A DUI for a health care professional in Mississippi is a life-changing event and one that can jeopardize your nursing career. Nurses accused of this crime must face criminal charges and also deal with the licensing board and their employers.
DUI offense in Mississippi
Driving when drunk is illegal in Mississippi. When an officer catches a nurse driving under the influence of alcohol, they will arrest them and later face criminal charges. Depending on the severity of the offense and the blood alcohol content, a DUI conviction can lead to jail time, fines, community service and mandatory attendance at an alcohol education program. On top of that, you will have a criminal record under your name for a minimum of 10 years.
DUI and your nursing career
First, spending time in jail will put your nursing career on hold. When released, you may have to reapply for your nursing license, and the nursing board may require you to take additional classes. Even if you are able to keep your nursing license, having a DUI on your criminal record will make it difficult to find employment as a nurse. Many employers conduct background checks and will not hire nurses with a DUI conviction.
Additionally, the Mississippi Board of Nursing will likely open an investigation into your case. If they determine that your actions were harmful to the public or patients, they could revoke your nursing license. However, if you are lucky enough to keep your license, the board may need you to complete additional coursework or counseling.
How to avoid such harsh consequences
If law enforcement arrests you for DUI, you have a right to defend yourself to avoid harsh penalties. Of course, every case is unique, but some common defenses that people use include the following:
- The police officer did not have probable cause to stop you
- The arresting officer incorrectly administered the field sobriety test
- There was no evidence that you were actually impaired while driving
- The chemical test was not conducted properly
The state and the licensing board are generally hard on nurses because they are responsible for providing the best care possible for people in need of help. So, mistakes such as drinking while driving makes them appear negligent and unfit to do their duties. Hence, avoiding drinking and operating a car can protect you, other road users and your career in Mississippi.