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I was arrested for drunk driving. Can I lose my nursing license?

Whether out for a quick happy hour after a stressful workday or leaving a family picnic, few things can result in the panic that comes with seeing flashing lights in your review mirror and a traffic stop after having a few alcoholic beverages. This becomes especially stressful if police accuse you of drunk driving. Depending on your profession, the allegations can lead to more than the concern of a fine; it can also threaten your career.

It is important to note that this type of situation is not uncommon. Recently, police arrested a nurse for drunk driving after leaving a shift at St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan, Texas. Someone from the hospital notified police that an intoxicated individual had entered a vehicle and began driving away.

Upon following the individual, the police stated the driver turned too fast, causing the passenger side tires to leave the ground. The police conducted a stop and noted that the driver also had four bottles of wine on the passenger side floor in addition to the evidence above. Based on this evidence, police arrested the nurse.

What are the penalties for this type of offense?

A first DUI or DWI in Texas can come with up to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and the loss of the driver’s license for up to one year. The penalties can increase based on various factors, such as previous offenses or intoxication resulting in an accident with injuries or property damage.

Criminal penalties are just the beginning. Nurses can also face a challenge to their professional license.

Why is my nursing license at risk if I was not on the job at the time of the offense?

Nursing is a prestigious profession that the public holds in high regard. As such, each state has its own board that reviews those practicing in the profession to ensure they can provide quality care. This includes a review of various factors ranging from education and training to conduct and character. A criminal conviction can result in questions about the nurse’s character.

Although serious, this does not have to mean you lose your license. It is important to prepare to fight back and establish that you have the character needed to continue providing quality care. The good news is you do not have to go through the process alone. You can have a legal professional on your side, fighting to protect your rights.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication