No one looks forward to a conviction for driving while intoxicated. Obviously, potential jail time or fines are the first penalties that come to mind. However, these are not the only consequences for a DWI conviction. A conviction could also wreak havoc on your reputation and your personal life. Out of all the potential consequences, the impact on your job could be the most significant.
While a DWI conviction has never helped anyone during their career, some professions face steeper consequences than others. In some cases, a DWI conviction could cost you your job or even your professional license.
While it is important to understand these consequences, it is worth noting that avoiding a criminal conviction could help you avoid most issues. A conviction might feel inevitable after a DWI arrest, but a seasoned defense attorney could help you fight the charges you are facing. To discuss your case with an experienced Houston DWI defense lawyer, contact attorney Doug Murphy right away.
Houston Jobs Impacted by a DWI Conviction
Certain professions in Houston and throughout Texas have strict consequences following a DWI conviction. While there are too many of these professions to discuss individually, here are some of the most common examples.
Each school district across the state has its own code of conduct for its teachers. However, it is commonplace for a criminal conviction to cost a teacher their job. DWIs are no exception, which was the case with this Carrollton teacher. By prevailing at your trial, you could avoid the conviction and any potential firing that might come with it.
Facing termination from your teaching job is not the only way a DWI could affect you. A DWI conviction is a violation of the Texas Educator Code of Ethics and could result in the loss of your teaching license. While a DWI conviction might not lead to the loss of a teaching license, there is no guarantee you will avoid any disruption in your ability to teach.
Real Estate Agents
Unlike teachers, many real estate agents in Texas are self-employed. When that is the case, there is obviously no risk of losing your job. That said, the damage a conviction could do to your reputation could make it difficult to hold on to your quiet base. For any real estate agents that are a part of a team, there is no guarantee that a DWI arrest will not lead to their firing.
Real estate agents also have professional licenses that could be impacted by a DWI conviction. The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) is in charge of overseeing the real estate license process. Part of the TREC's process is to evaluate each applicant or licensed agent on their moral character.
The moral character determination is based on a number of factors, including unpaid civil judgments, a history or selling without a license, and any criminal history. The TREC has discussed openly their preference to treat each case with leniency. However, felony convictions or the failure to report a conviction could have disastrous consequences.
Just like with real estate agents and teachers, nurses also face professional licensing requirements. The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) is tasked with regulating nursing licenses in Texas. The BON formulates the standards that apply to nursing within the state. These standards apply to every level of the nurse, from vocational nurses to nurse practitioners.
If you are convicted of a DWI charge, you are required to notify the BON. From there, the BON will independently investigate the incident. This is done not to confirm if you are guilty of a crime, but whether or not you violated the Nursing Practices Act.
Not every criminal conviction will result in a violation of the Act. Typically, you will only face discipline if convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor that relates directly to the nursing profession. This standard is broad, however. If the BON determines your DWI arrest was related to chemical dependency or other conduct that could harm a patient.
If the BON determines you violated the Act, there is a variety of consequences you could face. These include the revocation or suspension of your nursing license, restrictions on your ability to practice, or mandatory alcohol treatment.
Nurses are not the only members of the medical field that are at increased risk from a DWI conviction. Doctors also face strict licensing requirements and could experience career setbacks from a DWI conviction.
Following a DWI arrest, a doctor's duty is clear. While many professions only mandate that a person report a conviction, doctors must report both DWI arrests and convictions.
These reports should be addressed to the Texas Medical Board (TMB). As the entity charged with governing licensure of Texas doctors, any potential discipline would come from the TMB. After an arrest, a first-time DWI offender will not face automatic revocation of their license. Instead, the TMB will initiate an investigation to determine if any of the following factors were involved in your DWI case:
- Unprofessional conduct, which includes abuse of alcohol or drugs;
- Endangerment of a patient's life;
- Drug or alcohol addiction; or
- Impairment to the extent of duties as a medical professional/doctor could not have been performed.
Should the TMB determine any of these factors was involved in your DWI case, your ability to practice medicine could be in jeopardy. Even when the revocation of your license is not on the table, other consequences include mandatory alcohol testing, substance abuse education programs, psychological evaluations, and restrictions on your license.
Speak with a Houston DWI Defense Lawyer Right Away
No matter your profession, it could be in your best interest to discuss any DWI arrest with a Houston defense attorney. Your attorney could advise you on your defense options and assist you with the best advice from the day you arrested for DWI to the date of your trial.
Attorney Doug Murphy has built a career out of defending people from all walks of life in DWI proceedings. With his help, you could avoid a conviction entirely. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. to schedule your free consultation.