If you’ve been charged with drunk driving, you’re probably wondering how a Houston DWI will affect your job.
No matter your career, a DWI can interfere with your ability to work because you will be unable to legally drive for some time. For some professions that require a professional license, like doctors and nurses, the state board may consider a DWI as grounds to revoke or suspend your license. Finally, once you have a DWI on your publicly available criminal record, potential employers may be unwilling to hire you for a new job.
Owing to the harsh consequences of a DWI, you should take every measure possible to avoid a conviction. Many people focus only on the relatively lenient fines and limited jail time of a DWI. But the true cost of the DWI is its effect on your career and reputation.
At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we have a proven track record of obtaining DWI dismissals and acquittals, as well as minimizing the impact on our clients’ lives. If you have been charged with drunk or drugged driving in Houston, contact us today at (713) 222-6767 for a free evaluation.
DWI Repercussions Can Start with Your Arrest
If a police officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving in a state of impairment, they will arrest you for DWI. Before booking you in jail, they will ask you to submit to a breath or blood test to measure your blood alcohol content, or BAC. If you refuse to submit to this test, or if your BAC is higher than the legal limit of .08, you will be immediately subject to an administrative license suspension.
The police will confiscate your driver’s license and issue a temporary driving permit that will last for 40 days after your arrest. After that point, the Texas Department of Public Safety will impose a suspension of 90 days to two years, depending on the circumstances and any priors you have. During the suspension period, you are not allowed to drive for any reason–even to go to work–unless you successfully apply and pay for an occupational license.
If you are able to get an occupational license, you will be able to drive for limited purposes such as getting to your job or picking up your kids from school. But not everyone qualifies, in which case you could get fired for absenteeism or lateness. Another issue is that if you have a commercial license, you cannot obtain an occupational license that will allow you to continue your driving job.
A DWI Can Result in the Loss of Your Professional License
For many professions, a DWI can be a huge set back. This is because many Texas professional licensing boards consider drunk driving an ethical or rules violation. You may face consequences from your licensing board if you work as a:
- Teacher–The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) certifies and in some cases discipline Texas teachers. The SBEC ensures that educators are of good moral character and won’t pose a threat to the children in their care. Their Code of Ethics identifies two DWIs convictions within a single 12 month period as grounds for revoking your teacher’s license. The SBEC also has discretion to revoke your license over a single DWI if it involves aggravating circumstances.
- Pilot–Whether flying is your passion or profession, a DWI could get you grounded. You must list your DWIs on your application for your annual or bi-annual Aviation Medical Certificate, and these convictions may constitute proof of your unfitness to fly. Although you don’t have to report your DWI arrest to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), your convictions and the administrative suspension of your license must be reported.
- Doctor–Texas doctors need to report any DWI arrests or convictions to the Texas Medical Board. This means that even if you beat your DWI charges, you must still report the incident to the medical board. If your offense gets charged as a felony because of aggravating factors, if you have multiple offenses, or if the board sees that your DWI fits into a larger pattern of substance abuse or poor conduct, they have the authority to revoke your license.
- Nurse–Nurses must obey the Texas Nursing Practice Act (NPA), the Board of Nursing’s rules and regulations, and any other laws that apply to the profession. When you seek the periodic renewal of your license, your DWI could count against you. A single DWI usually will not result in the board refusing to issue a new license, but a conviction for felony DWI or multiple offenses could be the basis for refusal.
The good news is that a single DWI without aggravating factors will probably not cause the loss of your professional license. But having a professional license is just one aspect of maintaining your profession. Your reputation is important too, and a blemish on your criminal or driving record can significantly hamper your ability to get a good job in your profession.
Fight DWI Charges with an Experienced Lawyer
Don’t accept a plea agreement before considering the consequences of a DWI on your career. Depending on the circumstances, a skilled DWI lawyer may be able to obtain a much better outcome for your case. The criminal justice system moves fast, and your chances for avoiding penalties are best early in the process.