Will My Nursing License Be Suspended for a DUI?

According to the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN), DUIs and substance abuse are the leading cause for nurses to receive disciplinary action. They may face suspension or even revocation of their professional licenses due to convictions like these. Not only do medical professionals need to worry about the criminal aspect of their DUI case, but they must also face the medical board to have their professional license evaluated. If you received a DUI or substance abuse conviction, here’s what you need to know about keeping your nursing license intact.

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Report Your Conviction to the Board

Once you have received a DUI or substance abuse conviction, you are required to report your conviction to the nursing board. You are not required to report an arrest to the board.  Working with a professional license defense attorney can help you streamline the process and give you the best chance at maintaining your nursing license.

Disciplinary Action

After the board has been notified of your DUI or substance abuse conviction, you could face disciplinary action that could affect your nursing license. Depending on the decision of the BRN, you could face the following actions.


You may receive the option to participate in an intervention program for registered nurses known as Diversion. This program was designed to provide support and resources for nurses who are struggling with substance abuse. Unfortunately, as soon as you enroll in this program, your nursing license becomes inactive.  However, participating in Diversion is not considered a discipline of your license. 


Probation will allow you to continue practicing under conditions set by the board.  There are a number of terms and conditions of probation that you will have to agree to complete and abide by.  If the terms of your probation are violated, your professional license could immediately be revoked or suspended.


In lieu of discipline, you may receive a fine or citation for your actions from the nursing board. If the BRN determines your actions are minor violations of California’s Nursing Practice Act, they will process your disciplinary action through the BRN Citation and Fine System.


If the BRN decides to hold a formal hearing for your case, it’s important to have an experienced license defense attorney present. Your lawyer can help negotiate and reduce your consequences. In some cases, this means your nursing license will not be suspended or revoked.

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Receiving substance abuse convictions can feel like a nightmare, especially when it impacts your professional life. We understand the importance of preserving your professional license and helping you get back to work quickly. Our team at Unlock Legal team has experience defending nursing licenses before the BRN and will help you navigate the initial investigation, the board hearing, and the possible appeals process.

Contact Unlock Legal

If you fear your professional license is in jeopardy, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a quick, discreet, and confidential consultation. Know that with us, you are in great hands. 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. Losing your license doesn’t have to be the end of your career.

Unlock Legal is a compliance and regulatory law firm that focuses on criminal defense, license defense for California licensed professionals.

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