In short, a DUI can cause a nurse to lose their license. If you were arrested for a DUI, you may be terrified of losing your nursing license. A DUI is a violation of the Nursing Practice Act section 2762, “using any alcoholic beverages to an extent or manner dangerous or injurious to oneself, any other person, or the public”. The violation is a revocable offense.
In typical DUI cases, the defendant must only worry about the criminal charges or the DUI and then the process of getting their driver’s license back. For registered nurses, they face the additional hurdle of the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).
BRN Notice and Diversion Notification
When you are arrested for a DUI, you are fingerprinted and the BRN will receive notice of the arrest almost immediately. California nurses are required to disclose a DUI conviction to the BRN within 30 days, but they do not have to disclose the arrest, even though the BRN has already been notified. Once the BRN has been notified of your arrest through the judicial system, they will send you a letter with the option to participate in the voluntary Diversion program.
Diversion is an intervention program for registered nurses whose practice may be impaired due to substance abuse. The program is designed to be a resource for nurses who are struggling but before committing research the pros and cons of the program. Typically when a nurse enrolls in the Diversion program their license is deactivated. If you are attempting to prevent your California nursing license from being deactivated or revoked, know that entering into Diversion will likely deactivate it. Remember, the program is voluntary and you do not have to enter into the program unless you want to.
Related Article: My Nursing License Has Been Revoked. Can It Be Reinstated?
Disclosing the Conviction
As mentioned, if you are nurse convicted of a DUI you must disclose the conviction to the BRN within 30 days. The content of the disclosure is vitally important, as what is said can either help or hinder your case with the BRN. Having a professional license defense lawyer work with you on this step is in your best interest. In the best-case scenario, you would receive a citation and a fine. More troubling is when the case goes to the deputy attorney general for review.
If your case is reviewed by the deputy attorney general, an Accusation will be filed against your nursing license. It is at the Accusation stage that the BRN calls for your nursing license to be revoked. Having an attorney present at the Accusation stage is essential as a professional license defense attorney can negotiate for reduced discipline which would allow you to keep your license.
Getting a DUI charge is not a guarantee that you will lose your California nursing license, but help yourself by getting a legal advocate early on in the process. Contact Unlock Legal today or give us a call at your convenience at 949-988-4444 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.
Unlock Legal provides focused representation in criminal defense and defense for California licensed professionals.