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How prescription drug charges can impact licensed professionals

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Professionals in Tennessee often need to obtain special licenses to work in skilled or educated careers. For example, within the medical industry, there are more than two dozen separate licensing boards for professions ranging from those working with individuals who have sensory issues to mental health professionals.

State licensing boards in Tennessee help establish and enforce professional standards. They protect the public by ensuring that those working in highly-skilled and educated professions meet specific standards, such as obtaining necessary degrees, passing state tests and having few or no criminal convictions on their record.

Maintaining a professional license can lead to competitive wages and a rewarding profession. Unfortunately, prescription drug charges could lead to the loss of necessary licensing and major career challenges.

Criminal records affect eligibility

One of the reasons that state licensing exists is to ensure that those working in professions that require public trust do not engage in dangerous or unethical behavior. State licensing boards perform background checks to determine what criminal records applicants may have. They also frequently engage in disciplinary action when a license holder allegedly engages in questionable conduct.

In many professions, offenses more serious than traffic tickets can put licensing at risk. Prescription drug charges can be a red flag for licensing boards. They indicate an issue with addiction, which can compromise decision-making ability and job performance. Particularly in professions related to healthcare or transportation, a criminal record related to substance abuse can be enough to end someone’s career.

Accused professionals have rights

Getting arrested for a prescription drug charge, whether it relates to unlawfully possessing a medication or driving after taking a prescription drug, can have a major impact on someone’s professional future. Thankfully, there are rules in place to ensure due process for those who have invested heavily in their case. Specifically, licensed professionals have the same right as anyone else to defend against criminal charges by taking a case to trial. Avoiding a conviction typically means that a licensed professional can avoid major disciplinary consequences with the state licensing board.

Even after a conviction or guilty plea, it may be possible to mitigate the worst consequences possible by having an attorney represent a professional during disciplinary hearings before a licensing board. As such, understanding the potential implications of pending prescription drug charges could help licensed professionals in Tennessee avoid worst-case scenarios.