Here’s an interesting case of a Chicago ambulance driver who crashed into a pickup truck and got a DUI for being 3 times over the BAC limit. To make matters worse, he refused a Breathalyzer test and subsequently lost his driver’s license for one year. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-12-11/news/chi-paramedic-ambulance-dui-20131211_1_ambulance-driver-pickup-truck-lara
But what if an EMT gets a DUI while off duty?
The consequences are not good. The courts have clearly affirmed the relationship between EMS off-duty actions and on-duty responsibilities. Driving under the influence is believed to demonstrate lack of sound professional judgment related to an individual’s fitness to perform duties of an Emergency Medical Technician. EMS professionals are entrusted with the responsibility of caring for the public in varying environments, such as the patient’s home, public and private locations, and in the back of an ambulance. Thus, EMTs are to maintain a high standard in health care when it comes to operating vehicles under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) will deny certification or take other appropriate disciplinary actions in regards to applicants for certification or re-certification when a criminal conviction has occurred – misdemeanor or felony. At the same time, DUIs occur far too commonly among EMS personnel. The EMT profession tends to attract the younger under 30 group. This corresponds to the fact that as many as 65% of DUI arrests involve people under age 30. Furthermore, the physical and psychological pressures of the high demands of a life-saving/ life-losing job can be a factor leading some people to manage by turning to alcohol or drugs.
Here are some facts:
- More than 50% of all the enforcement actions taken by the EMS Authority against paramedic licenses are for alcohol-related arrests
- A DUI can result in the revocation of a paramedic license or EMT certification.
- If an EMT is arrested, the certifying entity and the EMS Authority are both automatically notified.
A DUI affects more than just your career. When you are the subject of a DUI arrest and conviction you will be subjected to days lost from work and to loss of income. You may face possible jail time, fines from the courts, attorney’s fees, an increase in your automobile insurance premiums or even risk losing your insurance. You may experience a loss of trust from your family or your employer. You may lose your driver’s license and ability to travel to work. Many employers will not allow you to work without a valid driver’s license. You may lose your job and jeopardize your career in the medical profession.
Thus, for EMTs who have the misfortune of being charged with a DUI, it is critical to make sure that it is handled properly. By being proactive, a physician can mitigate the collateral damage caused by a misdemeanor or felony DUI conviction. With the support of expert legal counsel, it is important to take appropriate steps early in the process. If you have been charged with a DUI in the state of Pennsylvania, call The McShane firm at 1-866-MCSHANE to protect your rights and your career.