RN Guardian’s License Defense Program is receiving an average of 5 calls per week from nurses who have received an Accusation from the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) because of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction. That means the Board is cracking down even harder and filing more of them. If you are a California Nurse Practitioner and you’ve had a DUI, it is only a matter of time before you receive an Accusation from the BRN.
As the Executive Director of RN Guardian, I have been appalled to hear that other self-proclaimed “license defense attorneys” in California are asking as much as $15,000.00 in retainer fees to represent nurses in BRN accusations because of a DUI arrest or conviction. (One lawyer told our now-client that it would cost her $30,000.00!) I think it is unconscionable that these lawyers are taking advantage of nurses while they are the most vulnerable and convincing them that $10,000.00 is a good trade off to keep their license and career. In a way, the lawyers are right: 10 grand is not a bad trade to save a million dollar career, but what these lawyers aren’t telling nurses is that it doesn’t have to cost even ½ that much.
BRN Accusations are terrifying and intimidating for you as a nurse. They are “served” via certified mail, are usually 10 pages of confusing legalese, they vilify the NP for whatever he or she has done wrong and then in the end there is the “Prayer” to revoke or suspend the NP’s license. Not only that, but the BRN gives you a very short time frame of 15 days to decide if you want to go to a hearing to save your license and nursing career. It is at this point that the frantic NP begins searching for help and if one of those license defense lawyers I mentioned happens to get a hold of you before I do, you will gladly shell out $10,000.00.
$10,000.00 is approximately what it will take for a garden-variety, self-named “license defense attorney” with a few cases under his belt to represent a Nurse Practitioner at a BRN Hearing. If that attorney doesn’t regularly handle NP licensing accusation defense or if they aren’t familiar with the BRN and the BRN’s lawyers, it could cost even more because you, as the client, will be paying for their learning curve. (If the attorney you are talking to handles less than 100 NP License Defense cases per year he is dabbling in that practice area… don’t let him “practice” on you!) If the case is fairly cut and dry and no experts are needed, then 2 days of hearing, plus a day of preparation, plus travel and costs is going to be about $10,000.00 at the usual rate of $300.00 per hour. If there are any extra cost, experts, travel time, or if the case is complicated at all, the retainer could easily be $15,000.00.
This “license defense lawyer” will not tell you that you can avoid the hearing entirely. The lawyer will not tell you that in addition to what you pay in retainer fees to them, your fines to the Board will be just as horrendous if you go to hearing. They WILL NOT happily point out that every accusation is a potential candidate for a Stipulated Settlement Negotiation and Agreement. They WILL NOT tell you that after paying $10,000.00 that the decision proposed by the Judge at the hearing is only ADVISORY to the BRN, just as is the Stipulated Settlement. And what they absolutely WILL NOT TELL YOU is that Stipulated Settlements achieve the same results as a hearing and will be tens of thousands of dollars less in fees for you.
But I will happily tell you all of that. You are under enough stress over the possibility of losing your license; you don’t need the extra stress of having to pay $10,000 to save it! Please give me a call and I will gladly explain:
- what a Stipulated Settlement Negotiation and Agreement is and why we advocate for them for OUR clients;
- what you can expect from this point forward;
- what the potential outcomes will be;
- what you need to do right now to preserve your rights and critical deadlines;
- what our panel attorney’s extremely reasonable, 100% dependable flat fee is;
- how you can save even more as a RN Guardian member.
This is not to say that in some cases, under rare circumstances, that a hearing is not advisable. But for NP’s with a DUI Accusation, we think it is highway robbery to push one, and we won’t. RNG’s panel attorneys defend hundreds of these cases per year. We know the BRN and the BRN’s attorneys. We know how to negotiate successful outcomes for our DUI convicted nurses, and we know for a fact that it doesn’t have to cost ten grand. 1-800-506-9766