How DUI/DWI Affects A Professional License
In addition to being aware of possible criminal penalties, knowing how DUI/DWI affects a professional license is important to people who drive for a living. The consequences can have far-reaching impacts beyond the other types of penalties a driver may face. DUI cases are for those under 21 and have different rules than DWIs in Texas. A DWI conviction can have a much more significant impact on a person's life, and the experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Jason English Law work to protect the rights of individuals charged with DWI. If you or a loved one is facing these charges, consider calling (512) 454-7548 to schedule a confidential consultation.
DWI Penalties in Texas
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the possible criminal penalties of a conviction of DWI in Texas are:
- First offense—Up to 180 days in jail, up to a $2,000 fine, loss of driving privileges up to one year
- Second offense—Up to one year in jail, up to a $4,000 fine, loss of driving privileges up to two years
- Third or subsequent offense—Up to ten years in jail, up to a $10,000 fine, loss of driving privileges up to two years
If the driver had a child passenger in the vehicle or if someone was killed in an accident caused by drunk driving, additional penalties can apply. These fines do not include a state fine of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 assessed upon sentencing.
Other Potential Consequences of DWI
A driver can face other potential consequences if he or she is charged with or convicted of DWI in the state of Texas, such as:
- Loss of a job—Texas is an at-will employment state. Therefore, employers can generally terminate employees for any reason, including if the employee is convicted of a criminal offense like DWI.
- Child custody consequences—Texas family courts can consider a parent's drunkenness or substance abuse problems when making decisions about visitation or child custody.
- Financial hardship—A DWI conviction may subject a driver to certain economic consequences in addition to fines, such as rehabilitation, increased insurance rates, or ignition interlock devices and maintenance.
- Damaged reputation—People often negatively perceive individuals with DWI convictions, which can damage their reputations with coworkers, friends, and family.
- Professional consequences—Being convicted of DWI can detrimental effects on a person's professional license and his or her ability to find new employment.
Requirements Under Professional Licensing Boards
Professional licensing boards act distinctly from criminal courts. They may have stricter limits on the people they license than the law does. Therefore, even if a person is not convicted of DWI, he or she may still face potential consequences related to a professional license. Each professional licensing board has its own unique requirements and rules as governed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Possible requirements may include:
- Reporting any criminal charge within a certain period of time
- Reporting any criminal conviction immediately
- Reporting problems with drugs or alcohol
- Reporting entry into a diversion or drug or alcohol program
Professions Governed by Professional Licensing Boards
Many professionals are governed by state, local, or federal licensing boards or agency regulations, such as:
- Commercial drivers, pilots, or conductors
- Medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, chiropractors, pharmacists, and dentists
- Real estate agents
- Police officers
- Government employees
Possible Consequences of DWI with a Professional Licensing Board
A DWI charge or conviction may result in professional sanctions from the licensing board, such as:
- A warning letter
- Citation or censure
- Mandatory rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment, or substance abuse education
- Mandatory drug or alcohol testing
- Limited professional duties
- Suspension from work for a certain period of time
- Practice monitoring
- Restrictions on how and when the professional license can be used
- Permanent ban on the professional license
- Non-renewal of a professional license
The Board Conducts Its Own Investigation
There may be an independent investigation into the matter to determine what disciplinary action, if any, is necessary. The decisions made by the boards are often subjective and discretionary. The licensing board typically considers various factors when making these decisions, such as:
- Prior criminal history
- Prior disciplinary actions
- A pattern of substance or alcohol abuse
- Rehabilitation efforts
- How long the professional has been licensed
- Whether the professional has made restitution
- The possible financial hardship the penalty might cause
- The damage that the professional caused to property or others
- The possible effect the penalty may have in deterring similar conduct in the future
- The extent of the drug or alcohol problem
What To Do If Your Professional License Is at Risk
If you are facing DWI charges and your professional license is at risk, there are a few important steps that you can take to protect yourself and your livelihood, including:
- Take action—Do not think that these problems will just disappear on their own. Take the criminal case seriously. The professional license issue will be handled separately, but you may be subject to strict reporting time limits.
- Contact a knowledgeable professional license lawyer—A lawyer from Jason English Law can review the requirements of the professional licensing board and advise you on the next steps to take. Additionally, a lawyer will know how to report only the necessary information and how to present it correctly to the board.
- Seek help—If drugs or alcohol are a problem, taking a proactive approach can help to demonstrate that you are working to remedy the issue.
Contact Jason English Law for More Information
If you are a professional who has been charged with DWI, a knowledgeable lawyer can discuss how DUI/DWI affects a professional license, whether your profession is subject to possible sanctions by a licensing board for DWI, and the steps you can take to minimize the impact the DWI will have on your life. Take swift action to avoid jeopardizing the professional license that you worked so hard to obtain. Consider contacting Jason English Law at (512) 454-7548 to schedule a confidential case consultation to review your case and learn how we can help.