Drug Charges for Medical Professionals
Medical professionals are under an enormous amount of stress every single day. Between patient demands, irregular schedules, and increasingly intense standards set by administrative professionals, the pressure of healthcare work is unfathomable. As a result, substance abuse is not an uncommon problem in this field. Drug charges for medical professionals can lead to serious consequences, including jail time, heavy fines, and loss of professional licenses.
Severity of Drug Charges in North Carolina
North Carolina law includes many specific drug charges. The penalties you face after conviction depend largely on which charge or charges you face. Some of the current charges medical professionals commonly face in North Carolina include:
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Drug trafficking
- Drug manufacturing
- Possession of paraphernalia
- Possession with intent to sell
- Conspiracy to traffic
- Drug manufacturing
- Possession of synthetic drugs
- Selling to minors
- Selling prescription medications
- Prescription forgery
While some of the more minor charges on this list are unlikely to result in you losing your license, there are some that are likely to have a drastic impact on your career. For example, selling prescription drugs or overprescribing controlled substances are clear misuses of your medical license, which will lead to significant penalties with your licensing board, and potential criminal charges.
How Drug Charges Can Impact Your Career as a Medical Professional
If you have been arrested on drug charges, you may be wondering about how your career will be affected. There are so many factors at play here that it is impossible to know exactly what consequences you face without speaking directly to a criminal defense attorney.
One factor to consider is how your use of illicit substances may have impacted your patients. If you were arrested for having a small amount of a controlled substance while not at work and you do not appear to have been under the influence while at work, your license may not be in serious danger. On the other hand, if you are found to have worked while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your licensing board will likely believe that you put patients in clear and immediate danger. This is much more likely to lead to loss of licensure.
Another factor is whether or not you took advantage of your position as a healthcare professional. Consider, for example, a nursing assistant who steals a client’s pain medications or saves their used pain patches to feed their habit. This is not only illegal, but it is also a violation of patients’ rights and could lead to swift and permanent action by the licensing board.
Even if drug convictions do not lead to you losing your professional license, they can still impact you financially. Most healthcare employers run background checks on all new hires, and a drug conviction could disqualify you from the hiring process.
Financial Consequences of Drug Charges
The financial fallout of a drug conviction is often substantial for medical professionals. In addition to the fines you are likely to owe as a result of your conviction, a conviction could also pave the way for civil cases. If you were under the influence while treating a patient and your negligence harmed a patient, your guilty conviction may be strong evidence in a civil case. This may cause serious personal loss or increased insurance premiums.
Protecting Your Career and Future
If you have been arrested on drug charges, it’s difficult to know what your next step is. You’re likely experiencing a combination of shame, fear, and guilt. However, regardless of the circumstances of your substance abuse or arrest, you must contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Even if you are facing minor charges that you think may not impact your license, the ramifications of a drug conviction are far-reaching and can affect you for the rest of your life. The best way to protect your career is to work with an attorney who is dedicated to getting your charges reduced or dismissed.
Contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys Now
The team at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys has extensive experience in this area of criminal law and professional license cases. We understand how hard you’ve worked to earn your medical license and what you stand to lose if you are convicted on drug charges. Call us at (980) 237-4579 or fill out our online contact form to set up a consultation now.