharmacy profession? A pharmacist is trusted with access to medications, private health records, and other personally identifiable information. Offenses that could be directly linked to your profession include the following:

  • Healthcare fraud.
  • Drug offenses.
  • Identity theft.
  • Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Insurance fraud.
  • Forgery.

Pharmacy technicians and pharmacists often come into contact with various kinds of medications and chemicals, including narcotics, Schedule 2 and 3 drugs, and controlled substances among other drugs. Drugs classified in Schedules 2 and 3 have a higher potential for being abused and causing dependency. Given the sensitive nature of this profession, the California Pharmacy Board is particularly cautious about licensed pharmacists who might develop problems with drugs.

Criminal Conviction Types That Lead To Board Discipline

To face disciplinary action by the Pharmacy Board, a conviction must be "substantially related" to the required skills, roles, or responsibilities of a:

  • Pharmacist.
  • Pharmacy interns.
  • Pharmacy technician.

License applications could also be rejected by the Board due to a related conviction.


"Convictions" include the convictions for felonies and misdemeanors received through no-contest pleas or guilty verdicts (after the verdict has been rendered). It makes no difference whether the conviction can be ultimately expunged under PC 1203.4.5.

This board claims that there are numerous potential causes for disciplinary action. This includes breaking any federal or state laws or ordinances, as well as the Pharmacy legislation, committing an act of moral turpitude, or violating the board's laws and regulations.

There are primarily four categories of offenses for which the Board of Pharmacy will impose disciplinary action on professionals in the pharmaceutical field. Disciplinary actions can become more complicated when there are several violations.

The first category consists of violations like issues with record-keeping or inventory control. Disciplinary action could include a 2-year probationary period or a possible license revocation.

Violations in Category 2 have the potential to cause serious damage or show a disdain for the safety or well-being of the public. Disciplinary action could comprise anywhere from a three to five-year probation term, and in some instances, it could even include license revocation.

The majority of criminal prosecutions involving alcohol or drugs fall under category 3, which also includes offenses where the likelihood for injury is greater and those that entail deliberate disregard of laws or rules governing controlled substances, prescription medications, or pharmacies. Disciplinary action could consist of a minimum suspension of ninety days, a probationary period ranging from three to five years, or even the revocation of the professional license in certain circumstances.

The most severe violations of pharmacy regulations or laws involving potentially hazardous drugs, pharmacies, and controlled substances are under category 4. Your license could be suspended if disciplinary action under the fourth category goes into effect.

Disciplinary Action

For these types of offenses, the recommended penalties range from 3 to 5 years of probation and a possible license suspension. License revocation is the harshest penalty that could be applied. The Board may even discipline you when you complete your diversion program after a conviction.

In general, the Board may take action over a conviction if:

  • The appeal window has passed.
  • A probationary order is issued.
  • The appeals court upheld the decision.

If you are currently doing time for a felony conviction, the Board can move more quickly in its decision-making process.

Reporting Your DUI Conviction

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will use your fingerprints to conduct a criminal record check on you during the pharmacy license application process. If a criminal record is discovered during the background inquiry, your application will undergo an evaluation procedure before being approved or rejected.

If you've been convicted of a crime, you could voluntarily provide details regarding your conviction to the Board to assist it in making a judgment and to demonstrate that you've satisfied any applicable probationary conditions. There is only one exception, and that is if you were found guilty of an offense that didn't involve:

  • Alcohol.
  • Controlled substances.
  • Harmful drugs.

You could submit the following information:

  • A detailed account, in writing, of the events leading up to the commission of the offense.
  • Copies of the court records, such as the charge sheet, court proceedings, probation order, and sentencing.
  • Copies of the incident or arrest reports.
  • Evidence of adherence to probationary requirements, such as completing community service requirements, paying fees, or participating in drug abuse programs.
  • Copies of a record indicating the time of discharge from custody.

Failure to disclose a conviction is seen as providing false statements intentionally, which can lead to license revocation or suspension. The California Pharmacy Board will probably learn about any convictions that aren't reported to them. The Board requires clerks of judicial courts to submit convictions to them within ten days.

Getting a Pharmacy License With a DUI

You can still obtain your professional license from the California Board of Pharmacy even if you have been convicted of drunk driving. However, this could present another obstacle. You could still successfully argue that your license should be issued even though it is already too late to contest the DUI charges. A person's ability to obtain a license won't be automatically revoked only because they have a criminal conviction.

The Board of Pharmacy will evaluate each applicant individually regardless of whether or not they have a criminal record, taking into account any proof of rehabilitation. The following factors are used to decide whether to grant a license:

  • The severity and nature of the offenses or acts.
  • Proof of any more crimes or offenses.
  • How much time has passed since the crimes or acts were committed.
  • The applicant's compliance with any probation, parole, restitution payments, or other conditions.
  • If there is any, the applicant must provide proof of their rehabilitation.

You can provide any rehabilitation-related evidence that would help your case. If you accept accountability for previous conduct and show regret instead of placing blame on others, the Board of Pharmacy will generally be understanding. Other forms of proof of rehabilitation include participation in abuse counseling sessions, volunteering, and reference letters.

Avoiding Disciplinary Action Following Your DUI Arrest

Avoiding a conviction altogether is the best way of avoiding disciplinary action by the Pharmacy Board. That's why it's crucial to speak with a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney as early as possible following an arrest.

This is why it's crucial to speak with a knowledgeable Alameda County DUI defense attorney as soon as practicable following an arrest. Following a DUI arrest, the defendant has just 10 days to petition for a hearing with the DMV before their driver's permit is officially suspended.

Additionally, there are various legal defense options, including contesting the validity of the administered field sobriety tests, the legality of the search, and the traffic stop. Inaccurate results can be obtained from chemical blood or breath testing if the authorities do not adhere to the protocols or have the equipment regularly serviced and calibrated.

Even though the evidence presented against you is overwhelming, your attorney could be able to negotiate a lesser charge for you in exchange for a guilty plea. A plea bargain may lessen the allegations and assist you in avoiding jail time. A California deferred entry of judgment is another option that could be available for avoiding a record.

California DUI Sentences

DUI penalties can have dire repercussions. For a first-time misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail. If you are convicted of a second misdemeanor DUI, you could spend 96 hours to one year in jail.

A third misdemeanor DUI conviction carries a potential sentence of 120 days to one year behind bars. The minimum jail sentence for drug possession is one month, although the specifics of this requirement vary by county.

A prosecutor is more likely to pursue felony charges if this happens to be your fourth offense in the past 10 years. If no one suffered injuries or killed, you could be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison.

The costs associated with a driving under the influence charge can easily exceed $10,000 for legal representation, fines, and other penalties imposed by the court. Your case will become more difficult to defend with each additional DUI offense, which will also drive up the associated costs.

The Repercussions of DUI Charge For California Pharmacists

Pharmacists are required to obtain licenses from the California Board of Pharmacy, which is also responsible for establishing the guidelines for the professional field of pharmacy. In addition to this, they are accountable for the disciplinary actions taken against pharmacists who break the codes of practice.

A pharmacist's license can be revoked as a form of disciplinary action by the board. It's the harshest form of discipline that the board could take against the employee in question. Anyone whose pharmacy license has been revoked cannot legally work as a pharmacist in the US.

The board could also suspend your license. Even though it's a less severe disciplinary measure than a revocation, a suspension still hinders you from practicing during that time.

Additionally, you could receive a reprimand from the pharmacy board. This is an official censure added to your pharmacy record. If you have received a reprimand, you can continue working as a pharmacist, but anyone who accesses your record will see this disciplinary action.

A pharmacist could also be required to pay a fine when the pharmacy board finds them to violate its regulations. It is a monetary punishment that is issued along with any additional disciplinary action the board chooses to take at its discretion. In general, pharmacists who disregard the codes of practice can be subject to the above disciplinary actions by the pharmacy board.

A pharmacist may need to attend court for disciplinary hearings from the board, and DMV hearings to determine if they can continue practicing, and deal with criminal charges. Each step could end in a different outcome, including fines, fees, imprisonment, drinking and criminal records, higher insurance costs, and having their professional licenses put in jeopardy.

Working with a lawyer who is knowledgeable in professional and criminal licensing law is advisable whether you're facing charges as a pharmacy intern, pharmacy tech, or pharmacist.

A professional pharmacy license holder will require a significantly different DUI defense plan than someone facing a regular DUI charge. An expert attorney can provide you with a private consultation and explain how the various outcomes could affect your case.

Can a DUI Charge Ruin Your Pharmacy Career?

A DUI can hurt your career. Consider a pharmacist who has been penalized and placed on probation. If this is the case, they have thirty days from the day the decision was made to notify all of their current and potential employers of the court's ruling or decision granting probation, in addition to the conditions, limitations, and terms that have been imposed.

A pharmacist who decides to accept a new position must notify the board of the specifics of their prospective employer in ten days. They also need to include their supervisor's contact details.

They should anticipate the pharmacy board to contact their new employers and ask about their performance at work. Failing to do this could result in a probation violation and the loss of your professional license. A majority of employers won't feel comfortable hiring someone with this history or who might open the door to more investigation at the workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions on Pharmacists and DUI

Below are commonly asked questions about pharmacists and their DUI charges:

Who Oversees Pharmacy Regulations in California?

Pharmacists in California are governed and disciplined by the California Board of Pharmacy. They have the right to do so under the Business & Professions Code.

Will Showing Proof of Rehabilitation Help My Case?

It can certainly benefit the case. In its published guidance, the board makes it clear that it will take into account proof of rehabilitation when determining whether to impose the maximum, minimum, or intermediate penalties on someone who holds a professional pharmacy license.

Can Pharmacists Fight Disciplinary Actions by the Board?

Pharmacists can challenge board disciplinary actions. If the California Board of Pharmacy notifies you of an allegation that it intends to use as a basis for disciplinary action against you, you could have the opportunity to reply and reach a settlement on the allegations or charges. If the issue is not resolved at this stage, you are entitled to a court hearing before they take any disciplinary action.

Can I Work as a Pharmacist If I Have a Criminal Record?

It is conceivable but this is not guaranteed. Some applicants could be subject to denial by the pharmacy board due to their criminal records.

For instance, a person's conviction can't serve as proof for a license denial if it occurred more than 7 years ago, or if it resulted in imprisonment and the individual has been released more than 7 years ago. However, there are certain exceptions to such cases. The board claims that an applicant's criminal record is not grounds for an automatic denial of their license application.

Do DUI Records Fall Off California Criminal Records?

Not exactly. A DUI conviction can stay on your driving record for a maximum of ten years. It could remain on your record indefinitely. Even though it doesn't appear on your driving record or criminal background, you still need to disclose some things which effectively prolong this record's existence. For instance, you must mention a DUI charge on all licensing renewal and application requests.

How Long Will My DUI Record Show Up in a Background Check?

A conviction for driving under the influence will stay on the file for 10 years after the date of the arrest. A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot be removed from a person's record early. Getting a DUI will always show up on your record. It can only be eliminated through an expungement.

Find a Professional License Defense Attorney Near Me

For some professions, even a single misdemeanor DUI could jeopardize someone's job status. It can result in the loss of work or, in the instance of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, their professional license. An employer might not be willing or able to retain you as a worker if you're placed on probation or have your professional license suspended.

A professional license and DUI defense lawyer can bargain for lesser charges or have the charges dropped altogether. This can lessen the effects a DUI conviction could have on your career. If you're a pharmacist under investigation by the California Board of Pharmacy, you can contact The Legal Guardian for assistance. Call us today at 866-448-6811 to speak to one of our Long Beach attorneys.