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Have a professional license? A DWI can harm your career, too

In Minnesota and all 50 states, it is against the law to drive if you have an alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. If you get pulled over after drinking and are convicted of a DWI, you risk losing a lot – perhaps more than you think.

The criminal consequences of a DWI in Minnesota can include jail time and fines. Possible civil penalties imposed can include suspension of your driving privileges. At the same time, you could face a civil lawsuit for damages if your DWI resulted in a crash and/or injuries to another motorist or passenger.

Criminal and civil penalties stemming from a DWI in the state of Minnesota can affect your ability to find a new job, obtain an apartment or even quality for federal student financial aid. Those are all really negative and potentially life-changing consequences.

But for many, that’s not all that’s at stake. If you have a professional license, a DWI conviction in Minnesota can affect that, too – even if it’s a first-time misdemeanor. If you are a doctor, a nurse, an educator, a real estate agent or an insurance broker, a DWI on your record could have negative implications on your license – and your career.

While Minnesota law doesn’t dictate the status of professional licenses and DWI convictions, the specific agencies that issue the licenses do. Probation of even the loss of licensure is a possibility if you are convicted of a DWI in Minnesota.

Anyone who is facing a DWI conviction needs to know the rules so that he or she, along with an experienced DWI attorney, can do everything in their power to fight the charge and the negative consequences that have the potential to come along with it.

Each organization or agency is different. The boards who grant licenses for physicians, nurses, insurance agents, educators and more might look at how a DWI reflects on your character and morals, as well as how fit you are to be in positions that help others. Here’s a closer look at a few professions that require licensure and how a DWI can sting.


Everyone makes mistakes, no matter how responsible they are otherwise. Even so, a DWI conviction can be devastating for a doctor, who must uphold his or her professional license to legally practice medicine in the state. The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, like medical boards across the United States, take impaired driving very seriously. Drug and alcohol abuse are highly frowned upon by medical boards, as they impact the life-saving care that patients need and deserve. Any time a doctor is charged or convicted, discipline is possible if not likely. If there are multiple DWI convictions on a doctor’s record, the board can limit the scope of a his or her ability to practice. It also can require the doctor complete an alcohol treatment program and work only under a colleague’s close supervision. The board also can impose civil fines and, in some cases, suspend or revoke the doctor’s medical license altogether.


In most cases, a criminal conviction won’t affect a nurse’s ability to obtain or renew a nursing license in Minnesota, but she or he will be subjected to more scrutiny by the agency that governs the profession. When looking at DWIs and all other charges and convictions, the Minnesota Board of Nursing considers the nature and seriousness of the crime, the circumstances of the crime, including mitigating circumstances, the age of the person at the time the crime was committed, the length of time elapsed since the DWI was committed; and all other evidence of rehabilitation and fitness to practice, including completion of any court-ordered probation requirements. After consideration of these factors, the board will grant or deny a license to an applicant depending on the information obtained regarding the applicant’s criminal history. The board may grant the applicant a nursing license, but can place certain limitations or conditions on the license “for a period of time to ensure public safety.”

Other professions

In the case of a teacher, insurance agent or real estate agent, each board looks at the criminal history of an applicant before issuing a new or ongoing state license. The professional boards may look at, among other things, the nature of the DWI conviction in Minnesota, how much time has passed since the conviction, and any steps the person convicted has taken toward correcting the program, especially if he or she has more than one on his or her record. A treatment program or community service can have a positive impact on a person’s status with the state agency that issues the license.

Personal Impact

With all of the aforementioned agencies, each may have specific reporting requirements that a person is subject to if convicted of a DWI in Minnesota. While a DWI may not cause a doctor, nurse, insurance agent, teacher or other professional to lose his or her license in the state, he or she may still have to report the conviction to those who oversee the board. That can be a potentially embarrassing experience for anyone.

What to do?

If you have a professional license and have been cited for a DWI in Minnesota, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced drunk driving attorney immediately. He or she can let you know your rights and help you determine if the police have a valid case.

The truth is, every case is unique. A criminal law expert with experience in DWI cases can help you fight the charges so they don’t affect your driving ability, your finances and your professional reputation. It’s crucial that you take steps to ensure your professional license remains valid and intact so you can move on with your life and put the DWI citation far behind you.

Don’t let one mistake ruin your credibility in your professional field. We know you’ve worked hard to get where you’re at. And we can help you move forward.

Minnesota DWI Criminal Defense Lawyer

Everyone deserves the right to the best defense available and this is why an experienced attorney serving the Minnesota, including the Minneapolis metro area, is absolutely vital.

DWI and DUI are serious offenses. In addition to the danger you pose to yourself and others, you also expose yourself to severe penalties, including a heavy fine, court costs, insurance surcharges, motor vehicle surcharges, loss of license and even a jail term. Since these penalties are significant and create a negative record that could affect your ability to get a job, obtain insurance and generally get on with your life, you should consult an experienced attorney who is dedicated to the field of DWI and DUI defense.

At Gerald Miller, we focus on DWI and DUI cases and ensure you receive the best legal representation from the moment you contact us. We will look at all aspects of your case in great detail. You need this level of legal counsel because driving under the influence cases can be the most difficult ones in which to obtain a successful outcome.

A DWI or DUI charge can happen to anybody. We believe everyone should be treated equally.

Call the attorneys at Gerald Miller today at 612-440-4610. Our lines are open 24 hours. We are here waiting to help you immediately. The attorneys at Gerald Miller also can help you with a non-DWI criminal charge and other areas in which skilled legal advice is needed.

The attorneys at Gerald Miller, P.A., will work hard to protect your legal rights. Call us today at (612) 440-3212 and schedule your free and confidential consultation. We are available seven days a week. We are on your side.

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About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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