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New Professional License Laws Nurses Should Know

This year, California government officials have introduced several new bills that could impact the licensure of registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses. Some of these were already adopted in January of this year. However, many of the professional license laws will be enacted as early as July 2021. Here are the major California State Assembly bills and State Senate bills you should know.

AB 1076 – Criminal Record Relief

Assembly Bill 1076 focuses on increasing the frequency at which the Department of Justice (DOJ) receives cases from those individuals who have gone through diversion programs and updates their rap sheets. The existing law currently allows a person who was arrested to petition the court to seal their arrest record once they’ve completed a rehab or diversion program. You can also petition to withdraw a guilty plea. If the court grants a relief, the accusation or information against you will be dismissed and you will be released from all penalties of the offense.

As of January 1, 2021, the DOJ has now started reviewing these records on a monthly basis and identifying people who will be eligible for relief. You will no longer be required to petition the court to dismiss your accusations and have the DOJ update your rap sheet. 

This new bill will expedite the time it takes to clean up your record and petition for reinstatement for your professional license after receiving a conviction.

Related Article: Case Study: Expunging Criminal Records for California Nurse

AB 397 – Cannabis-Related DUIs

According to the American Nursing Association, 1 in 10 nurses will struggle with substance abuse and receive a DUI.  In current law, there are no major distinctions between cannabis use and alcohol use when receiving a DUI conviction. 

Starting January 1, 2022, Assembly Bill 397 requires the superior courts to provide a detailed report that defines DUI convictions as cannabis-related or alcohol-related. Although any DUI can impact your nursing license, cannabis-related offenses can be controversial since recreational use is legal in California. If you do receive a DUI, it’s important to contact a nursing license defense lawyer immediately to accurately report this conviction to your licensing board.

Related Article: New Career Opportunities for Licensed Professionals in 2021

SB 878 – Professional License Applications and Renewals

When applying for your career as an RN or LVN, your application approval is dictated by boards that fall under the Department of Consumer Affairs. Previously, it was difficult to predict how long it would take to receive this approval; it was also hard to determine if the board was behind on evaluating applications. This posed difficult issues for nursing graduates that were ready to start their new careers immediately. Those looking to renew their license were also subject to these unclear timeframes.

Beginning July 1, 2021, Senate Bill 878 will help improve the clarity of this information and provide upcoming and current nurses with accurate timeframes for processing applications and renewals. This information will now be updated on at least a quarterly basis, and will be listed on a board’s website. Whether you are applying for your license for the first time or need to renew your current license, you now have the ability to plan accordingly and ensure there are no lapses in your employment.

The above professional licensing laws can help overcome challenges related to obtaining and maintaining your nursing license. However, it can still be difficult to navigate these new changes. This is where a nursing license defense attorney can help.

Whether your license is currently under investigation or has already been suspended or revoked, we can help. Our experienced team at Unlock Legal is passionate about helping nurses. We understand how crucial you are to the health of our community and we will work to get you the best outcome possible for your case.

Unlock Legal provides focused representation in criminal defense and defense for California licensed professionals. Contact Unlock Legal today or give us a call at 949-268-2857 to speak with a professional about your case and your unique needs. You’ll find we are compassionate, easy to talk to, and willing to help in any capacity we can.

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