Austin, TX

Will a DWI Impact my Nursing License?

Will a DWI Impact my Nursing License in Texas?

If you’ve been charged with a DWI, you may be wondering – do I need to report this to the BON or your employer? How will my nursing license be affected? Will I be able to keep nursing? This post may be of interest.

This post is not legal advice. Further, the information in this post centers around misdemeanors, which are most common. It is always a good idea to speak with an attorney, but especially if you are charged with a felony. If you want legal advice for your specific matter, you should reach out with our contact form.

A DWI Charge is not a DWI Conviction

First of all, take a deep breath. A criminal charge is not a conviction. You have been charged but you will have a chance to either fight it, or come to an agreement with the prosecutor that resolves the case in a way that won’t affect your license – more on that later.

Discuss your nursing license with your criminal attorney

Second, you will have a criminal attorney – whether you hire one, or one is appointed. It is very important that you let your criminal attorney know that you have a nursing license, as this could affect strategy when it comes to the criminal case. At ATX Legal, we handle DWIs and professional license issues. Attorney Rob Chesnutt even wrote a guide on handling DWIs in Travis County.

Do you have to report the DWI charge to the BON?

You don’t have to report the charge. However, when you renew your license, you would need to note the pending charge. The BON will have access to your criminal history, so they will likely see the pending case anyway. Therefore, don’t make the mistake of trying to hide it when you renew.
ATX Legal can assist with DWI issues. If you are a nurse, we handle license issues too.

Do I need to report the DWI to my Employer?

By law, you are not required to report a DWI charge to your employer in Texas. However, you may want to consider doing so. Your employer may have its own policies and procedures regarding DWI convictions. For example, your employer may require you to report a DWI conviction to your professional liability insurance provider. Your employer may also have a policy of suspending or terminating employees who are convicted of DWIs.

What about a DWI conviction?

  You do have to report a DWI conviction to the Board of Nursing. However, this doesn’t mean your nursing license will be suspended. The BON may institute an investigation regarding substance abuse. According to the disciplinary guidelines, the BON notes that “repetitiveness of the conduct indicates a possible issue with substance abuse or chemical dependency which may affect the nurse’s ability to safely perform his/her duties and/or threaten public safety.”

Therefore, they are looking at evidence that you might have a substance abuse issue. If there are other indicators, such as failed drug tests, poor work performance or previous DWIs, the new DWI conviction could be one more piece of evidence against you. But a DWI, alone, with no other evidence, is unlikely to result in action against your license.

Representation at the Investigation Stage

  If you are facing an investigation by the BON, you should still treat it seriously. I’ve seen many mistakes at this stage that have made the situation worse. You should not ignore the Board if they ask you for a statement, but you should still be careful at this stage.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

  At ATX Legal, we are experienced with DWIs and nursing license defense. Knowledge of both areas can mean a better result in the end. If you would like to schedule a no-cost consultation, fill out a contact form today, or text us at 512-677-5003.
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