Being convicted for driving while intoxicated is always a stressful experience. You may be forced to pay large fines, do community service, participate in a court-ordered program, and even face incarceration. However, if you are a healthcare professional you may also be in danger of having your licensed suspended or revoked.
The State Board of Medical Examiners oversees the licensing and actions of healthcare professionals in Texas. Occupations such as physicians, acupuncturists, and surgical assistants are all managed by the Texas Medical Board. In addition to managing the licensing process, the Medical Board also determines the career-related consequences for healthcare professionals who have been charged with a crime.
If you’ve been charged or convicted of a DWI, it’s important you act now. The Texas Medical Practice Act states that a healthcare professional can have their license suspended or revoked if they’ve been convicted of a crime that relates to their profession. Do what’s best for your career and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today.
DWI Attorney for Healthcare Professionals in Harris County, Texas
Unfortunately, being convicted of a DWI can bring more than just statutory penalties. If you are a healthcare professional such as a physician, you may be in danger of losing your license. The Texas Medical Board has the right to suspend or revoke the license of any healthcare professional who was convicted of a crime.
If you are under investigation for a DWI, call Matthew Horak at Horak Law. He’s been practicing criminal law in Texas for years and fully understands the full scope of the potential consequences you could face. Matthew Horak can collect evidence, attend board proceedings, and advocate for you in court.
Call today at (713) 225-8000 for a free consultation today. Horak Law practices law throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area and surrounding communities including Houston Heights, Magnolia Park, Greenspoint, Brays Oaks, Meyerland, and River Oaks.
Overview of DWI Conviction for HealthCare Professionals
- Types of Jobs Under the Texas Medical Board
- DWI Consequences for Healthcare Professionals
- Aggravating Factors for DWI Convictions
- Disciplinary Proceedings by the Texas Board of Medical Examiners
- Additional Resources
Professions Under the Texas Medical Board
The Texas Board of Medical Examiners is a large licensing agency that covers the majority of healthcare occupations. The Board handles disciplinary actions for medical professionals convicted of crimes, such as DWI. The following are some professions that are regulated by the Texas Medical Board.
- Provisional license physicians;
- Faculty temporary licenses;
- Out-of-state telemedicine licenses;
- Public health licenses;
- Conceded eminence licenses;
- Military limited volunteer license;
- Administrative medical licenses;
- Physician assistant;
- Medical radiologic technologist;
- Acudetox specialist;
- Surgical assistant;
- Medical physicists;
- Respiratory care practitioner; and
- Non-profit health organizations.
DWI Consequences for Healthcare Professionals in Texas
The Texas Medical Board uses both the Occupational Code and board rules to determine the consequences for health care professionals convicted of a DWI. Board rule §190.8 states that if a health care professional is indicted or convicted for any of the following, he or she may have their license suspended or revoked.
- Any felony offense;
- Any misdemeanor that involves moral turpitude;
- A crime involving substance abuse or diversion; or
- Any felony or misdemeanor that directly relates to the duties of the occupation.
A misdemeanor involving moral turpitude can be found in the Texas Administrative Code. The list does include driving under the influence. Another factor that defines a misdemeanor with moral turpitude is if the action negatively reflects the licensed professional’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice. If a healthcare professional is indicted or convicted of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, they’re likely to be reviewed by the Texas Medical Board.
Not every DWI case is the same. One DWI conviction may be deemed inapplicable to the Medical Board rules and won’t require disciplinary proceedings. Another DWI could be serious enough to result in a license revocation. Since determining consequences may be confusing, the Medical Board set forth factors that determine whether an offense directly relates to a health care profession or not. The following are those factors:
- The crime arose out of the practice of medicine;
- The DWI occurred around or at the practice location of the physician;
- The offense involved a patient or former patient;
- Another health care professional whom the physician has had a professional relationship with is involved in the DWI;
- The crime involved the use, sale, or distribution of any dangerous drug or controlled substance; or
- If billing or any financial agreement regarding medical service was involved in the crime.
Aggravating Factors for Texas Medical Board Disciplinary Proceedings
If aggravating factors are present in an disciplinary action, the board may impose more severe or restrictive consequences. The burden of presenting proof for these aggravating factors are on the board. The following are aggravating factors that may affect one’s disciplinary proceedings.
- One or more patients were harmed;
- The seriousness of the patient’s injury or harm;
- One or more Texas Administrative Code violations occurred and involved more than one patient;
- Economic harm to any person or entity occurred;
- The public could be exposed to more harm;
- If the physician attempted to conceal the act or violation;
- The act was premeditated, intentional, knowing, or grossly negligent;
- The physician has prior violations of a similar nature;
- The physician has had previous disciplinary actions by the board or any other healthcare entity;
- The crime was a violation of a board order; or
- Any other relevant circumstances that increase the severity of the crime.
Texas Medical Board Hearings for a DWI Conviction
Physicians or other healthcare professionals who have been convicted of a DWI may be asked to appear in a board hearing. At the hearing the board will discuss your DWI conviction and determine if it warrants disciplinary action. A panel of board representatives will schedule a hearing at the earliest practicable time and give the licensee at least a 10-day notice.
The board panel will be composed of two members of the board or the District Review Committee. One of the members must be a physician and the other must be a public member. At the hearing, the board will have an opportunity to hear the details of the DWI, allegations, and the licensee’s defense.
Disciplinary action proceedings by the Texas Medical Board can be overwhelming. In addition, you may have to face multiple hearings for your initial and final convictions. It’s important that you are prepared to fight your charges. Hiring an attorney can significantly increase your chances of reducing or avoiding disciplinary actions.
Statutory Penalties for a DWI
The career-related consequences for a DWI are reason enough to hire an attorney. In addition to disciplinary action by the Texas Medical Board, you may have to face statutory penalties. The following chart states the possible penalties for those convicted of driving while impaired.
Number of Offenses:
Class B Misdemeanor
Minimum of 72 hours in jail; maximum of 180 days in jail
Class A Misdemeanor
Minimum of 30 days in jail; maximum of 12 months in jail.
Minimum of 2 years in prison; maximum of 10 years in prison.
Most DWI convictions have added legal conditions that aren’t included in Texas Statutes. The following are some potential consequences you may face alongside statutory penalties.
- Required community service;
- A drug and alcohol evaluation;
- If needed, completion of a court-ordered program;
- Installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of time; and
- Yearly surcharges by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Texas Medical Board Rules – Visit the official website for the Texas Secretary of State and gain access to the Texas Administrative Code. Find more information surrounding the Texas Medical Board rules, disciplinary guidelines, disciplinary proceedings, and other penalties.
Texas Board of Medical Examiners – Visit the official website for the Texas Medical Board. Find more information surrounding healthcare licensing, current legislative updates related to healthcare, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Lawyer for Doctors with DWI Conviction in Houston, Texas
If you or someone you know is a licensed healthcare professional who’s been charged or convicted of DWI, it’s important that you start your defense today. You may be subject to statutory penalties in addition to a license suspension or revocation. Contact Matthew Horak at Horak Law for an experienced criminal defense attorney today.
Attorney Matthew Horak is skilled at criminal defense in the Texas courts. He wants to do everything in his power to protect your freedom and livelihood. Call today at (713) 225-8000 to schedule a free consultation today.
Horak Law practices law throughout the greater Harris County area and surrounding counties including Waller County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, and Montgomery County.
This article was last updated on November 27, 2018.