We see in a story coming out of McLennan County that the aggressive nature of police looking for DWI suspects does not stop at civilians alone. A McLennan County assistant DA was recently arrested and booked on charges of DWI after she was stopped and investigated by police last month.
Of course DAs are responsible for prosecuting crimes by the state, so it is ironic that the person responsible for enforcing laws is now on the other side of the criminal justice system. What makes this even more ironic is the fact that this particular DA is specifically responsible for prosecuting misdemeanor DWIs in her county.
Aftermath and Future Career
So what happens to an attorney, and specifically a prosecutor, who is accused of and gets convicted of a crime. What happens to her job with the District Attorney’s office will be up to that office, but there are no state laws that demand they fire her or dismiss her from action. Though it will be hard for her to continue her work as a prosecutor of DWI when she herself may be found guilty of that offense.
On the other side of things, lawyers are regulated by a set of rules known as the Rules of Professional Conduct. All states have their own version of these rules, and in Texas they are known as the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Within these rules are the dos and donts that lawyers must follow in order to maintain a law license and practice law. Violating a rule may result in being suspended or disbarred.
The rules of conduct do not specify whether DWI is a punishable offense for the profession, and there are a number of opinions on the issue. There is a rule that deals with breaking the law, however. That rule is 8.04, Misconduct. That rule mandates that lawyers keep all the rules of professional conduct, and not commit serious crimes or other crimes that reflect adversely on the lawyer’s honesty and trustworthiness.
So the question of whether this or other attorneys would face professional consequences for DWI is whether the charged DWI is serious, or not. In most cases such as this one it is not likely that a lawyer would face professional proceedings for committing a first time misdemeanor DWI. But in this situation it is not so clear. Where this prosecutor was responsible for prosecuting DWIs, the state bar could use those facts as a violation of her professional responsibilities and ability to act as a lawyer. Of course this would all depend on her actually being convicted.
The Many Costs of DWI
This case shows the many costs that are involved with a DWI charge. For example, this prosecutor will now likely be facing troubles with her job because of a DWI, and other charged with DWI are no different. Besides the time lost at work for jail time, court dates, and meetings with lawyers, a DWI conviction can be bad for a reputation and record.
If you are facing DWI charges, fight back. Choose the legal team ready, willing, and able to defend those charges and put you in the best position possible. At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm we will be there fighting on your side. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.