When a Texas resident is facing a DWI charge, they only need to worry about dealing with the legal implications of being convicted and having a DWI arrest on their criminal history. However, for a medical professional, there is the issue of dealing with an investigation from the Texas Medical Board to think of.
Drug or alcohol addiction is taken very seriously in Texas, and any doctor or nurse thought to be endangering a patient's life by being involved in such activities will face serious consequences.
This is why DWI convictions can easily result in a medical professional losing his or her medical license.
As such, hiring an experienced DWI attorney is the first thing the accused persons must do if they wish to keep their medical licenses. Being arrested for DWI is not the end of the world as long as they know the right steps to take.
What Happens to a Medical Professional After a DWI Conviction?
The good news for doctors and nurses in Texas is that in the absence of prior DWI arrests, and if the charge is not classified as a felony DWI, the medical licensing board will not automatically trigger a license suspension.
However, the Medical Practice Act does demand that some action be taken by the Texas Medical Board, even if it is the offender's first time DWI arrest.
Therefore, an independent investigation will be launched to determine whether there was any unprofessional conduct or moral turpitude that warrants further disciplinary action.
The following are some of the circumstances that may trigger further investigation by the Texas Medical Board:
The DWI arrest coincides with excessive use of alcohol or drugs.
Medical professionals were shown to have committed other crimes along with the DWI.
The doctor or nurse was too impaired to safely perform medical duties.
This DWI offense is part of a pattern of behavior unwanted in the medical profession.
The arrest for DWI coincides with the endangerment of a patient's life.
Reporting a DWI to the Texas Medical Board
In Texas, medical professionals are held in high esteem and are expected to be honest and transparent in all their dealings. This means doctors are required to report any DWI arrests, charges, and convictions to the Texas Board.
While the DWI trial and the independent investigation by the Texas Medical Board are conducted by separate bodies, a competent DWI attorney can help in the disclosure, investigation, and acquittal/conviction in both cases.
It is important to note that it is being arrested for DWI that triggers the investigation by the Texas Board, not the outcome of the case.
However, being found not guilty will work in the doctor's favor rather than a conviction or a mistrial.
DWI Circumstances That Can Cause Loss of Medical License
Many things can cause a doctor or nurse to lose their medical license in Texas, and it is important to be familiar with all of them.
The following are the most common causes:
Any felony conviction
Substance abuse and public indecency
Obstruction of government operations
Kidnapping or false imprisonment
Bribery, burglary, or corruption
A misdemeanor involving moral turpitude
Violation of the statutes of the Medical Practice Act
Offenses involving assault or battery
Avoiding Disciplinary Action From the Texas Medical Board
While the state will be looking for evidence of criminal law violations by the accused individual, the Texas Medical Board's opinion is based on evidence of untrustworthiness, unprofessional conduct, and a lack of transparency.
Therefore, doctors facing DWI charges can provide the following types of evidence to the board to safeguard their professional license:
An honest, transparent, and thoughtful personal statement about the incident.
Character statements from patients and letters of support from the community.
Letters of support from family members
Statements that are written by colleagues in the medical profession.
Evidence of any awards and community service.
Tests to disprove addiction to alcohol or drugs.
Can a Person Practice Medicine With a DWI Conviction?
According to Texas Law, criminal charges or convictions related to DWI offenses do not disqualify a medical professional from practicing medicine in the state. Sparks Law Firm can provide insight on DWI consequences for Nurses in Texas.
Texas licensing boards will still issue professional licenses to deserving individuals regardless of DWI convictions unless there are other aggravating factors to consider.
However, having an arrest record for DWI affects the chances of a doctor finding employment in hospitals due to the requirement that all candidates submit to background checks.
What complicates this even further is that a DWI conviction will stay on the doctor's criminal record forever.
With these considerations in mind, is essential that any doctor or nurse arrested for DWI hire an experienced attorney immediately to prevent a conviction that may make it very difficult to work in the industry in the future.
First Step to Take After a DWI Arrest
While the circumstances of each DWI arrest will differ from one case to the next, one thing that is common in all of them is the need to hire a lawyer as the first step. They can also answer questions like, "Can you be a teacher with a DWI or DUI in Texas?"
Other important steps involve avoiding self-incrimination and applying for bail, but having a lawyer on the case as soon as possible is essential.
The steps that the accused party takes in the first few hours after the arrest can have a huge impact on how the DWI case goes.
A Medical Professional Facing DWI Charges Needs a Competent Lawyer
Hiring a competent attorney with an in-depth understanding of Texas Law is the best thing a doctor or nurse facing DWI charges can do for themselves.
Not only will our DWI lawyer Justin Sparks fight for their rights in court and independent investigations by the Texas Medical Board, but he will also help keep his client's criminal record clean by, for example, asking for deferred adjudication from the courts.
In case of a conviction, an attorney can argue for reduced jail time or community service. After the sentence has been served, the lawyer can start working on getting the doctor's criminal record expunged.
One of the most highly rated law firms in Fort Worth, Texas, is Sparks Law Firm. Medical professionals facing DWI charges and the possible loss of their medical license can call Sparks Law Firm today for a free consultation.