What Happens if a Nurse Receives a DUI Conviction?

What Happens if a Nurse Receives a DUI Conviction

A DUI conviction is a common cause for arrest in California. As a result, most people are aware of the negative outcomes. Many people, however, don’t know that nursing is the profession most impacted by DUIs. RNs, LVN, and PTs also risk losing their careers. Here’s what can happen when a nurse receives a DUI.

California DUI Conviction Discipline

State discipline for a DUI conviction is common. Whether you’re a nurse or not, you will first be facing potential jail time, driver’s license suspension, and hefty fines. You may also be required to attend AA meetings, complete community service, or even attend rehab. If you are a nurse, you must report all of this to your nursing board. It could result in bigger issues with your professional license—including probation, suspension, or even revocation.

Nursing Board DUI Discipline

In addition to standard state discipline, nurses also have to face their licensing boards. Whether you are part of the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) or the Board of Vocational Nursing and Physical Therapy (BVNPT), your license is still at risk. Both boards take DUI convictions very seriously. They take both your current situation and past mistakes into account to determine what discipline you will receive. If the state already assigned you community service or rehab, your board will also use this to help make their decision about the future of your license. They want to assure that you are taking the necessary steps to keep your patients, the public,  and yourself safe going forward.

Related Article: Common Causes of Board of Registered Nursing Disciplinary Action

Types of Nursing Discipline

Depending on the severity of your DUI conviction and any convictions you may have in your past, you could be facing the following disciplines from the BRN or BVNPT.


In some cases, nursing boards will allow you to continue working as a nurse after receiving a DUI conviction. However, you will be required to have additional supervision during a time period to ensure you are staying on the right track. The length of the probation varies from several months to several years. 


In other cases, your nursing board may suspend your license altogether. This can happen when nurses have multiple convictions in their past or injured an individual in a DUI-related accident.


In the worst-case scenario, your nursing board will revoke your license after you receive a DUI conviction. Although this sounds like the end of the line, your career is not over. You may have to wait a certain amount of time before petitioning for reinstatement, but you still have a chance at getting back to work.

Related Article: Will a DUI Cause My Nursing License to Be Revoked?

Contact a Nursing License Defense Lawyer

Did you receive a DUI conviction? Our experienced nursing license defense attorneys can help you properly report your DUI to your licensing board, represent you in court, and help get 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 949-988-4444 to speak with a professional about your case and your unique needs.

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