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How Does a DWI Affect Your Professional License?

A DWI is a very serious charge, and it often affects multiple areas of your life. For example, if you have a professional license, you may face consequences unique to your field. Read on to learn more about the impact of DWIs on different professional licenses. If you’re dealing with a DWI charge, please get in touch with a Bergen County DWI attorney and we’ll explain how we can help you navigate these charges.

What Is a DWI?

DWI is the abbreviation for the charge of “driving while intoxicated.” It refers to the crime of driving a motor vehicle after consuming a mind-altering substance, like alcohol or drugs.

How much you need to consume to trigger the charge varies by state. In some states, even the appearance of bad driving can result in a similar charge, regardless of the actual amount of the substance you are found to have after a blood or urine test. In New Jersey and in regard to alcohol, you would need a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more.

DWI Impact to a Professional License Differs Based on Position

The repercussions of a DWI on professional licenses vary by profession. For instance, lawyers and doctors will see very little if any changes to their professional license, unless their driving offense somehow impacts the profession of law or medicine, respectively. Lawyers may find a DWI troublesome when they apply to the bar, but that trouble is easily remedied just by showing they have made an effort to rehabilitate.

Professions that involve vehicle transportation, however, may have much harsher penalties. If you have a commercial driver’s license, you may have your license revoked for one year after your first offense. A second offense can have your license revoked for life.

Similarly, people who work in ridesharing—such as Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers—may not be able to continue working in that field if they have a DWI conviction. Motorcycle and driver’s education instructors may also find themselves having to look for a new job.

Airplane pilots often face strict consequences for a DWI. They must report their DWI twice to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Security and Investigations Division, once as a notification, and again for their medical examination certification.

Interestingly, nurses encounter harsh reprisals if they commit driving offenses, though doctors do not. Committing a DWI may result in someone with a nursing license having to see a counselor, attend Alcoholics Anonymous, and any other measure chosen by the board of nursing.

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