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Certified Public Accountants

It takes years to finally earn your certification in public accountancy. Unfortunately, you can also lose that same license entirely because of one bad night. A driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction can devastate your career as a certified public accountant (CPA). The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA) states a DWI is grounds enough for disciplinary action.

TSBPA can impose career-related consequences if you have a final conviction or your conduct indicated you lacked fitness to serve as a public accountant. The Public Accountancy Act states a rule violation could lead to serious consequences. You could have your license restricted, suspended or even revoked for a rule violation.

Attorney for CPAs with DWI in Harris County, Texas

Have you been charged recently with DWI? Are you certified or about to be certified as a public accountant by TBSPA? If so, it’s imperative you gain legal representation immediately. Your DWI conviction could turn into disciplinary action by the board. TSBPA reserves the right to suspend or revoke the license of anyone who violates their Occupations Code.

Find strong legal representation today with Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc.. Our attorneys provide sturdy legal defenses through our years of experience. Call us now at (713) 224-5529 to set up a case consultation today. We will overlook your case and help you chart out your defense plan today.

Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the Houston metropolitan area including West University Place, Tomball, Bellaire, and Pasadena.

Overview of CPA with DWI Charges in Texas


Will a DWI Affect My CPA License in Texas?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges are exhausting and can not only affect your personal life, but your professional one. According to Occupations Code § 901.502, the State Board of Public Accountancy can discipline you for a DWI conviction if:

  • It was felony-level;
  • Included dishonesty or fraud in some way; or
  • Exhibited conduct which showed a lack of fitness to serve the public as a CPA.

TSBPA is entitled to impose disciplinary action on anyone who violates the Occupations Code. You could face one or more of the following if you’re convicted of DWI:

  • Have your license, firm license or practice privileged revoked;
  • Suspension of any terms of your certificate, firm license, or practice privilege;
  • Refusal by TSBPA to renew your license;
  • Probate your CPA license;
  • Limit the scope of your practice;
  • Require you to complete a peer review program conducted by the board;
  • Require you to complete a continuing education program by the board; or
  • Pay restitution costs to any possible victims

A probated CPA license will mean you may have to:

  • Report regularly to the board;
  • Limit your practice areas; or
  • Renew or continue professional education until the board is satisfied with the degree of skill you’ve obtained

If you’re charged with a felony-level DWI, the board will suspend your license. If you’re an CPA applicant, then you’ll be prohibited from renewing or being issued a new license. The board must give you notice and allow you time to request a hearing before suspending your license completely. If you’re convicted with a felony DWI, then the board can suspend your license without any notice or hearing.


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Administrative Penalties for CPA with DWI in Texas

The board reserves the right to impose an administrative penalty if you violate the Occupations Code. Section § 901.552 of the Occupations Code states you may be fined up to $100,000 for each violation. TSBPA is required to inform you of the penalty no later than the 10th day after the date of the report is issued.

Listed below are the factors TSBPA uses when considering an administrative penalty.

  • The seriousness of your DWI;
  • It’s hazardous potential to the public;
  • Any economic damage caused by your DWI;
  • Your violation history with TSBPA;
  • The amount necessary to deter future violations;
  • Any efforts you made to correct your DWI; and
  • Other relevant information

You can request a hearing to contest your administrative penalty. However, it must be done no later than the 20th day after you received notice. You can challenge the administrative penalty at the hearing with strong legal representation.

If you choose to not fight the penalty, the fine must be paid within 20 days of the notice. Failure to pay the penalty in time will result TSBPA entering a court-order.


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Can I Still Take the CPA Exam with a DWI?

TSBPA presides over both licensees and the certified public accountancy exam. This means your DWI can affect you if you’re applying to take the CPA exam. Occupations Code § 901.503 states the board can do the following if you have a DWI conviction:

  • Deny your application to take the CPA exam; or
  • Prohibit you from taking the CPA exam for up to five years

Either of these scenarios can happen if your DWI:

  • Was felony-level;
  • Included dishonesty or fraud in some way; or
  • Exhibited conduct which showed a lack of fitness to serve as a CPA

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How Can I Get My CPA License Back in Texas?

It’s stressful enough to fight the statutory penalties for DWI, but now you have to defend your career too. Thankfully, you can challenge the board’s disciplinary actions by requesting a hearing. Occupations Code § 901.508 states all licensees and CPA applicants have a right to a disciplinary hearing.

The board is required to provide you with written notice of the hearing in 21 days. It’s highly advised you gain skilled legal representation for the hearing. This will be your one chance to prove to the board your DWI doesn’t affect your practice. Hiring an attorney can significantly help your case because they can collect evidence to demonstrate your good character as a CPA.


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Additional Resources

TSPBA Board Rules – Visit the official website of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy to learn more about their Occupations Code. Access the code to learn more about prohibited acts by the board, possible penalties and how disciplinary action is handled if the DWI was in another state.

Frequently Asked Questions – Visit the official website of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy to get answers to frequently asked questions surrounding public accounting. Find more information on how to file a complaint, Rules of Professional Conduct and more.


Lawyer for Certified Public Accountants in Houston

If you or someone you know is certified as a public accountant with DWI charges, it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. The State Board of Public Accountancy could restrict, suspend or even revoke your license because of your DWI. Don’t wait another moment and contact [frim].

Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. has had years of experience defending people in disciplinary proceedings and criminal trials. With our resources, skills and knowledge our attorneys can fight for your livelihood. Contact us today at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a case consultation today.

Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the Harris County area including Pasadena, West University Place and Houston.


This article was last updated on March 8th, 2019.

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