Today’s blog covers what happens to your law license if you get a DWI. Will you lose your license? The answer to that question is possibly not and probably not. If there is an underlying substance abuse issue that led to the DWI, the North Carolina State Bar offers a program called the Lawyer’s Assistance Program, or the LAP. It is technically separate from but in conjunction with the State Bar. It offers the attorney the opportunity to get treatment in regards to a lot of different addictions, such as an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, or a food addiction, etc. If an attorney enters into that program, they get certain protections in regards to their license, and if they do certain things in regards to the program compliance, then they have a higher probability of maintaining their licensure as long as they, again, stay in compliance with the rules. [27 NCAC 01D .0600].
In the Lawyer’s Assistance Program, if it is a situation where the attorney gets a DWI and that is just kind of the tip of the iceberg—meaning there are a lot of things underneath that and multiple additional problems that crop up—then there is a potential for a suspension or even a revocation depending on what other ethics violations have occurred as a result of the attorney’s potential addiction. However, this is an extreme case. The bottom line is if you feel like there might be an issue, then there are some resources available for attorneys. You do not have to wait to contact the Lawyer’s Assistant Program. You can reach out to an addiction center or some facility like that and get the ball rolling. Eventually, though, it would be a recommendation to seek assistance with the Lawyer’s Assistance Program that could potentially help you in regards to your license with the State Bar.