To be perfectly direct: It’s never smart to drive under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. You can end up in a serious accident that puts your life — and the lives of others — in danger.

If you happen to be a doctor or another medical professional, you can also lose your license to practice. A criminal conviction is high on the list of things that can result in professional discipline for medical practitioners.

Most medical boards consider a criminal conviction on someone’s record to be a stain against their character. It represents a willingness to flout the rules or behave as if they don’t apply. That’s not a perception that the medical boards want their members to give the public. Plus, your conviction for impaired driving is likely to raise questions about whether you have a drug or alcohol abuse problem — which is another potential problem.

What can you do to minimize the damage to your reputation and career after a DUI charge? Here are some tips:

  • Remember your right to remain silent. It’s very tempting when something so important as your entire career is on the line to throw yourself on an officer’s mercy and hope you won’t be charged. Don’t do it. You’ll only be providing evidence that can later be used against you in court.
  • Do not contact the medical board immediately after you have been charged. You need to consult with an experienced defender who can tell you what steps to take next regarding your defense and time to see what happens with your case.

The first call you make after being charged with a DUI is to a defense attorney who can help you understand the charges, look at your potential defenses and know what sort of resolution you can expect foryour case.