Are you filling out your LVN License Application with a past conviction?
It’s that time of year again; classes are wrapping up, and student nurses are getting ready to fill out their LVN license applications when they realize that they must disclose a past conviction to the BVNPT. This always causes a bit of panic because any misdemeanor that can be related to the practice of nursing is cause for the BVNPT to deny your LVN license application. In order to ease some of your anxiety, I thought I would share some of the reasons student nurses have their applications denied and give you a few pointers on the top things you can do to increase your chances of getting your license free and clear.
Alcohol and Drug Related Convictions often mean LVN license application denial.
By FAR, the reason that student nurses most often have their LVN license application denied is for an alcohol-related conviction. Typically, it is a DUI, but it may also be labeled as:
- Drunk in Public
- Disturbing the Peace
- Wet and Reckless
- Dry Reckless (if alcohol is mentioned in the arrest or police report)
- Possession of a Controlled Substance (or any drug or medication-related conviction.)
The BVNPT will discipline a licensed LVN for any alcohol or drug-related conviction, so it makes sense that you would have some issues with your LVN license application if you have a drunk skeleton in your closet.
WHAT YOU CAN DO?
- The best thing you can do is have the conviction expunged. If the arrest or conviction is recent (less than 3 years) it will be in your interest to try to get the court to give an early termination of probation and an early expungement.
- Go to AA meetings or counseling. Anyone can say “I learned my lesson and I’ll never drink and drive again,” but an AA sign-in sheet or evaluation from a counselor is evidence of rehabilitation and goes a long way with the BVNPT.
- Get letters of recommendation and performance evaluations from your employer (does not have to be in the medical field) and anyone else who can write a character reference for you. It is more meaningful if they mention the conviction and state it is out of character for you.
- Make sure you have certified documents from the court for the conviction. If the records are too old (this is a good thing!) make sure to have the court give you a statement in writing that the records have been expunged and are no longer available.
- Get some professional help with the application and mitigation packet. Hiring an attorney who knows what they are doing when it comes to the BVNPT can mean the difference between getting the LVN license free and clear upon applying or getting denied and starting out on probation.
THEFT OR FRAUD CONVICTIONS
Any conviction involving theft or fraud will cause problems for you with your LVN license application. Follow the same steps mentioned in the previous WHAT YOU CAN DO section without the AA meetings.
THE SNEAKY STUFF YOU NEED TO DISCLOSE BUT MAY MISS
- All alcohol-related convictions, INCLUDING INFRACTIONS, must be disclosed to the BVNPT.
- All other misdemeanor convictions are required to be disclosed to the BVNPT.
- All infractions with fines more than $1000 must be disclosed to the BVNPT.
- All expunged records, including deferred judgments or “set aside convictions” from other states must be disclosed!
You are required to write a letter of explanation and submit all requisite paperwork for every disclosure. Failure to properly disclose will guarantee denial of your license based on an attempt to “fraudulently procure a license.” Even if you get your license, it will be revoked later. Making sure that you include everything that is required and adequately explain your incident without saying too much or making things worse for yourself is critical.
STUFF YOU DON’T NEED TO REALLY WORRY ABOUT
Even though you may have been arrested, that does not mean you were convicted of a misdemeanor. Many arrests actually result in reductions in infractions. Many cases get dropped completely. If you were handcuffed and carted off in the back of a squad car, taken to jail, booked and fingerprinted, then went to court, were sentenced by a judge, and had to pay a huge fine and do community service, you were probably convicted of a misdemeanor, and you need to report it to the BVNPT.
If you were given a ticket or fingerprinted and released and never went to court, you probably don’t have to worry about it. Make 100% sure that you are 100% sure of what should be disclosed or not. The last thing you want to do is disclose something you didn’t need to disclose. This can cause a delay in your application and may cause unnecessary denials or appeals of your license.
THE POSSIBLE OUTCOMES
Once you have applied for your LVN license and properly disclosed your past conviction or incident, there are a few ways this can go (listed from the best to the worst outcome):
- Your LVN license application will be approved on its face, and you will be able to sit for your Boards.
- Your LVN license application will be denied, and you will be given permission to sit for the NCLEX but the results will not be released until you’ve appealed the denial.
- Upon appeal, you are given your LVN license fee and clear with no restrictions.
- Upon appeal, you are given your LVN license with a Letter of Public Reprimand.
- Upon appeal, you are given your LVN license with Probation with a Rule Out Provision.
- Upon appeal, you are given your LVN license with all 19 Probation requirements.*
- Upon appeal, you are denied your LVN license and must wait a year to apply again.*
Number 7 and 8 are most often the result when LVN applicants attempt to do this alone and handle the application and appeal themselves. A professional attorney experienced in LVN applications can assure you have the best possible chance to work with the BVNPT and achieve your goal of becoming a nurse!
THE TIME FRAMES
It takes 4- 6 weeks for the BVNPT to issue you your test date and approve your LVN license application if there are no issues. If the license is going to be denied, this will take 8 to 12 weeks. From the time you let the BVNPT know you want to appeal the denial until you receive the Statement of Issues, it will have taken 4-6 months. The negotiation of the Statement of Issues takes 2 months, and then it will take the BVNPT another month to adopt the decision.
Please know that if your license is denied and you must appeal, it will take almost a year for you to get your license. This is important to know, especially if you have a job offer on the table after graduation.
When LVN students hire us, they can be assured that their application will contain everything required, the letter of explanation will be vetted by an attorney who knows the BVNPT, and that they have given themselves the best possible chance of getting their LVN license free and clear out of the gate. We’ve had tremendous success in getting our student LVNs unrestricted licenses, and we would be happy to help you, too.
Don’t feel like you have to fight for your RN/LVN license by yourself. Our expert nurse attorneys have an excellent track record of defending and retaining licenses against the board. Don’t make the common mistake of trying to do this alone and jeopardize losing your license to nurse. Take the first step towards peace of mind by contacting our team today.