Call us: 949.497.1729


Dentists who get a DUI must be concerned about the licensing consequences that they face if they are convicted.  The Dental Board of California has jurisdiction over the discipline of Dentists in California.

Bus. & Prof. Code, § 1670.1 governs discipline for dental professionals and provides:

“(a) Any licentiate under this chapter may have his or her license revoked or suspended or be reprimanded or be placed on probation by the board for conviction of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a dentist or dental assistant licensed under this chapter . . . .

(b) The board shall undertake proceedings under this section upon the receipt of a certified copy of the record of conviction. A plea or verdict of guilty or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere made to a charge of a felony or of any misdemeanor substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a dentist or dental assistant licensed under this chapter is deemed to be a conviction within the meaning of this section. . . .”

What Crimes are “Substantially Related”

What constitutes a conviction of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a dentist or dental assistant is found in California Code of Regulations Title 16 § 1019 which provides:

For the purposes of denial, suspension or revocation of a license of a dentist or a dental auxiliary . . . a crime or act shall be considered to be substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a dentist or dental auxiliary if to a substantial degree it evidences present or potential unfitness of a licensee to perform the functions authorized by his license in a manner consistent with the public health, safety, or welfare.


Under this definition and related case law and statutory amendments, the Board is no longer required to show that the crime was one which involved moral turpitude and the Board now looks to the totality of the underlying facts of the offense.


Sulla v. Board of Nursing

In order for the conviction to trigger discipline, it must be substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of the Dentist pursuant to Bus. & Prof. Code §1617.1  The question of what is substantially related has become a major issues with all professional discipline including  Dentists  since the decision in Sulla v. Board of Nursing (2012) 105 Cal.App.4th 1195 and will be decided on a case by case basis.  A Dentist convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs or the combined influence of drugs and alcohol will certainly be looking at a substantial investigation by the Board.  Multiple offenders and Dentists with a history of substance abuse are also candidates for greater disciplinary investigation than a 1st time offender with no aggravating circumstances.

The Board is permitted to take action even when the underlying conviction has been set aside under the provisions of Penal Code Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code, allowing such person to withdraw his or her plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty, or setting aside the verdict of guilty, or dismissing the accusation, information, or indictment.

Dental Board’s Enforcement Program

The Board’s Enforcement Program is composed of the following five sections.

  • Complaint Intake
    • Complaints are received at the Board by staff trained to screen incoming complaints for appropriate routing. Initially, complaint files are opened then routed to their appropriate destinations. Some complaints are referred directly to the Investigations Section, the Inspection Section, the Complaint Analysis Section, or to other State agencies. The Board receives complaints from various parties including patients, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, health-care providers, and others.
  • Complaint Analysis
    • Once complaints are received in the Complaint Analysis Section, a team of analysts work together to develop comprehensive complaint files. The analysts request all dental records from the subject of the complaint, and from other dentists and/or physicians who may have rendered treatment to the patient who filed the complaint. Once the complaint files are completed, they are forwarded to the Board’s dental consultants for review. The dental consultants are practicing dentists who review complaint files in an effort to evaluate whether violations of the Dental Practice Act can be substantiated.
  • Inspection Section
    • The Board’s inspectors respond to complaints alleging unsafe, or unsanitary conditions in dental offices. Inspectors are authorized to inspect dental offices throughout the state and to issue administrative warnings and citations. Dentists who receive citations are required to pay an administrative fine and show proof that the cited condition has been corrected.
  • Investigation Section
    • The Investigation Section is responsible for performing investigations of criminal and administrative violations of the Dental Practice Act. The Board employs a highly trained team of investigators who are sworn peace officers in its endeavors to uncover and prosecute violators in the dental profession. Typical investigations include allegations of billing and insurance fraud, drug violations, patient battery, unlawful sexual conduct with patients, and the unlicensed practice of dentistry. Investigative cases that establish unlawful activity are filed with local District Attorney’s Offices or the California Office of the Attorney General for criminal or administrative prosecution.
  • Probation Section

The purpose of the Probation Section is to monitor dentists and licensed dental auxiliaries who have had their licenses placed on a probationary status due to sustained administrative discipline. The Board’s probation monitors verify that public protection is being achieved and that the dental probationers are adhering to the requirements of their probation orders. Dental probationers who violate their probation orders are subject to having their licenses revoked.

Dental Board Receives Notice of Arrest From Department of Justice 

Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations Amended Sections: 1007, 1008 and 1017.2  now requires the submission of fingerprints upon license renewal if the Department of Justice (DOJ) has no record that the licensee was previously fingerprinted by the Board. This requirement applies to all licensees not previously fingerprinted by the Board  and requires Live Scan fingerprinting by the (DOJ) in order to renew the license.  Once a Dentist has his fingerprints on file with the Department of Justice, any arrest or conviction for a criminal offense will be immediately forwarded to the Board.  The Board will then conduct an investigation and may thereafter initiate disciplinary proceeding to revoke or suspend your license.

If you are a Dentist, or intend to seek licensure through the Dental Board of California and you have a pending DUI or other misdemeanor and/or felony charge, you need a qualified attorney who not only specializes in DUI defense, but also has the necessary training, experience and qualifications to represent you before the Your best chance to avoid license discipline by the Dental Board of California is to have the best qualified lawyer to represent you for your DUI case.

At the Law Office of Barry T. Simons you can be assured of the strongest commitment to the defense of your DUI charge coupled with experienced representation before the Board if necessary.  Our goal is to avoid discipline by avoiding a conviction.


Call 949-497-1729 for a free confidential consultation



Board Certified Specialist Badge From the National College For DUI Defense
California DUI Lawyers Association Logo
Rated by Super Lawyers Badge
OC Metro Top DUI Attorney Badge
AV Preeminent Logo 2017
10.0 Superb Rating from AVOO Rating for Being a Top Criminal Defense Attorney

By Barry T. Simons: “It is my honor and privilege to fight for my clients; challenge unjust laws; protect our Constitution and to be a thorn on the side of injustice”.

By Barry T. Simons: “It is my honor and privilege to fight for my clients; challenge unjust laws; protect our Constitution and to be a thorn on the side of injustice”.