Doctor sentenced in drunk driving case

Recently, in a neighboring state, a sentence was issued against a physician in a case involving alcohol-related offenses.

The case was from Ohio and it centered on a traffic accident the doctor was involved in. While the doctor was driving in Delaware County, Ohio on a day in September 2012, her vehicle struck a bicyclist, seriously injuring the bicyclist. Authorities alleged that the doctor was under the influence of alcohol at the time of this car vs. bicycle accident.

The physician faced charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and vehicular assault in relation to the accident. This February, she submitted a guilty plea in the case.

Yesterday, the doctor was given a 15-day jail term and a 400-hour community service requirement as her sentence in the case.

In regards to her medical license, the doctor reached an agreement with Ohio's medical board late last year. Under the agreement, her license will be under suspension until she completes an alcohol-rehabilitation program, at which point she can have her license restored.

This out-of-state case underscores some points worth noting here in Pennsylvania. One is that being accused of DUI or other alcohol-related offenses can cause a physician to face serious potential punishments and can endanger a physician's license. Another is that, sometimes, in medical license matters regarding an alcohol-related offense, an accused physician reaches an agreement with their medical board regarding what will happen with their license.

A Pennsylvania physician may have many questions following accusations of alcohol-related offenses being brought against them, including:

  • Are there any treatment programs available to me?
  • How would participation in such programs affect my rights?
  • What actions could the medical board take against me regarding my license?
  • Should I try to cut a deal with the medical board regarding my license?

License defense attorneys can provide guidance regarding the license defense process and available treatment programs to physicians accused of alcohol-related offenses and can help answer questions such doctors have on these topics.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Doctor gets 15 days in jail for driving drunk, hitting cyclist," Laura Arenschield, March 25, 2014

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