Will a Drinking and Driving Verdict Prevent You from Getting Your License?
It’s often a simple mistake. You stop for a drink with friends after work or you go to a party in your off-duty hours. You don’t think you’ve had too much to drink, but you get stopped on your way home. The police officer asks you to submit to a blood alcohol test and the results put you above the legal limit. If you’re already a practicing nurse at the time, will a charge and/or conviction for driving while impaired or intoxicated put your license in jeopardy? If you are training to work as a nurse, will a guilty verdict in a DWI case put an end to your career ambitions?
The Impact of a DWI Conviction on a Nursing Career
While a single conviction for driving while impaired or driving under the influence will not necessarily disqualify you from pursuing a career as a nurse in Texas, the mere fact that you’ve been stopped and charged won’t automatically prevent you from practicing as a nurse. The Texas Board of Nursing, which has oversight of all licensing and license renewals for nurses in Texas, does have the power, however, to revoke or suspend a license for any conduct that violates a nurse’s ethical duties under the Texas Nursing Practice Act. Any criminal conduct, from an arrest to a conviction, can be the basis of an ethics investigation by the Board of Nursing. Based on the findings of such an investigation, a nurse may have his or her license suspended or revoked.
As a general rule, a nursing license is rarely suspended as a consequence of a traffic stop or detention for drinking and driving. The likelihood increases if a nurse is subsequently convicted of drunk driving. If the conviction involves a felony charge, it’s almost a certainty that your nursing license will be suspended or revoked.
Having a prior DWI conviction on your criminal record will not automatically render you unfit to practice as a nurse, but potential employers will generally have access to the information and can use it when making hiring decisions.
Does a Nurse Have to Report an Arrest or Conviction for Drinking and Driving?
When a nurse is pulled over and arrested for driving while impaired or intoxicated, and the charge is a misdemeanor, there is no requirement to report the arrest to the Texas Nursing Board. However, when arrested and charged with felony DWI, a nurse must report the incident, even if there has been no conviction. All drunk driving convictions must be disclosed to the state nursing board.
The most important thing, then, when you’ve been charged with a DWI, is to avoid a conviction. You want an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you minimize the consequences.
Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the impact a criminal charge or conviction can have on a professional career. If you are a nurse or want to train as a nurse, and have been charged or convicted of drinking and driving, we can help. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven and effective criminal defense lawyer, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.