Podiatry is a humane and rewarding healthcare profession, as its practitioners well know. Podiatrists generally enjoy and benefit from their healing practices, professional standing, and professional income. Podiatrists have every right and reason to expect a rewarding healthcare career because of their substantial investment in podiatry education and residency. Diagnosing and medically and surgically treating disorders of the foot, ankle, and leg is a critical healthcare profession. Podiatrists, though, must be on guard against professional license discipline related to DWI charges, like other licensed professionals facing DWI charges. A DWI charge may at first seem like its own independent thing, unrelated to the defendant driver's professional podiatry practice. But state regulators of podiatrists may not see it that way. Depending on the circumstances of your DWI charge, you could instead face a disciplinary proceeding threatening your podiatry license and practice. For your best outcome to DWI charges, retain leading Texas DWI Specialist defense attorney Doug Murphy. Attorney Murphy has the skills and experience you need for dual defense of DWI charges in criminal court and discipline against your podiatry license in an administrative tribunal. Get the qualified representation you need for your best outcome to DWI charges. Your podiatry career is worth defending against DWI charges.
Podiatrist Qualifications Relating to DWI Charges
Texas Occupational Code Sections 202.001 et seq. regulate the practice of podiatry in the state. You cannot practice podiatry in Texas without a valid state license. When you face DWI criminal charges, recognize and respect your need to protect your podiatry license against administrative disciplinary charges. Section 202.253 states the grounds on which the Department of Licensing & Regulation may deny, discipline, or refuse to renew a podiatry license. A DWI charge could, depending on its circumstances, implicate any of these Section 202.253 grounds to deny a podiatry license or renewal:
- "engaging in habits of intemperance or drug addiction that in the department's opinion would endanger the health, well-being, or welfare of patients;"
- "engaging in grossly unprofessional or dishonorable conduct of a character that in the department's opinion is likely to deceive or defraud the public;"
- "being unable to practice podiatry with reasonable skill and safety to a patient because of age, illness, drunkenness, or excessive use of drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or other substances or as a result of a mental or physical condition;"
- "failing to practice podiatry in an acceptable manner consistent with public health and welfare;"
- "being removed, suspended, or disciplined in another manner by the podiatrist's peers in a professional podiatry association or society…;" or
- "being disciplined by a licensed hospital or the medical staff of a hospital … based on unprofessional conduct or professional incompetence likely to harm the public…."
Administrative rules reinforce these qualifications. Texas Administrative Code Rule 130.40 specifically requires the podiatry applicant to show "no conviction of or deferred adjudication for a felony" and "no disciplinary action recorded from any medical institution or agency or organization, including, but not limited to, any licensing board, hospital, surgery center, clinic, professional organization, governmental health organization, or extended-care facility." These codes, rules, and regulations make DWI charges a hazard for any licensed podiatrist.
How DWI Charges Implicate Podiatrist Qualifications
None of the above podiatry licensing regulations expressly identify DWI charges as a licensing issue. Yet DWI charges could clearly implicate the above regulations, depending on the nature and circumstances of those charges. Under Texas Administrative Code Rule 130.40, a felony DWI conviction could be an expressly disqualifying event for renewal of a podiatry license. Licensing officials could also argue that felony DWI charges for crimes like DWI with a child passenger in the driver's vehicle, injury to another due to the DWI intoxication, or a third or subsequent DWI offense, represent "grossly unprofessional or dishonorable conduct" subject to sanction. Even if the DWI charges are not felony charges but instead an ordinary first or second misdemeanor DWI offense, circumstances like a very high blood alcohol content or reckless driving could lead licensing officials to find the conduct grossly unprofessional or dishonorable. DWI charges can also implicate the above qualifications having to do with alcohol or drug abuse and intemperance. If the DWI arrest leads to evidence of habitual intoxication, licensing officials may also allege that the podiatrist endangers patients. And if the DWI charge leads to the podiatrist's sanction by a hospital or professional association, then the licensing officials would have yet another ground for license discipline. In short, DWI charges can, in various ways, lead to license discipline. Retain DWI Specialist attorney Murphy to evaluate the risk that DWI charges pose to your podiatry license.
Podiatrist Disciplinary Procedures Relating to DWI Charges
Texas Occupational Code Sections 202.501-503 expressly provide for a podiatry license's revocation, suspension, or probation, and other administrative penalties, for violating the above protective provisions. Texas Occupational Code Sections 202.2031 et seq. set forth the procedures for determining whether to discipline a podiatrist related to DWI charges or other circumstances. Those procedures require that the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation notify the podiatrist who is under disciplinary investigation. Contested cases go before the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings. The State Office of Administrative Hearings follows the state's administrative hearing rules for contested licensing cases. In that administrative proceeding, the Department of Licensing & Regulation will have available to it the necessary resources and expertise to prove that a podiatrist is no longer fit for professional licensure and practice. Section 202.204, for instance, authorizes the department to retain an expert podiatry witness to evaluate and testify against the licensee who faces the disciplinary complaint. Indeed, Section 202.253(b)-(c) requires the department to have the podiatrist submit to a qualified physician's mental or physical examination if the grounds for discipline involve the podiatrist's alleged inability to practice safely and competently due to "age, illness, drunkenness, or excessive use of drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or other substances or as a result of a mental or physical condition."
Contested Podiatry License Hearings on DWI Charges
Do not underestimate the complexity and gravity of your podiatry license proceeding if it proceeds to a formal administrative hearing. Administrative licensing hearings are generally before an administrative law judge. The administrative hearing the judge conducts can have trial-like features but often with relaxed evidentiary rules and expectations. Hearings, nonetheless, typically entail the presentation of some witness testimony and evidentiary exhibits. Your retained administrative defense attorney may need to cross-examine Department of Licensing & Regulation expert witnesses, object to certain evidence, and present your exonerating and mitigating evidence. Effective podiatry license representation requires substantial administrative hearing skills and experience. Retain DWI Specialist attorney Murphy for your skilled administrative representation and best licensing outcome.
Disclosing DWI Charges to Podiatry Licensing Officials
Podiatry licensing rules and regulations do not generally require the podiatrist to self-report DWI charges. A charge is not a conviction. American law generally presumes innocence until proven guilty. But a professional colleague, employer, or other person may make their own complaint against you to licensing officials. And licensing officials may discover your DWI arrest, charge, and conviction if you do not self-report and no colleague reports you. Texas Occupational Code Section 202.2525 requires podiatry license applicants to submit fingerprints for the Department of Licensing & Regulation to obtain a criminal history check. Texas Administrative Code Rule 130.40 specifically requires the podiatry applicant to "successfully pass a criminal history background check performed by the department." Renewing a podiatry license may also require disclosure of a DWI arrest and conviction or reveal the conviction's disclosure in an updated criminal history check. You may also find, after review and advice from your DWI Specialist, that self-reporting to licensing officials could mitigate any potential licensing sanction. Retain attorney Murphy for his substantial skill and experience defending professionals in DWI-related licensing proceedings to evaluate your best course for confidentiality or disclosure.
Potential Consequences for a Podiatrist's DWI Charge
Podiatrists indeed have a lot at stake when facing DWI charges. Your first thought may be about the criminal charges and penalties, which can indeed be significant if the charges result in a conviction. Penalties for a first DWI offense are up to six months in jail. Any DWI offense can also result in driver's license suspension and supervised release. Second misdemeanor DWI offenses increase the potential penalty to twelve months in jail with longer supervised release and driver's license suspension. Felony DWI convictions further increase those potential penalties. Suspension or even revocation of your podiatry license can be related to professional discipline under the above law, rules, and regulations. But DWI charges can bring other impacts on significant personal interests like child custody, firearms licenses, and your ability to travel internationally. DWI Specialist attorney Murphy can not only help you evaluate these potential life impacts but also work wisely and diligently to mitigate and avoid them.
Defending a Podiatrist's DWI Charges
Podiatrists facing DWI charges should know that no matter how strong the evidence against them appears to be, successful defense may be possible, depending on other facts and circumstances that may not yet be apparent. Consult DWI Specialist attorney Murphy to learn more about your potential available affirmative defenses. Appreciate that the prosecutor who charges you with a Texas DWI must meet the law's highest beyond a reasonable doubt proof burden. Suspect breath test or blood test results, based on the officer's or technician's inadequate training, poor equipment, or the failure to calibrate the equipment, protect the sample, and properly interpret the results, can raise reasonable doubts about the prosecution's evidence. Attorney Murphy's discovery of the prosecution's evidence and his own investigation may show that your arresting officer lacked the required reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle, the required probable cause to search your vehicle, or the probable cause for a blood test warrant. Attorney Murphy's motion to suppress the prosecution's incriminating evidence can raise these and other violations of your constitutional rights, potentially resulting in the abandonment or dismissal of the DWI charges. Retain attorney Murphy to pursue these and other avenues for your best possible outcome to DWI charges and your podiatry license proceeding.
What a Podiatrist Facing a DWI Charge Can Do
Your best move as a podiatrist facing DWI charges is to rely on the skilled and experienced DWI Specialist representation you need for your best outcome. Do not speak with police, prosecutors, investigators, or others without first retaining and consulting your own DWI Specialist. Do not plead guilty, and do not admit to things that the police and prosecution will inevitably use against you, as your Miranda rights warn. Instead, rely on your privilege against self-incrimination. Retain DWI Specialist attorney Murphy to help you plead not guilty at your arraignment and obtain fair bail terms and conditions. Let attorney Murphy help you through your preliminary examination hearing, and let him communicate with the court and negotiate with the prosecution. You may also need attorney Murphy's assistance dealing with an impounded motor vehicle. You may also need attorney Murphy's representation to request your Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing and advocate for you at the ALR hearing to avoid your automatic loss of the temporary driver's license the police officer probably issued you at your DWI arrest. Let attorney Murphy help you communicate and deal with podiatry licensing officials and with any hospitals, clinics, or professional associations threatening your censure. You may also benefit from attorney Murphy's help communicating with your employer. Trust that your prompt and sound actions in coordination with your DWI Specialist's counsel and services may make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.
Texas DWI Specialist for Podiatrists Facing DWI Charges
Texas DWI Specialist attorney Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas attorneys holding both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification. You know that you can trust attorney Murphy because Houston area lawyers voted him the Best Lawyers in America 2021 and 2023 Houston Lawyer of the Year for DWI Defense. Attorney Murphy lectures to lawyers and judges nationwide on DWI defense. He has successfully defended many professionals against DWI charges and related professional discipline. Retain the best available Texas DWI Specialist for your best result. Call (713) 229-8333 or go online now.