As a small business owner, you dedicate a great deal of your life to growing and protecting your business. If the police arrest you for a DWI, you may be concerned and frightened about the consequences of a guilty conviction, especially if it may affect your business. It's good to ask questions, but keep in mind that you are innocent until proven guilty. An experienced DWI attorney can help protect you and your small business as much as possible.
Doug Murphy is a Board Certified DWI and criminal defense expert who has valuable experience defending small business owners. He will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and to maintain your freedom. Contact Doug Murphy if you're facing a DWI in Texas, Houston, or the surrounding area.
What Are the Professional Consequences of a DWI?
A DWI charge has serious consequences that can uproot your life. You may face a mandatory driver's license suspension, court fines, and even jail time. On top of that, a DWI conviction can have short and long-term consequences for your professional life and your small business.
Losing a Professional License
Even a misdemeanor conviction can affect your ability to hold a professional license or security clearance and your ability to hold certain jobs in law enforcement or the military. Many professional licensing boards will open a disciplinary investigation if you have a criminal conviction. These investigations can result in license suspension or revocation, particularly for trusted professions such as:
- Certified Public Accountants: The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy can discredit CPA licenses for violating its professional conduct rules.
- The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority can revoke Series 7 licenses for misdemeanor and felony convictions. Many financial institutions won't even consider hiring people with a criminal record.
- The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners can take disciplinary action against that affect dental licenses. They require Texas dentists to disclose DWI convictions to the Dental Board.
- The Texas Real Estate Commission can suspend or revoke Texas real estate licenses for criminal offenses. Texas realtors must notify the TREC within 30 days of any conviction.
Criminal convictions can also affect the licenses of pilots, teachers, realtors, doctors, and nurses.
Driver's License Suspension
If you're a small business owner, losing the ability to drive even for 90 days can also impact your business. If you rely on your transportation to visit clients, deliver to customers, obtain products and supplies, or even just get to work every day, losing your license, even for a short time, could be an enormous burden. A license suspension may make it difficult to keep up with your day-to-day tasks and threaten your ability to keep your doors open.
When the police arrest you for DWI, they will take your license and give you a pink sheet that will serve as a temporary license for 40 days. After the 40 days expire, the state will automatically suspend your license, pending the results of your DWI case. You can request an Administrative Licensing Revocation (ALR) hearing within 15 days. If you do so, you can keep driving the court decides your ALR hearing. The purpose of an ALR hearing is to determine whether the state should suspend your license. This proceeding is a separate matter from your DWI trial. An attorney can help you file an ALR hearing request to contest the charges.
Loss of Future Investments
With a criminal record, it can become much more challenging to obtain a personal or business loan. Even getting a personal mortgage or other secured loans can become more difficult. Losing the ability to obtain a small business loan can be devastating for your business. Consider how many small businesses have relied on loans to get through the Coronavirus pandemic. For instance, people who have been convicted of a felony, sentenced to probation, or even entered into pretrial diversion in the last five years were declared ineligible for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program under the Cares Act. There is also a suggestion from the SBA that if a person was previously arrested within 10 years of applying for an Economy Injury Disaster Loans is ineligible.
Lost Work Time
The possible penalties for a first DWI include a minimum of 72 hours in jail. For subsequent convictions, the possible jail time increases. DWI convictions can also negatively impact your daily work routine. You can lose time from work for jail time, court appearances, probation, community service, and a license suspension. These factors can disrupt your workflow and force you to rely on others to run your business.
Increased Business Costs
A criminal conviction for DWI will dramatically increase your car insurance, and it may also affect your professional liability insurance, general commercial liability insurance, and commercial auto insurance. If driving is essential to your business, you will also face increased costs if you can no longer drive.
How Can a DWI Attorney Protect Your Business?
As a small business owner, hiring an experienced DWI defense attorney is the most important step you can take to protect your business after a DWI arrest. You need an attorney that won't push you to simply plead guilty and move on. You need an attorney who understands the impact a DWI conviction will have on you and your small business. You also need an attorney who will represent you in all matters related to your DWI defense, not just your DWI trial.
Represent You in an ALR Hearing
You may be able to avoid a driver's license suspension if you timely request an Administrative Legal Hearing within 15 days. The ALR hearing is a formal legal proceeding that follows the rules of evidence and the procedural rules of Texas courts. You need an experienced DWI attorney to properly request the hearing and deftly guide you through the process to save your driver's license and marshal the evidence to obtain valuable testimony under oath.
Not only is the matter important for you to retain your driver's license, but an ALR hearing can also reveal the evidence that the state intends to use at trial, including evidence relating to your failure or refusal to take a blood test. During the hearing, your attorney can also lock the state's witnesses into their testimony, preventing them from later changing stories at trial.
Not all Houston-area DWI attorneys will represent you in an ALR hearing. Many of them will only represent you at in criminal court. However, Doug Murphy zealously defends clients in ALR hearings and sees them as an important sneak-peek into the weaknesses of the state's evidence and witnesses against you.
Represent You in Your DWI Trial
An experienced DWI attorney can also aggressively defend you at trial with a deep well of knowledge regarding the law, the rules of evidence, and the BAC technology often relied upon by the state to prove their case. An experienced attorney will know how to challenge:
- Reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop that led to your DWI arrest;
- Probable cause for the arrest or the BAC tests, including how the officer conducted any field sobriety tests;
- Probable cause for a blood test warrant;
- The accuracy of the blood or breathalyzer test results;
- Inconsistencies between the police report, police dashcam or body camera footage, the arresting officer's testimony, and any witness testimony from the ALR hearing;
- Failure to give you a Miranda warning, informing you that you had the right to speak to a lawyer and to remain silent; and
- Any violations of your constitutional rights.
An experienced DWI defense attorney can review your case, give you your options for a defense, and help determine the best course of action to aggressively defend your case.
Help You Refocus on Your Business
The best Texas attorneys will prepare your defense and handle the heavy lifting so you can focus on your business. They can work to reduce your fines and jail time and get your life back on track. They can also file the necessary paperwork to the court, such as applying for an occupational driver’s license. These licenses allow you to operate a non-commercial motor vehicle for work. Your attorney can help you make the necessary arrangements for this license so you can resume driving at work.
Don't let a DWI charge put your business at risk. Hiring the right attorney can make all the difference in your case. A DWI specialist has the tools and skills necessary to fight your charges, advocate on your behalf, and increase your chances of winning your DWI case.
Your Texas DWI Specialist Lawyer
Attorney Doug Murphy is Board Certified in DWI defense by the National College for DUI Defense and is one of only two attorneys in Texas Board Certified in both criminal law and DWI defense. Best Lawyers in America also recently named Doug the “Lawyer of the Year” for 2021 in DWI defense based on the peer reviews of fellow Houston-area attorneys.
Doug Murphy has achieved many favorable results in his career. He has personally defended over 4,000 criminal charges, and many of them have resulted in dismissals, charge reductions, and not guilty verdicts. His incredible track record makes him one of the preeminent experts on DWI and criminal law in the country.
Don't settle for anything less than the best. With such high stakes, you must use an expert lawyer with experience in all kinds of cases. Doug Murphy has more than 20 years of courtroom experience fighting for clients from all walks of life. He can help you protect your business, finances, and freedom during this difficult time. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C., to schedule a free consultation today.