In Texas, nurses can lose their licenses when they face criminal prosecution. The consequences of DWI can be severe and may pose a significant threat to their career as a nurse. When you’re guilty of drunk driving, you are likely to be investigated by the Board of Nursing in Texas.
Besides your career, your livelihood is at stake since such a case can also lead to criminal prosecution. It can go especially wrong if the BON finds evidence that raises questions about your ability to consult patients.
The Investigation Process
Going through an investigation process may prove to be a daunting experience for anyone. Whenever the Board of Nursing opens an investigation, it will determine whether you have violated the Nursing Practice Act (NPA) by committing a felony or not.
BON conducts each and every step with extreme caution and takes all the factors into account. The investigators may meet your friends and colleagues to find out more about the situation. Moreover, they can also put you through a lie detector test or a chemical dependency screening to determine the truth.
Apart from DWI, if BON finds any other similar event, it will be used as evidence. For example, if you open up to them about potential drug abuse or drinking issues.
What Action can BON Take?
If the BON finds out that you are guilty of violating the guidelines such as:
- Drug addiction or mental health issues
- Engaged in illegal activities
- Guilty of drunk driving
It may result in consequences such as:
- Revoking License
- Disciplinary Action
All of this would go on the public record and be accessible to everyone. Consequently, it may hinder your chances of practicing nursing. The board has the power to revoke your license immediately, and you’ll be barred from practicing nursing ever again. Moreover, you’ll face felony charges, which can put you in serious legal trouble.
Therefore, it is always advisable to tread with caution when you face DWI charges. It is advisable to call reputable lawyers like Austin Criminal Lawyer to back you up on the case.
Consequences of DWI for Texas Nurses
In the event of a DWI, nurses can face dire consequences. If it is your first time, then you can expect some leniency in terms of punishment. In addition to professional set back, nurses can also expect to spend some time in jail for breaking the law.
Additionally, their driving license may be revoked, and they’ll have to pay hefty fines.
The final sentence may depend on the extent and type of DWI. They include:
Types of DWI
Below are different types of DWI and their consequences a nurse may face:
DWI BAC of Below .15
This is known as a Class B misdemeanor, and you can expect a fine of around $3000. The jail time will be a minimum of only 6 months. Furthermore, it can lead to your driver’s license being revoked.
DWI BAC of .15 or Higher
In this case, the fine may go as up as $6000 since this is regarded as a class A misdemeanor. Maximum jail time, in this case, is 12 months.
Since conviction is permanent, it results in your driver’s license being revoked. This can affect your career path since your nursing license can be suspended as well.
DWI with Open Container
Depending on the BAC, this can either be classified as Class A or B misdemeanor. As a nurse, you can face up to a week behind bars for this conviction.
DWI with Child Passenger
Since this is a state felony, you might get charged with over $10,000 in fines and up to 2 years in jail. As the conviction is permanent, you are also bound to lose your driving license and as well as to practice license over this felony.
Felony charges carry a lot of weight in Texas, and if you get convicted of one, it poses setbacks for your career as a nurse. Not only do you lose your license and employment, but you also have to bear heavy fines.
Being a Nurse with DWI on your Record
In some instances, you may not lose your nursing license. It doesn’t disqualify you from obtaining another one either. However, when you have a DWI on your CV, it may hinder the chances of your professional growth.
Since they put on a bad impression, you may find it hard to explore your career opportunities in different organizations. But there is a chance to restart your career by looking for options elsewhere and pleading your case once you are ready to practice it again.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have more questions on your mind, then keep reading. We have answered some of your most commonly asked questions:
Will DWI Ruin My Career as a Nurse?
Not entirely. In some cases, the extent of DWI is less, and therefore, the court allows the professional to continue practicing. There are thousands of professionals in Texas who have cleared their criminal charges. Things are no different for the nurses if they overcome DWI charges and avoid a felony.
Do Nurses Need to Report to Texas Board about DWI Arrest?
No, you don’t have to report an arrest to the board. Unless it is categorized as a felony, you don’t have to inform the board about it just yet. But in some instances, you may be obliged to tell them about the arrest.
Can you Remove DWI Charges in Texas?
If you have avoided a conviction, then the chances are that you might be able to remove the DWI charges on you. You can send your case for review for nondisclosure to the board.
Can I lose my Nursing License for DWI in Texas?
Yes, the board may decide to revoke your license if they find anything serious. Usually, a felony is one of the major causes of license removal.