The penalties for most drivers arrested for driving under the influence in Virginia are limited to fines, license suspension, and higher insurance rates. However, some driver's face additional consequences that could place their job or career at risk. This includes individuals in the medical field or those who drive for a living, including ambulance drivers and EMTs.
Drivers who are convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs in Virginia may be prohibited from driving an ambulance. However, if an ambulance driver or prospective EMT is arrested for a DUI in Virginia, it does not mean that he or she has to be convicted. Talk to your Virginia DUI defense attorney today about your rights.
DUI and Ambulance Drivers in Virginia
Under 12 Virginia Administrative Code 31-910, certain individuals cannot drive emergency medical services vehicles and ambulances. This includes anyone who has
- a DUI alcohol conviction,
- a DUI drug conviction,
- a felony conviction,
- been assigned to an alcohol safety program,
- been assigned to a driver alcohol rehabilitation program,
- a hit and run conviction, or
- a suspended license.
An EMS license, permit, certificate, endorsement, or designation can be revoked as the result of a DUI conviction in Virginia.
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or other first responders are not limited by alcohol-related driving convictions. However, felonies, crimes or moral turpitude, or sex crimes can be disqualifying offenses for EMTs, even if they are not operating an ambulance or emergency vehicle.
Appeals Process for Ambulance Drivers with a DUI
There is an appeals process for individuals who are denied being allowed to operate an emergency medical service vehicle or who have their license revoked. Under 12VAC5-31-230, individuals can request a hearing or waiver. This request must be made within ten days of receiving the notification. Failure to request a hearing will be considered a waiver of the right to a hearing.
Will I lose my job as an ambulance driver after a DUI arrest in Virginia?
Generally, Virginia will not revoke an EMT license or permit until after a driver has been convicted of a DUI. However, the commissioner can revoke an EMT license for “reasonable cause.” If there is reasonable cause to take away an ambulance driver's license prior to a DUI conviction, an individual could lose their license.
Additionally, before a driver loses his or her license, an ambulance driver's employer may take action against the driver. An employer's insurance may not cover drivers with a DUI or the employer does not want to take the risk of having a driver with a drunk driving arrest. This includes an ambulance driver who does not disclose a drunk driving arrest to the employer.
Can I still be an EMT if I was convicted of a DUI?
Generally, individuals can still become EMTs in Virginia even with a prior DUI conviction. However, getting a job as an EMT may be more limited if the employer is looking for an EMT who is also able to drive an ambulance.
A DUI arrest or drunk driving conviction can give an employer reason to terminate an EMT. Similarly, when considering applicants, an employer may decide to hire an EMT without a DUI over an EMT without a DUI.
The best chance to avoid having a DUI affect your employment opportunities is to ensure you do not get a conviction in the first place. Before giving up one's rights, EMTs and future EMTs should talk to an experienced DUI defense attorney about their rights.
DUI Defense Attorney for EMTs and Ambulance Drivers
A DUI conviction can affect people some people more harshly than others. This includes those who drive for a living and those working in the health care field. A DUI can mean the end of an ambulance driver's time behind the wheel. Before pleading guilty, make sure you understand your rights and possible defenses to Virginia DUI charges. If you are arrested for a drug or alcohol DUI in Virginia, talk to an experienced Charlottesville DUI defense attorney about how to fight the criminal charges and keep a clean record. Contact attorney Thomas M. Wilson today for a free consultation.