Many professions require practitioners to carry a certification, license, or get registered with a governing agency. Also, the government runs many of these agencies. So, the government may suspend or revoke a person’s ability to practice in the state. The following sections outline the impact of drug charges on your career in Connecticut.
Disciplinary Action by Boards, Departments and Commissions
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-17 establishes the standards concerning disciplinary proceedings. This applies to individuals licensed by the Department of Health, or other boards and commissions. This includes, but not limited to, doctors, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, dental hygienists, and teachers. If convicted of a felony, then the following may occur. (1) Your license or permit may get revoked, suspended, censured, placed on probationary status. (2) Your practice may be limited. (3) You may need to report regularly to your board commission or department. (4) You may have to attend continuing education. (5) You may have to pay restitution to any victim. (6) You may be assessed a fine of up to $25,000. You might also have individual disciplinary proceedings depending on your profession.
As a physician arrested on a drug related charge, you could lose your medical license. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-13c states that the board can restrict, suspend, or revoke your license to practice or limit the right to practice medicine. This happens for the, “abuse or excessive use of drugs, including alcohol, narcotics or chemicals,” and for the, “possession, use, prescription for use, or distribution of controlled substances or legend drugs, except for therapeutic or other medically proper purposes.”
Further, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-45 states that both a, “conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, either within or without this state, of any crime in the practice of their profession” or the, “habitual intemperance in the use of spirituous stimulants or addiction to the use of morphine, cocaine or other habit-forming drugs” is grounds for revocation or suspension. Should the Commissioner of Public Health find either of those, you could face the restriction, suspension or revocation of your medical license.
As a physician’s assistant arrested on a drug related charge, you could lose your medical license. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-12f states that you may lose your license or permit to practice as a physician’s assistant if convicted of a felony, or if the board finds the “abuse or excessive use of drugs, including alcohol, narcotics or chemicals,” or if you use, prescribe or distribute “controlled substances or legend drugs” for any reason other than “therapeutic or other medically proper purposes.”
As a nurse arrested on a drug related charge, you could lose your nursing license. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-99 states that the, “abuse or excessive use of drugs, including alcohol, narcotics or chemicals” is an action that “fails to conform to the accepted standards of the nursing profession.” If the Department of Public Health finds that you have abused or excessively used drugs, then your license may be suspended or revoked. Note that there is no requirement of a conviction. Instead, there is a finding from the Commissioner of Public Health that you failed to conform to the “accepted standards of the nursing profession.”
As a pharmacist arrested on a drug related charge, you may be subject to loss of your pharmacy license. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-579 states that you may lose your license or permit to practice as a pharmacist if you violate, “a statute or regulation relating to drugs, devices or the practice of pharmacy” or, “been convicted of violating any criminal statute relating to drugs, devices, or the practice of pharmacy” in Connecticut, any other state, United States territory, or even foreign country. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-579 further authorizes the Commissioner to revoke your pharmaceutical license or permit if you have, “illegally possessed, diverted, sold or dispensed drugs or devices” or you have abused or “excessively” used drugs.
Dentists and Dental Hygienists
As a dentist or dental hygienists arrested on a drug related charge, you could lose your license. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-17 states that you may lose your license or permit to practice as a pharmacist if convicted of a felony in Connecticut, any other state, United States territory or found guilty of an act in a foreign country, which if committed within Connecticut would have constituted a felony. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-114 further authorizes that your pharmaceutical license or permit may be revoked if you have “abuse or excessive[ly] use[d] of drugs, including alcohol, narcotics or chemicals.”
In order to be a teacher in the state of Connecticut, you must obtain a teaching certificate. If you lose this certificate, you will no longer be able to teach. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-145b outlines the rules concerning teaching certificates, and section (j) lists the reasons your certificate may be revoked. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-145b(j) authorizes revocation of your teaching certificate if you (1) are convicted of, “any other crime of such nature that in the opinion of the board continued holding of a certificate, authorization or permit by the person would impair the standing of certificates, authorizations or permits issued by the board,” or (2) are convicted of any Class A or Class B felony or of Conn. Gen. Stat. 21a-278 or subsection (a) of section 21a-277.
Under United States Code § 44710, the FAA may suspend or revoke a pilots aircraft license if they are convicted of any law related to a controlled substance. Although the statute states that “simple possession” does not fall into this category, it is certainly possible that your license may be suspended or revoked. While, the statute seems to imply that a pilot needs to have used an aircraft during the commission of the crime in order to face a suspension or revocation, this is not the case. The federal regulation that controls these suspensions or revocations, indicates that the FAA can still suspend or revoke even if an aircraft was not used in the commission of the crime (See: 14 C.F.R. § 61.15).
If you are an attorney convicted of a felony, the court will hold a hearing. This will determine your eligibility to practice law. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 51-91a governs these hearings, and Conn. Gen. Stat. § 51-93 governs reinstatement of attorneys. Refer to the Connecticut Practice Book for further information, specifically, Rule 8.4, which indicates what constitutes a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. As indicated by of the Connecticut Practice Book § 2, violation of any of the Rules of Professional Conduct may lead to severe sanctions, including disbarment.
To fight your drug crime charge, contact our office at 203-925-9200.