Medical professionals are held to a higher ethical and professional standard by the community, more so than other members of the community. They are respected for their knowledge and their skills. They are also trusted individuals whom we rely on for our health and wellbeing. When a medical professional is accused of committing a crime, it can be incredibly embarrassing.
If you are in the medical profession, then you may understand exactly this may feel. But this high regard is not only held by the community, but by the medical industry itself. That's why Medical Boards are established: to enforce high standards of ethics and professionalism, anything less would subject your medical license to suspension or revocation.
If you have been charged with a DWI or DWI-related crime, you should contact a Board-certified DWI and Board-certified criminal defense attorney immediately. The community expects more from you; they believe because you are in the medical or healthcare profession, you are held to a higher standard. People forget you are human and you commit mistakes. You need the State of Texas Medical Board, however, does not forget -- and in some cases forgive -- mistakes.
The Texas Medical Board is concerned with how your DWI arrest reflects on the industry and its reputation. They take a DWI arrest and potential conviction seriously. If you are in the medical field and have been arrested for DWI, contact Doug Murphy Law Firm today. Doug Murphy is Board-certified in DWI and Board-certified in criminal defense, a combination hard to find in Texas: as of the date of this writing, there is only one other attorney with this distinction in the whole State of Texas; the distinction carries with it the experience and insight necessary to fight your DWI and protect your medical license. It is a matter of your reputation and your career, not just a matter of staying out of prison.
Do you need to report your DWI to the Texas Medical Board?
In the State of Texas, doctors are required to be honest and “transparent.” This requirement means that not only are DWI convictions required to be reported to the Texas Medical Board, but DWI arrests must also be reported.
The prosecution could subsequently drop any and all charges against you, or you could be acquitted at trial with the help of a Board-certified DWI and criminal defense lawyer, but you still must report the DWI arrest. You need the help of Board Certified DWI Lawyer Doug Murphy who has the experience in successfully representing countless physicians before the State of Texas Medical Board. Doug Murphy can assist you in navigating the disclosure and investigation process.
An experienced attorney can advocate on your behalf not just before the State or even a judge and jury, but before the medical licensing board. Doug Murphy understands the disciplinary process and the concerns that Medical Boards have. He will help you maintain the status of your medical license while sensitively but persistently working towards a successful outcome.
What does the Texas Medical Board do after a DWI arrest?
A first-time DWI arrest alone will not subject your medical license to suspension or revocation, but it will initiate an independent investigation by the Medical Board. According to the Medical Practice Act, licensing boards lack jurisdiction to penalize you for a DWI offense on its own if it is not a felony (first-time DWIs are misdemeanors) or not a crime of moral turpitude. Under the same Act, licensing boards must investigate to determine if there is a relationship between the DWI and the doctor's conduct at work.
The object of the investigation is to determine if any of the following were involved simultaneously with the DWI:
- Unprofessional conduct, which includes abuse of alcohol or drugs;
- Endangerment of a patient's life;
- Drug or alcohol addiction; or
- Impairment to the extent duties as a medical professional/doctor could not have been performed.
Upon the findings of the investigation, the Medical Board will determine if the doctor should be disciplined or if his or her medical license should be restricted, suspended, or revoked.
To note: if the DWI arrest results in conviction and that DWI conviction is preceded by prior DWI arrests or convictions, or if the current DWI conviction is a felony, (i.e., DWI with a child, intoxication manslaughter, intoxication assault) then the licensing board has the authority to “refuse to admit a person to its examination or refuse to issue a license to practice medicine and may take disciplinary action against a person” without determining if unprofessional conduct was involved.
As noted above, a dismissal of the DWI charge or acquittal by a jury can effectively halt an investigation by the Medical Board. Doug Murphy is not the kind of DWI attorney who settles with the State; a settlement of which will still leave you with a criminal record. He prepares each case for trial from the very beginning, building a strategic defense based on fact and legal argument. His first aim is a dismissal of the charges. If charges are not dismissed, he goes to trial. The State, on the other hand, prefers to settle: it reduces costs and the time necessary for the prosecution to spend on individual cases. Doug Murphy incorporates the latter to his advantage and ultimately to your benefit.
What evidence must you provide to the Medical Board to prevent disciplinary action?
If the Medical Board pursues an investigation, they will want documents and other evidence from you. An experienced DWI attorney who represents professionals in the medical and healthcare industry knows exactly what evidence this is and how to best present it to the licensing board.
Examples of evidence include:
- A personal statement about what happened;
- Letters of support from the community;
- Letters of support from family;
- Letters of support from colleagues and supervisors in the medical and healthcare profession;
- Evidence of high personal character, including awards, community service; and/or
- Possibly a medical examination to prove the absence of substance abuse or addiction.
An experienced attorney will help you with the collection of this evidence and will also incorporate findings from any investigation conducted by the attorney's office. Your attorney -- if experienced and supported by insight -- understands the unique differences in representing you before the prosecution's office and the Medical Board; the two are not the same and should be handled accordingly. You should place your career and reputation in the care of proven experience.
Possible Consequences of a Medical Board Decision
In addition to facing (1) criminal penalties that include jail time and steep fines; and (2) administrative penalties that include license suspension, you could face penalties from a Medical Board's decision.
During the investigation, the Medical Board panel will schedule an informal settlement conference. If you are able to show that the DWI was an isolated incident and a genuine mistake or misunderstanding, then the investigation could be dismissed without disciplinary action. On the other hand, if you fail to prove your case and the panel subsequently infers a habitual behavior pattern, disciplinary action could be recommended and taken. A disciplinary order could include any of the following requirements, among others:
- Blood alcohol testing
- Substance abuse classes or treatment
- Alcohol education programs
- Psychological evaluations
- License restriction, suspension, or revocation.
The Medical Board's decision will be based on its investigation and not necessarily based on what happens in the criminal proceeding. But as a reminder: the investigation will most likely be prevented if charges are dismissed or a jury returns an acquittal verdict.
Medical Industry Employers & DWIs
One thing to keep in mind is that even if your medical license is not affected, your employer still has the right to terminate -- at will -- your employment. A DWI conviction can highly influence such a decision. It may not always be a matter about you, but also about keeping its own reputation with the public in good standing. Your criminal record is a possible liability or risk for your employer.
What to do if you are arrested for DWI?
If you have a medical license and are arrested for a DWI or DWI-related offense, you should refrain from making a statement to the police. You should only do so under the direction and advice of your attorney. Any statement you make can negatively impact your medical license and your career.
It is your constitutional right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during any interrogation. Even when faced with police intimidation or badgering, you should insist on your rights to remain silent and to be represented by an attorney.
Likewise, you should not mention or discuss your DWI with any coworkers, colleagues, or licensing board member without first consulting an attorney. What you say to your coworkers or colleagues can become part of the Medical Board's investigation.
Contact a DWI Attorney Immediately to Prevent Losing Your Medical License
If you are a doctor or other medical professional in Texas, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced DWI attorney who has specific experience on this subject. Reputable DWI and criminal defense attorney Doug Murphy has the experience, the knowledge, and the resources to address your DWI charge and to prevent it from negatively impacting your career. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or by phone at (713) 229-8333.