In Minnesota, as in all states, driving while impaired and driving under the influence are illegal. The state’s legal alcohol limit is 0.08. Those in the medical field are not immune to the effects of alcohol and drugs. Doctors and nurses may turn to drugs and alcohol to relieve stress.
Although all drivers may receive a penalty for a DWI, medical professionals may have more to worry about. In addition to fines and jail time, they may lose their medical license. Not only does this mean possibly losing their job, but also their reputation.
Minnesota Board of Medical Practice
Like medical boards across the U.S., the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice takes DWIs and DUIs seriously. In all applications for those who want to work in the medical profession, the board asks if the person has ever had charges of DWI, DUI or other impaired driving offenses. If the answer is yes, he or she must provide information on the date, the place of filing, explanation and consequences. The individual must also describe his or her current drinking habits.
The Unlicensed Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practice, or CAP, is a way for the Department of Health to investigate complaints and take action against practitioners for violations of prohibited conduct. CAP law specifies these acts under state statutes. Those acts concerning drugs and alcohol are:
- The frequent use of alcohol
- Improper or unauthorized person use of a legend drug, chemical or controlled substance
Certain violations have mandatory consequences, and each medical board has the authority to administer penalties. For example, the Board of Nursing, under the Nurse Practice Act, can take disciplinary action by reprimanding, imposing a fine or limiting the nurse’s scope of practice. Fines and sanctions for all medical professionals may include:
- Revocation of license
- Random drug and alcohol testing
- Loss of employment
Criminal penalties may also apply. A person who commits a first-degree DWI may receive seven years’ imprisonment, a $14,000 fine or both.