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How a DWI Affects Your Texas Medical License

Updated: Feb 14, 2023 @ 7:10 pm

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Texas professionals often need a license to practice their job. This is certainly true of doctors, who are licensed by the state’s Medical Board. Did you know that a DWI conviction can jeopardize your professional license, making it harder to earn a living?
That’s the truth. This is one reason to fight DWI charges as vigorously as possible. Tad Nelson & Associates can help you protect your reputation and your hard-earned medical license.

You Need to Report Your Arrest to the Medical Board

The Texas Medical Board has high ethical standards for doctors. These standards require more than competent care. They also require that you be transparent about any criminal charges against you.

This means you should report both a DWI conviction but also an arrest. If you fail to—and the Medical Board finds out—you could be in trouble.

Your Arrest Can Trigger an Investigation

The good news is that a first-time DWI probably won’t result in an automatic suspension of your medical license. Under Texas law, the licensing board cannot penalize you for a misdemeanor, which is what most first-time DWIs are.

However, the Medical Board will probably initiate an investigation. Principally, they are looking to see a connection between the DWI and your work as a doctor. For example, if you are struggling with alcoholism, that could spill over into your practice.

The Medical Board wants to find out whether you have endangered any patients or provided substandard care because of alcohol or drug use. Depending on what the Medical Board finds, they might take disciplinary action.

A Prior Arrest Can Lead to Discipline

The Medical Board does have power to discipline you if:

  • You have prior DWI arrests or convictions, even if they are misdemeanors
  • Your arrest was for a felony DWI (such as having a high BAC)

The Medical Board can discipline you, or suspend, restrict, or revoke your license to practice medicine in Texas.

You Have a Chance to Keep Your License

As part of its investigation, the Medical Board will probably request that you provide certain evidence, such as:

  • A statement describing the circumstances surrounding your arrest
  • Letters from your family and friends in the community
  • Letters from colleagues or supervisors in the medical profession

You might also be asked to take a medical exam so the Medical Board can determine whether you have a substance addiction.

You will probably attend an informal settlement conference to discuss your case. This is your chance to prove that this was a one-time mistake that doesn’t reflect poor performance as a doctor. If successful, the Board might dismiss your case without taking any action.

However, if you fail to convince them that this was a one-off crime, they can move to consider license restrictions or even suspension/revocation. They might also require that you attend alcohol education programs, a psychological evaluation, or substance abuse treatment.

Texas Professionals Need Competent Legal Representation

Doctors and other professionals have more at stake in the criminal justice process. In addition to your liberty, you could lose your license and suffer reputational harm. Contact one of our DWI lawyers today to find out how to tackle your case.

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the TBLS.

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