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How a Texas DWI Can Affect Your Professional License

Woman is denied for professional license in Texas due to DWI

Alcohol-related crimes can affect the status of dozens of Texas occupational professional licenses.

In Texas, a DWI conviction carries more penalties than a suspended driver's license, fines, and the possibility of incarceration. A DWI on your record can limit your options for housing, education, and financing. For people with professional licenses, a DWI can be devastating for their careers. In Texas, the status of many types of professional licenses can be affected by criminal convictions, including driving while intoxicated (DWI).

It's always smart to defend yourself against DWI charges, but the need to fight back is even more critical if your career depends upon being licensed. Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer has been protecting the rights and freedoms of people accused of DWI in the Houston Area for over a decade. We understand the full impact a DWI can have on a person's life and the processes available to restore professional licenses. If you have been charged with DWI in the Greater Houston Area, contact us for a free case evaluation to learn more about your options. Here's what professionals in Texas need to know about how a DWI affects professional licenses.

Texas DWI license considerations

Texas has dozens of professional occupational licensing authorities responsible for issuing and renewing hundreds of occupational licenses. Occupational licensing entities include the Texas Medical Board, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Texas Health and Human Services, Texas Real Estate Commission, and Texas Board of Nursing. Every professional license has regulations regarding criminal behavior and license status that apply to new applicants as well as license holders. Because there is so much variation in application and regulation, it is best to consult a DWI defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest to determine how an alcohol crime can affect license status and what can be done if a charge or conviction leads to a license being revoked or suspended.

Some professional occupational licenses don't consider DWI an issue, while others have harsh penalties. However, in Texas, any type of repeat criminal conviction on any kind of charge may be a reason to review the status of a professional license. When determining whether a criminal conviction should be grounds to deny issuing or reinstating a license, Texas considers the following and other factors:

  • The nature and seriousness of the crime.
  • The relationship between the crime and the nature of the professional license.
  • The extent to which a license may offer the opportunity to engage in further criminal activity.
  • How old the person was when the crime was committed, and how much time has since elapsed.
  • Work conduct and activity since the criminal activity.

List of Texas licenses affected by DWI

Here are some, but not all, of the professional licenses affected by DWI and/or other alcohol-related crimes in Texas:

Texas Medical Board and other medical licensing authorities

A DWI or, in some cases, another type of alcohol-related charge, can affect the status of occupational licenses issued by the Texas Medical Board, including those issued to a physician, physician assistant, acupuncturist, medical radiologic technologist, non-certified radiological technician, respiratory care practitioner, medical physicist, and perfusionist. Medical professionals with criminal histories or recent charges should request a Criminal History Evaluation Letter (CHEL) from the Texas Medical Board, the Texas Physician Assistant Board, or the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners to determine whether charges or convictions will affect their licenses and, if so, how to appeal. The Texas Board of Nursing also considers crimes related to the use or possession of drugs or alcohol to be highly relevant to a nurse's fitness to practice.

Texas Real Estate Commission

The commission considers DWI directly related to the responsibility of real estate brokers and real estate sales agents' "trustworthiness." A request for a Fitness Determination, which is similar to a CHEL, should be considered before applying.

Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation

The following professional licenses issued by the TDLR may be affected by a DWI and/or other alcohol-related charges and/or convictions:

  • Athletic trainers.
  • Behavior analyst.
  • Code enforcement.
  • Dieticians.
  • Driver education and safety instructor.
  • Dyslexia therapists and practitioners.
  • Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems.
  • Hearing instrument fitters and dispensers.
  • Laser and hair removal.
  • Massage therapy.
  • Midwives.
  • Motor fuel metering quality.
  • Motorcycle operator training and safety instructor.
  • Offender education.
  • Orthotists and prosthetists.
  • Podiatry.
  • Sanitarians.
  • Speech-language pathologists and audiologists.
  • Tow truck operators and permit holders.

Contact an experienced Conroe, TX DWI lawyer for help.

A DWI or other alcohol-related crime can ruin your career. Not only can a conviction cause some to lose their professional licenses, social factors and employer standards cause a person to face disciplinary actions, which means they could get in trouble at work. They might be suspended from their job or even lose it. This is just one of many reasons why it is important to take all DWI and alcohol-related charges seriously in Texas. If you are facing DWI charges in the Houston Area, our Conroe-based DWI defense law firm can help you fight accusations and negotiate or litigate aggressively for the best outcome. Contact Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer for a free case evaluation to learn more about how alcohol charges may affect your Texas professional license and your options for a strong legal defense.

10 Mistakes Police Make In DWI Arrests

man pulled over by police, Texas DWI lawyer

Understanding how police mistakes can be used to protect your freedom

Getting arrested for DWI can be very upsetting, and a conviction can have serious consequences. These include loss of license, fines, and possibly even jail time. But prosecutors still need to be able to prove their case. That's why having an experienced DWI lawyer fighting for your rights is important.

Your lawyer will carefully review your arrest to check to see if any mistakes were made. Here are ten mistakes police sometimes make when making a DWI arrest.

1. Stopping a person based only on an anonymous 911 call.

For a 911 call to justify a stop, the officer must have specific information about the caller and independent reasons to stop a moving vehicle. In DWI law, this is a contentious issue as the tip may come from an unreliable source, such as a vindictive ex-partner or a victim of road rage.

2. Following a driver into a residence without permission or probable cause.

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution safeguards your home against unauthorized entry. Police require permission from you or a warrant from a judge to enter your home, even if running inside won't prevent a DWI.

3. Basing an arrest solely on the statements of another driver.

In cases of accidents, law enforcement officers must have either personal knowledge or independent corroboration of statements. Without concrete evidence, such as the time of driving or the identity of the driver, obtaining a conviction can be difficult. This scenario often arises in cases of reduced driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges, where there is insufficient proof to support the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

4. Detaining someone longer than necessary.

Officers can perform traffic detentions to enforce traffic laws but cannot hold someone indefinitely without reasonable suspicion of a crime.

5. Stopping a car because of a "hunch."

A law enforcement officer can only stop a driver if they have reasonable suspicion of a crime being or having been committed. Any evidence obtained during the stop and arrest cannot be used in court without specific facts to support the suspicion.

6. Stopping a car for going too fast or too slow without more proof.

Laws governing speed were put in place to ensure safety on the streets. Evidence is needed to prove that driving too slowly or exceeding the speed limit was unreasonable or imprudent.

7. Stopping a car for weaving within a lane.

Drivers are legally required to remain in their lane as much as possible. But drivers are also allowed to leave the lane slightly to dodge potholes and debris. That's why an investigation of the scene is needed.

8. Failing to follow state breath testing regulations.

There are strict procedures that must be followed under Texas law regarding the collection of blood and breath samples. If procedures are not followed properly, the test results will not be allowed as evidence.

9. Failing to follow field sobriety test procedures properly.

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) sponsors training for officers. If the SFST is not administered properly, the results can be challenged in court.

10. Arresting someone who was not intoxicated.

Police officers are human beings and sometimes react poorly. For example, they may arrest someone who was merely coming from a bar or was in an area where there are several bars. They may arrest someone who they felt was being confrontational when pulled over.

Contact Amanda Webb - DWI Attorney today

If you've been arrested, call an experienced DWI attorney. Attorney Amanda Webb has been defending clients in Montgomery County since 2009. She knows how to build a strong case and what it takes to get charges reduced or, in some cases, even completely dropped. Learn more about how she can help. Contact us for a free consultation.

Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in Texas?

Police officer approaches car in traffic stop, Texas DWI lawyer

Standardized field sobriety tests are stacked against you

When police pull over a driver in Texas and suspect impairment, they will conduct an investigation. This usually begins by asking the driver to take a series of field sobriety tests. How the driver performs on these tests plays a big role in determining whether an arrest is made and charges are filed.

But as an experienced DWI lawyer can tell you, the odds are against you – whether or not you are actually impaired.

If a police officer suspects you are impaired, you may be asked to step out of the car. The officer may explain that you will be asked to take some tests. But police likely won’t ask for your permission to conduct the tests. It’s just assumed you will cooperate.

Understanding field sobriety tests

There are three tests that are part of the standardized field sobriety tests used by police across the country:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – In this eye test, the driver will be asked to stand still while the officer checks the driver’s eyes. The officer is looking for involuntary jerking of the eyes, which is a sign of impairment.
  • The Walk and Turn Text (WAT) – In this test, the driver will be asked to walk a straight line from heel to toe, with their arms stretched out, then turn around and walk back. The officer is checking to see if the driver can follow instructions and maintain balance.
  • One Leg Stand test (OLS) – The driver is asked to stand on one leg for 30 seconds. This is also a test of following instructions and balance.

Many factors can affect the results

Your performance will be captured by body cameras and dash cameras. If you fail these tests, that will be used as evidence against you if you are charged with DWI. But these tests are not designed for you to pass. There are multiple problems with these tests that can cause you to “fail.”

For example, the eye test must be conducted with precision, which can be quite difficult on the side of the road. And cameras likely won’t capture what the officer sees.

The walk-and-turn test requires a driver to walk an imaginary line under stressful conditions. For example, weather conditions may make it challenging to perform the tests, or the driver could be fatigued.

The one-leg stand can also be difficult for people to do for a variety of reasons, including fatigue, footwear, or a bad knee. And if the driver doesn’t quite make 30 seconds, too bad.

An experienced DWI defense attorney can fight for your rights

These tests have been challenged and debunked by experts for years but are still used as evidence. So what are your options if you are pulled over and asked to take them?

You can refuse – you do not have to take field sobriety tests.

If you are asked to exit the car, do so. But if the officer starts to administer the tests, politely refuse to take part. It’s important to note that it is possible you may still be arrested for DWI. However, there will be less evidence that can be used against you.

If you are placed under arrest, call an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Amanda Webb has been a criminal defense lawyer in Montgomery County since 2009. She knows the Texas DWI laws. She knows how to create an effective defense strategy.

Learn more about how our law firm can help if you've been charged with DWI. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Can I Get Charged With DWI in Texas If I Blow Under the Legal Limit?

driver blowing into breath test

In Texas, when a person is pulled over and is found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, they can be arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). But what if your BAC is under the legal limit? You may think you can walk away without penalty, but you could still be faced with a DWI charge.

Why police may pull you over

Law enforcement may stop a vehicle if they spot possible signs that lead them to believe the driver could be under the influence. Some common signs police look for include:

  • Weaving or swerving through traffic
  • Quick acceleration or deceleration
  • Almost crashing into an object, vehicle, or curb.
  • Difficulty staying in a designated lane
  • Turning abruptly
  • Erratic braking
  • Driving without headlights on at night

What happens after I get pulled over?

Upon being stopped by law enforcement, drivers may be subjected to a preliminary breath test (PBT) to determine the presence of alcohol in their system.

The outcome of this initial assessment, however, is inconsequential in relation to further testing. Police officers may also require individuals to participate in field sobriety tests designed to assess the use of their mental and physical abilities.

These evaluations may include the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test.

Despite potentially passing the PBT and having a blood alcohol content below the legal limit, a driver may still be charged with DWI if they fail any field sobriety tests.

Police often look for other signs of impairment

If an individual's normal mental or physical faculties are impaired due to alcohol or drugs, they may be charged with DWI, even without a breath or blood test. This determination is based solely on the observations made by law enforcement officers.

Some of the most common indicators of impairment that police look for include:

  • An odor of alcohol.
  • Slurred speech, mumbling, or difficulty speaking.
  • Bloodshot, watery, or glassy eyes.
  • Unusual or erratic behavior, such as stumbling, swaying, or failing to follow instructions.
  • Poor coordination or difficulty with physical tasks, such as fumbling with license and registration.
  • Confusion, disorientation, or difficulty remembering details.

Failing a breathalyzer test can result in a DWI charge, but this is not necessarily the ONLY way. Under Texas Penal Code Title 10 Chapter 49, if an officer determines your mental and/or physical abilities are impaired with any alcohol or drug content in your system based on the criteria above, you could still face charges even if you blow under the legal limit.

Getting a DWI with a BAC below 0.08

Despite popular belief, breathalyzer tests are not always entirely reliable. In some instances, even if your BAC registers below the legal limit, you may still be arrested and charged with DWI due to the breathalyzer's margin of error.

Texas also operates under a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21. That means any BAC reading other than .00 is grounds for a charge.

Commercial drivers are subject to even stricter regulations, with a BAC limit of 0.04. Testing above this limit can result in a DWI charge and a minimum one-year suspension of their commercial driver's license.

Additionally, if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a driver is impaired, they may still face DWI charges, regardless of their BAC level. This can occur even if the driver has consumed only a small amount of alcohol or if their impairment is due to prescription medication or other substances.

Get help from a Texas DWI defense attorney.

A DWI conviction can change your life completely. Depending on the severity of the offense, you could be faced with thousands of dollars in fines, the loss of your license, and lengthy jail time. That's why you need an aggressive DWI defense attorney that gets results.

DWI cases can be complicated, but Attorney Amanda Webb has years of experience dealing with all types of DWI cases in Conroe, TX, and the surrounding area. She knows the state and federal laws and has a proven track record of getting the outcomes her clients deserve.

To learn more about how our law firm can help you, contact us today for a free DWI case evaluation.

What Foods Can Give You a False Positive on a Breathalyzer Test?

Driver being subjected to a breathalyzer test by police for suspicion of DWI.

When you're pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), police will often administer a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level.

But did you know that certain foods and household items can actually give you a false positive on a breathalyzer test?

In Texas, the legal BAC limit is 0.08%, and if a driver's breathalyzer test shows a BAC above that limit, they can be charged with DWI.

If you have been charged with a DWI in Montgomery County, TX, it's important to take it seriously and contact an experienced DWI attorney to learn more about your potential legal options.

Types of foods that can cause a false positive

Alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, and liquor, will be detected by a breathalyzer. However, there are other foods that contain chemicals that may also be detected by a breathalyzer. For example, many fruits, including cherries, apples, and peaches, can become fermented as they ripen and contain small amounts of alcohol.

Other foods, drinks, and household items that may cause a false positive on a breathalyzer include:

  • Mouthwash: Many types of mouthwash contain high percentages of alcohol, which can register as false positives on breathalyzer tests.
  • Breath Spray: Like mouthwash, many breath freshener sprays contain high amounts of alcohol that can lead to positive readings on breathalyzer devices.
  • Spicy Foods: When consumed, spicy foods can create methane gas in the stomach, which can be mistaken for alcohol by breathalyzer devices.
  • Yeast-Containing Foods: Bread, pastry, pizza, and other baked goods can register positive readings on breathalyzers if yeast-containing food particles are present in the mouth when the test is administered.
  • Fruit Drinks and Other Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Some fermented beverages, such as fruit drinks, kombucha, and energy drinks, can produce minimal amounts of alcohol that can register on breathalyzers.
  • Vinegar: Some types of vinegar, made from wine, contain trace amounts of alcohol that can lead to false positives on breathalyzer tests.
  • Vanilla Extract: According to FDA standards, pure vanilla extract must contain 35% alcohol, which may not cause impairment, but can lead to a positive reading on a breathalyzer test.
  • Low-Carbohydrate Diets: People on low-carb diets may enter a state of ketosis, a process in which the body burns fat for energy. This can create acetone, which can lead to false positives on breathalyzer tests.

It is important to note that these items do not contain enough alcohol to cause impairment, but they can lead to a false positive on a breathalyzer test. In addition to the above, certain types of cough syrups contain high levels of ethyl alcohol. This type of alcohol is not metabolized as quickly as other types of alcohol and can take longer to leave your system. Therefore, it can cause a false positive on a breathalyzer.

Contact Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer, if you were charged in Montgomery County, TX.

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in Texas with potentially serious repercussions. A DWI conviction can lead to jail time, significant fines, probation, community service, the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle (that you have to pay for), and other penalties. In addition, depending on the severity of the crime and any prior convictions, a judge may also order suspension or revocation of your driver's license.

The effects of a DWI conviction can also be long-lasting, making it difficult to find a job or housing. Insurance companies may also increase your rates or cancel your policy altogether due to a DWI conviction, and you could be ineligible for certain jobs or educational opportunities because of your conviction.

If you have been charged with a DWI in Montgomery County, Texas, it's important to seek experienced legal advice. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us for a free consultation.