Can I Be a Nurse With A DUI? If you have a DUI, you will be able to get your RN license. If you are already a nurse, you will be able to keep your RN license following a DUI. However, there are caveats to both that you need to know.
STUDENT NURSES APPLYING FOR RN LICENSES WITH A DUI
If you are a student nurse getting ready to apply for you RN license and take your boards and you have a past DUI conviction, know that there is a good chance that your initial application may be denied and you will then have to appeal that denial in order to get your RN license. The likely result on appeal is that you will be given the go-ahead to take the boards, but the results will not be released until the appeal is granted. Further, it is very likely that when the appeal is granted, the RN license is given on a probationary status.
All of this depends on how long ago the DUI conviction was, whether it has been expunged and what you have been doing in the meantime. The older the DUI, the better. Having the DUI expunged is better (but not a guarantee of initial approval). Having completed all of your probation requirements, paid all of your fines, continuing in counseling, continuing in AA and being evaluated by an expert all help. Finally, letters of recommendation and performance evaluations from current employers and professors also help.
The factor that determines if you will get your RN license the most (get ready for shameless self-promotion), is having an attorney assist with the process who knows what they are doing when it comes to the BRN. This is self-promotion, sure, but it is also very true. RN applicants with DUIs get denied all the time and fail on appeal, primarily because the BRN wants to see some very specific things for DUI nurse applicants. The initial letter of explanation to the BRN is critical, and where most RN applicants shoot themselves in the foot. The appeal is even more critical, as this determines whether or not you get your RN license at all and determines the probation requirements to which you will be subjected. The difference between probation requirements 1-15 and 1-19 can cost you $18,000.00 over the course of three years. I promise that having an attorney help you with the application and appeal will be less than a quarter of that!
REGISTERED NURSES WITH A DUI
There are literally thousands of California registered nurses who have lost their RN licenses for a DUI conviction and so that is always the fear of a nurse who gets a DUI, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, our RN license defense attorneys have defended thousands of clients and we have NEVER had a nurse lose their RN licensee for a DUI, not ever.
In most cases, if the RN is convicted of a standard first offense DUI, they will eventually have an Accusation filed by the BRN calling for revocation of their RN license. If the Nurse does not reply to the BRN within 15 days, their license will be revoked on a default order. If the nurse fails to properly defend the accusation by providing compelling mitigating evidence, the RN license will be revoked. However, if the nurse properly discloses the DUI within the requisite time frame, follows the advice of his or her attorney following the DUI and then argues the accusation, the nurse will be able to keep their license. It is likely that the license will be subject to probation for a period of three years, but in almost every case, the nurse can continue in their job and keep their careers.