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Nurses and Healthcare Professionals

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious criminal offense under Texas law. While it’s normally a victimless crime, the consequences can have quite an impact on your life. Especially if you’re working in the healthcare profession. The State Board of Medical Examiners can impose disciplinary action if you’re criminally charged with DWI.

The Texas Board of Medical Examiners oversees the licensing surrounding healthcare professionals. A variety of medical-related fields are licensed by the Texas Medical Board including nurses, physicians, acupuncturists and surgical assistants. If you’re convicted of a DWI, the board could possibly have your license suspended or even revoked.

Attorney for Doctors and Nurses in Houston, Texas

Are you licensed by the Texas Medical Board and have recently been charged or convicted of DWI? If so, it’s imperative you obtain legal representation as soon as possible. You won’t only be saddled with criminal penalties, but your career could be at risk.

Call the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. for quality legal counsel. Our attorneys have years of experience defending people accused of DWI. We can assess your charges to implement a strong defense plan. Don’t agonize over this for another moment. Contact us today at (713) 224-5529 for a case evaluation.

Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the Houston area and surrounding communities including Pasadena, Magnolia Park, River Oaks and Bellaire.

Overview of Healthcare Professionals with DWI


Careers Licensed by the Texas Medical Board

The Texas Board of Medical Examiners manages the licensing for the majority of healthcare occupations. The board also handles disciplinary proceedings for medical professionals with a criminal history. Listed below are some professions regulated by the Texas Medical Board.

  • Physicians;
  • Provisional license physicians;
  • Faculty temporary licenses;
  • Acupuncturists;
  • Out-of-state telemedicine licenses;
  • Public health licenses;
  • Conceded eminence licenses;
  • Military limited volunteer license;
  • Administrative medical licenses;
  • Physician assistant;
  • Respiratory care practitioner; and
  • Non-profit health organizations.
  • Medical radiologic technologist;
  • Acudetox specialist;
  • Surgical assistant;
  • Medical physicists; and
  • Perfusionists

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DWI Consequences for Nurses and Doctors in Texas

Disciplinary proceedings by the Texas Medical Board are regulated by the Occupational Code and the rules of the board. Board Rule §190.8 states you could have your license suspended or revoked if you were indicted or convicted for any of the following:

  • A felony crime;
  • A misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;
  • A crime involving diversion or substance abuse;
  • A felony or misdemeanor which directly relates to the duties of your profession

You can find misdemeanors involving moral turpitude in the Texas Administrative Code. Fortunately, driving while intoxicated isn’t listed as a misdemeanor with moral turpitude. However, a crime could also be considered to have moral turpitude if it negatively reflects your honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice.

Not every DWI case is evaluated in the same way. Some licensed healthcare professionals retain their license after a DWI conviction because the board believes the crime didn’t reflect the person’s career. In other cases, the board might consider a DWI conviction grounds enough for suspension or revocation because it negatively affects the healthcare profession.

The Texas Medical Board reviews the following factors to determine if a DWI requires disciplinary action.

  • The offense arose out of the medicine practice;
  • You were arrested on or around your practice location;
  • The crime involved a patient or former patient;
  • The DWI involved another healthcare professional in which you have a professional relationship with;
  • There was use, sale or distribution of a controlled substance involved; or
  • If billing for your medical service was somehow involved in the DWI.

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Aggravating Factors for Medical Board Disciplinary Proceedings

If certain factors are present in your DWI, the board may impose harsher consequences. These are referred to as aggravating factors. The Texas Medical Board has the burden of proving the existence of aggravating factors in your DWI. Listed below are the aggravating factors set forth by the Texas Board of Medical Examiners.

  • A patient or patients were harmed during the DWI;
  • If there were injuries and how serious those injuries were;
  • How many times the board rules and Occupational Code were violated;
  • If any property damage happened and the extent of the economic harm;
  • You attempted to conceal the DWI from the board;
  • The DWI was premediated, knowing, intentional or came from gross negligence;
  • If you have a history of violating board or Occupational Code rules;
  • If the board has imposed disciplinary actions to you before; or
  • Any other relevant information that increases the severity of the crime

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Texas Medical Board Hearings for DWI

If you’re convicted of DWI, then you may be asked to attend a disciplinary board hearing by the Texas Medical Board. At the hearing the board will hear the evidence of your DWI and then deliberate if it warrants disciplinary action. You will be given at least a 10-day notice before board proceedings.

Your Medical Board hearing will be composed of two members of the board or the District Review Committee.  One of these members is required to be a physician and the other must be a public member. The board will be able to hear the details of your DWI, allegations and your defense as to why you should retain your license.

Disciplinary action proceedings by the Texas Medical Board can be complicated. You could be required to attend multiple hearings for your initial DWI charges and final conviction. It’s imperative you’re prepared before jumping into these hearing with quality legal representation.


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Criminal Penalties for DWI in Texas

It’s natural to be worried about your career if you have DWI charges. However, the criminal penalties also demand your attention. A DWI conviction can lead to serious consequences including fines and potential jail or prison time. The chart below lists the potential penalties of a DWI conviction in Texas.

Number of Offenses: Offense Level: Jail/Prison Time: Fine:

First Offense

Class B Misdemeanor Minimum of 72 hours in jail; maximum of 180 days in jail

$2,000

Second Offense

Class A Misdemeanor Minimum of 30 days in jail; maximum of 12 months in jail.

$4,000

Third Offense

Third-Degree Felony Minimum of 2 years in prison; maximum of 10 years in prison.

$10,000

DWI charges are unique because they usually come with additional conditions. The judge may also impose the following:

  • Up to 200 hours of community service;
  • License suspension for up to two years;
  • Completion of a DWI Education Course;
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device;
  • Alcohol and substance abuse evaluation;
  • Rehabilitation treatment;
  • Monthly meetings with community supervision officer;
  • Random drug and alcohol screenings; or
  • Annual surcharges of up to $2,000 by the Department of Public Safety

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Additional Resources

Texas Medical Board Rules – Visit the official website of the Texas Secretary of State to learn more about the Texas Administrative Code (TAC). Access the code to learn more about the Texas Medical Board rules, disciplinary guidelines and more.

Texas Board of Medical Examiners – Visit the official website of the Texas Medical Board to learn more about healthcare licensing, current healthcare legislative updates, and answers to frequently asked questions.


DWI Attorney for Doctors and Nurses in Houston

If you or someone you know is a licensed healthcare professional and struggling with DWI charges, then it’s imperative you contact an attorney today. You must start building your defense as soon as possible. A DWI conviction could jeopardize your professional license by the Texas Medical Board.

Contact Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. to speak to a skilled criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys will do everything in our power to protect your rights and livelihood. They have defended clients in disciplinary action proceedings and criminal court. Start your defense today with an attorney at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc..

Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the Harris County area and surrounding communities including Tomball, Bellaire, Houston and River Oaks.


This article was last updated on March 11th, 2019.

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