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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

DWI Consequences for Nurses in Texas - A Good Lawyer Can Help

A Texas DWI arrest has the potential to cause a lot of problems for the accused, from paying fines to serving jail time. However, if the accused happens to be a nurse, being arrested for criminal conduct will also have a lasting effect on their nursing career.


When nurses receive their nursing license from the Texas Board of Nursing, they agree to be held to a higher standard than other professionals. This is because the nature of their work involves being put in charge of the lives and well-being of their patients.


The Nursing Practice Act is used by the Texas Board of Nursing to govern how these healthcare professionals are expected to conduct themselves. While this is essential to protect the health of their patients, it also means nurses have a lot more to answer for when facing a DWI charge than ordinary Texas residents.


The Texas Nursing Board has the power to conduct a nursing investigation and punish any nurses who have received a drunk driving conviction. However, with a good lawyer on their side, nurses can fight for their rights and protect their hard-earned nursing licenses.


This article will look at DWI consequences for nurses in Texas, the steps accused nurses can take, as well as how experienced DWI attorneys can help protect their nursing career.


What Happens to a Nurse Who Gets a DWI in Texas?

What Happens to a Nurse Who Gets a DWI in Texas?


The legal consequences of a DWI conviction can be quite severe for anyone, but more so for those pursuing a nursing career. Not only will they have to deal with the DWI charge but also with the Texas Board of Nursing, which has been empowered by the Nursing Practice Act to handle such situations.


However, it is important to note that not all cases of DWI charges will lead to severe consequences, such as jail time or losing a nursing license. It all depends on what happened and whether or not the charge resulted in a DWI conviction.


In cases where there is no DWI conviction, nurses are not obligated to report the DWI charge to the Texas Board of Nursing. However, if a DWI conviction has been handed down, this must be reported to the Texas Board as soon as possible.


The Texas Board of Nursing has to then decide whether further investigation is required and if this DWI conviction raises any moral turpitude concerns that need to be considered. In short, the board will need to determine whether nurses convicted of a Texas DWI threaten the safety of patients in their care.


In most cases, a DWI arrest can result in any of the following consequences for nurses in Texas:


Losing Their Texas Nursing License


The Texas Board of Nursing has the power to conduct an investigation into the DWI conviction and revoke or temporarily suspend a nurse's license should they deem it necessary. A thorough investigation is required before such serious measures can be taken. Sparks Law Firm can answer questions like, "Can you lose your medical license for a DWI in Texas?"


During the investigation, the board will often look at things such as a history of criminal conduct, the seriousness of the DWI conviction, and any other extenuating circumstances that can affect their decision.


A Huge Blow to Their Nursing Career


Even if the nursing license is not completely revoked, there may be certain restrictions placed on it that may affect the nurse's ability to work. Also, the Texas Board of Nursing may require the nurse to undergo mandatory alcohol and drug treatment for a specified period.


While both these punishments are not as bad as losing their nursing license, the nurse's career will still suffer a huge blow. Often, a DWI conviction will cause embarrassment, stress, and a loss of respect among colleagues. All this will harm the growth of their nursing career.


Difficulties in Finding Future Employment


One of the things that everyone has to endure when applying for a new job is being subjected to a background check. According to Texas law, a DWI conviction does not mean that one cannot be employed as a nurse in the future.


However, such a record will create obvious hurdles for any prospective candidate. A person with a clean record is more likely to be accepted in nursing school or be offered employment than a nurse with a Texas DWI conviction.


DWI Consequences for Nurses in Texas Depend on Circumstances


It is important for nurses facing a Texas DWI charge to understand the severity of the situation and whether they can face possible jail time as well as thousands of dollars in fines. The following are some of the things the courts and the Texas Board of Nursing will look at before passing judgment:


Low Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)


Texas DWI charges will be classified as a Class B Misdemeanor if the blood alcohol content is found to be below 0.15. This low BAC level will usually result in the nurse losing their driver's license, paying a fine of $2,000, and a possible jail time of up to six months in prison.


In addition to this, the Texas Board of Nursing may decide to revoke the nursing license of the accused or temporarily suspend it while further investigations are being carried out.


High BAC


A DWI arrest that is accompanied by a BAC level of more than 0.15 is a lot more serious and is regarded as a Class A Misdemeanor. The possible jail time is increased to 12 months, as well as a much higher fine of up to $4,000.


This is a very serious conviction that will result in the nurse's driver's license being revoked and a permanent criminal record. If an open container of alcohol is found in the vehicle when the nurse is arrested, a minimum of six days in jail will be imposed in addition to the Class A Misdemeanor charge.


Second DWI Conviction


Regardless of whether the BAC found the nurse's body during the arrest, a second DWI conviction will be treated as a Class A misdemeanor and carry similar punishments reserved for those convicted with a very high BAC.


Third-time DWI Conviction


Being convicted of a DWI charge for the third time in Texas is a third-degree felony conviction. This is one of the most serious situations a nurse may find themselves in, as it can result in a huge fine of up to $10,000 and a jail sentence of between two and 10 years in prison.


Endangering a Minor


Simply having a child passenger in the vehicle when arrested for DWI in Texas is a State jail felony. The nurse will likely receive a punishment of up to two years in prison and a fine of $10,000.


In addition to these punishments, the Texas Board of Nursing will also revoke the nurse's license and conduct investigations to determine whether the actions of the nurse warrant any further action.


What Does the Texas Board of Nursing Say?


The Texas Board of Nursing is responsible for ensuring that the ethical standards set for Texas nurses are maintained. As such, whenever a case in which a nurse is charged with DWI happens, the matter is taken very seriously.


Whenever a nurse is charged with DWI, the following applies:

  • The nurse will only be rewired to report the issue if a conviction is handed down. If it is only an arrest and a DWI charge, the Texas Board of Nursing does not have to be notified.

  • An investigation will be conducted to determine if the actions of the nurse warrant any further disciplinary action from the board. This is common in cases with high BAC levels, repeated DWI convictions, or arrests where a minor is involved.

  • During the investigation and the proceedings, the Texas Board of Nursing will allow the nurse to have a lawyer present to represent them.

Deferred Adjudication


Any form of DWI charges will look bad on a person's criminal history should a background check be conducted, and this has the potential to cost the accused job opportunities in the future.


As such, from the moment the nurse is arrested for DWI, one of the main objectives, besides getting the charges dismissed, is to make sure there is no record of the charge. The best way to do this is to take advantage of deferred adjudication, which will allow the nurse to settle for probation rather than having a criminal history.


Deferred adjudication only applies to cases where it is a first-time DWI, and it is not a felony conviction. If a minor is involved or the nurse is a repeat DWI offender, using deferred adjudication will be very complicated.


In any case, even if the nurse is charged with DWI in Texas, as long as they are not convicted, they can later apply to have their records expunged. With a good expungement lawyer on their side, nurses can have their records wiped clean, leaving them free to continue with their nursing career without any hurdles.


Steps to Take After a DWI Charge in Texas

Steps to Take After a DWI Charge in Texas


The steps that are taken soon after the nurse has been charged with a DWI are very important in determining whether the charges are dismissed and continue practicing nursing or they will have to carry the DWI conviction for the rest of their lives.


Here are three easy steps that Texas nurses must remember when preparing to launch a DWI defense:


Call a Lawyer


No matter how simple or complicated DWI cases can be, it is always good to have a lawyer around. There are many ways in which a drunk driving conviction can lead to the loss of a Texas nursing license if the accused is not careful.


That is why the first thing to do after being arrested on a DWI charge is to demand a lawyer. Only a qualified attorney will be able to examine the evidence being brought against their client and determine the best possible outcome.


There are many ways in which an experienced DWI lawyer can help Texas nurses avoid losing their nursing licenses, such as:

  • Examine how the BAC tests were conducted.

  • Determine whether the arresting officer had probable cause.

  • Look at whether proper procedure was followed.

Challenge an Administrative License Revocation (ALR)


Failing a BAC test usually means the arresting officer will issue a Notice of Suspension to the nurse and take away their driver's license. When this happens, the nurse will have 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing.


Failure to do this could mean the nurse will not be allowed to drive until the case is concluded, which can take a long time. This is another thing that a good lawyer will be able to help their client with and avoid the inconvenience of not being able to drive.


Avoid Self-incrimination


If the arresting officer wants to ask further questions, they must first read the Miranda Rights to the nurse. Otherwise, any statements made may be inadmissible in court. However, even without the reading of the Miranda Rights, statements made by the accused can still be used against them.


This is why it is important to avoid self-incrimination at all costs. To do this, the nurse must watch what they say from the moment of the arrest until they get a chance to sit down with their lawyer.


Post Bail


Certain DWI cases will allow the nurse to post bail, depending on specific circumstances. This can be done using a cash bond through the courts or the local Sherriff's office. The bail amount also depends on the severity of the DWI charges.


An Experienced DWI Lawyer Can Be the Difference


If a nurse who has been arrested for DWI wishes to continue to practice nursing without having their nursing license revoked or suspended by the Texas Board of Nursing, they need to hire the services of a qualified attorney.


An experienced DWI lawyer will help with both the DWI charge and any disciplinary proceeding that may be brought against the nurse. In Fort Worth, Texas, one of the most trusted law firms when it comes to handling all kinds of DWI cases is Sparks Law Firm.


Nurses facing DWI charges can call the firm right now to schedule a free consultation.

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