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Can public intoxication lead to loss of a medical license?

Having a few too drinks many can lead to some bad choices. If these bad choices catch the eye of the police, this moment to unwind after a long day can also translate to an arrest for public intoxication.

Even if no one is injured, the allegations can have serious consequences for those who practice medicine.

Public intoxication leads to suspended license: A real life example

A physician in Texas provides a recent example. In this example, police arrested a doctor for public intoxication. The Texas Medical Board (TMB) chose to suspend the doctor’s license pending further investigation. The TMB justified the move with evidence the arrest occurred while the physician was on call and present in the emergency department of the hospital.

A broader analysis: Implications for first offense

Although an extreme example, doctors who face a public intoxication charge may need to deal with these potential issues:

  • Contract violation. Depending on the employer, the contract for employment may include a provision, such as a termination “for cause” provision, that may allow for loss of employment if convicted of a crime.
  • Medical board investigation. The state medical board could also suspend a physician’s medical license due to such charges. This could lead to an investigation and additional penalties, potentially even leading to revocation of the physician’s medical license.

As such, it is important to take any arrest seriously. An attorney experienced in the issues that surround practicing physicians can review the situation and discuss any impact the arrest could have on your license, as well as strategies to protect your career from harm.