According to a recent study conducted by the American Bar Association (ABA), one in every three practicing attorneys is a problem drinker. The study defined “problem drinking” as “hazardous, harmful, and potentially alcohol-depended drinking.”
These findings should not come as a surprise, however, as drinking is a social norm amongst those in the legal profession. Lawyers drink at networking events, at client outings, and after fourteen-hour days.
Drinking habits such as these can be detrimental to an attorneys’ career because the Model Rules of Professional Conduct holds lawyers to an extremely high moral standard, considering an attorney’s ability to affect the outcome of another person’s livelihood.
Being accused of driving under the influence of drugs, for an attorney, could be career ending.
If you are a lawyer or a law student, being charged with driving under the influence can be detrimental to your career. Speak with an experienced Florida DUI attorney who will fight to get your charges dropped or adjudication withheld.
The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have litigated multiple DUI cases and have saved the careers of multiple kinds of professionals, from other attorneys to healthcare professionals and educators. Our firm takes cases throughout the Greater Miami Metropolitan Area in places like Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Miami-Dade County in Florida.
Call (561) 515-5834 now to learn more about our DUI defense services for other professionals in West Palm Beach, FL.
In Florida, the Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court regulates the legal profession through the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar.
A driving under the influence charge is, first, a criminal offense. Regardless of whether the accused attorney is suffering from addiction or simply made a bad decision, the Florida Bar has rules against criminal misconduct.
The Rule regarding criminal misconduct can be found in The Rules Regulated the Florida Bar Rule 3-4.4 Criminal Misconduct. The Rule states in part:
Unless modified or stayed by the Supreme Court of Florida as provided elsewhere herein, a determination or judgment of guilt of a member of The Florida Bar by a court of competent jurisdiction… In addition, whether the alleged misconduct constitutes a felony or misdemeanor The Florida Bar may initiate disciplinary action regardless of whether the respondent has ben tried, acquitted, or convicted in a court for the alleged criminal offense; however, the board may, in its discretion, withhold prosecution of disciplinary proceedings pending the outcome of criminal proceedings against the respondent.
The acquittal of the respondent…shall not necessarily be a bar to disciplinary proceedings nor shall the findings, judgment, or decree of any court…be binding in disciplinary proceedings. Thus, the mere allegation of criminal misconduct can have catastrophic effects on a lawyer’s career. As the Bar Rule states, even being acquitted may not be enough to avoid disciplinary action by the Board.
While the Florida bar has exhibited a trend toward suspension rather than immediate disbarment, there is, of course, no guarantee that an individual will not be disbarred. Moreover, there are other forms of discipline, including the following listed below:
Once in the legal profession, it is said to be a little easier to stay in the legal profession. Individuals who are in law school or who want to attend law school and who are charged with driving under the influence may have a more difficult time.
Pre-Law: students hoping to attend law school but who have been convicted of driving under the influence charges may even face a difficult time getting into law school. Most law school applications ask whether the applicant has had any criminal investigations, convictions, or charges.
J.Ds: Acquiring a driving under the influence charge after having received a juris doctorate can be a major bar to being admitted to the Florida Bar. One question that the Florida Bar applicant must answer is whether he or she has been subject to criminal charges, convictions, or investigations. The applicant must answer such questions regardless of whether the previous conviction has been expunged or sealed; providing additional details and dates.
Maintaining professionalism is crucial for those hoping to enter the legal profession and practice in Florida. Having a DUI from too much law school or undergrad partying can be the end of a person’s career. Speaking to an experienced West Palm Beach DUI attorney is imperative.
Rules Regulated the Florida Bar 3-5.4 – Visit the Florida Bar website for the full regulatory language of the Florida bar rule regarding the consequences of criminal misconduct.
Impaired Attorneys and the Disciplinary System – Visit the Florida Lawyers Assistance website for more information about the history of disciplinary actions taken by the Florida Supreme Court and other attorney disciplinary entities regarding addiction, mitigation, and other issues facing attorneys charged with driving under the influence or other alcohol or drug related offenses.
Fla. Stat. § 316.193 – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature for more information about the full statutory disposition of driving under the influence, including the elements of the offense, the mandatory minimum and maximums associated with conviction.
If you or someone you know in West Palm Beach, or in the surrounding areas of Broward County, or Miami-Dade County, Florida, has been charged with driving under the influence as a professional, contact the experienced DUI attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A..
Our office has not only represented clients in multiple kinds of driving offenses, including DUI cases, but we have represented professionals accused of misconduct, malpractice, and DUI offenses throughout the Greater-Miami Metropolitan Area.
Call Meltzer & Bell, P.A. at (561) 515-5834 to schedule a one-on-one, no obligations consultation with our office.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, August 29, 2017.
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I was facing hard prison time and punishment. [Larry] did everything to pull strings and get me into rehab. After meeting with many therapists I finally got one to diagnose me successfully with Bipolar. Thanks to Larry I have been sober since 6/19/09. My health is great and my family life is amazing. It's because he saw something in me and my family that I wasn't just an alcoholic there was something that told me it was something else.
I was charged with a felony and facing the scary thought of losing my job, but thank you Attorney Steven Bell for helping me. Now I’m able to keep my job and take care of my family. I am truly amazed by your service, and you for understanding what I have to deal with. To me I’m very impressed by way you handled my case and was here to listen and make things OK!
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