DWI Charges are Serious and Can Affect Your Career. Call the Attorneys at Griffin Miers, LLP to Begin Your Defense.
DWI CAN AFFECT YOUR MEDICAL CAREER
Those in the medical and health care fields, for better or worse, are held to a higher ethical and professional standard by the community. They are also trusted individuals whom we rely on for our health and well-being. When a medical professional is accused of committing a crime, it can be incredibly embarrassing and the need for quality representation increases.
If you are in the medical profession, then you may understand how this may feel. The 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 Griffin Miers, LLP today. 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?
Doctors are required to be honest and transparent. This professional requirement means that not only are DWI convictions required to be reported to the Texas Medical Board, but DWI arrests must also be reported to the Board as well.
The prosecution could subsequently drop any and all charges against you, or you could be acquitted at trial with the help of a DWI defense lawyer, but the arrest still has to be reported. A DWI attorney can advocate on your behalf before the medical licensing board.
WHAT DOES THE TEXAS MEDICAL BOARD DO AFTER A DWI ARREST?
A first-time DWI arrest alone is not likely to subject your medical license to suspension or revocation, but it will initiate an 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 (theft, fraud, and the like). 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. Mitch Miers will not hesitate to take your case to trial. Sometimes your career depends on it.
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 your employment. Texas has very loose restrictions on termination of an employee. 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, and, frankly, the bottom line. 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 not make a statement to the police. A statement should only be made 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. Contact Griffin Miers, LLP online or at (817) 585-8888.