These are the stories that break my heart, as the owner of a company that defends nurses’ licenses. I received a call from a LVN today who is on probation and has had a petition to revoke probation filed against her. She is definitely in jeopardy of losing her LVN license and there is absolutely no reason it should have come to this.
THE DUI ARREST
In 2013, the LVN was pulled over “for swerving” and eventually arrested for a DUI. She admitted to having one drink and then driving. Her BAC came back at .88% and .92% via a breathalyzer test. That is like 2 sips over the legal limit. For DUI attorneys, these are the facts that dreams are made of! This client would have almost been guaranteed a reduction to a wet and reckless conviction! She didn’t have a DUI attorney and so she just plead no contest and was convicted of a standard DUI.
DISCLOSURE TO THE LVN BOARD
The LVN did not disclose the arrest or the conviction to the BVNPT. LVNS are required by the BVNPT to disclose an arrest within 30 days and keep the BVNPT informed regarding the conviction. For LVN license defense attorneys, this client would have almost certainly been issued a Citation and Fine from the BVNPT if she had been convicted of a Wet and Reckless and disclosed it on time. Instead, 2 years later, the BVNPT filed a formal Accusation against her LVN license, calling for revocation of the license.
ACCUSATION FILED AGAINST THE LVN LICENSE
A Hearing was scheduled and just prior to the Hearing, the Deputy Attorney General called the LVN and offered her probation instead of having to go to a hearing and possibly having her license revoked. The LVN accepted the Stipulated Settlement, understandably. She was afraid and didn’t know her options.
However, had she had our LVN license defense attorneys representing her once the Accusation had been filed, we would have negotiated a settlement from the beginning, which would have very likely resulted in a Letter of Public Reprimand from the BVNPT, and nothing more because her BAC was so low and the arrest was so long ago. At the very least, we would have argued that the client did not need the alcohol or drug requirements of probation, because she had stopped drinking entirely and was not a risk of reoccurrence.
LVN LICENSE PROBATION
Without any representation, the LVN was placed on probation for 3 years in 2016, subject to all probation requirements, including the drug and alcohol requirements, which requiring daily calls in and random urine screens, among other requirements. She was a little late submitting her continuing education requirements. She didn’t know her employer wasn’t sending in her quarterly reports to the BVNPT, so she violated the reporting requirement. She missed calling in on 3 occasions to go get urine tests. She is in violation of probation and now the DAG is attempting to revoke her LVN license for the violation.
In the unlikely event that this LVN had ended up on probation with us defending her in the first place, she would have been fully prepared for what was expected of her on probation and how critical her perfect compliance would be. Our attorneys would have explained the probation requirements in full and in detail. Even if there had been one or 2 violations, we could have helped with a statement to the BVNPT.
VIOLATION OF PROBATION AND REVOCATION
At this point, she is scrambling to try to save her LVN license from being revoked and is hoping to succeed at her upcoming hearing. At this point, she understands the importance of having an attorney represent her, we all just hope it isn’t too late.
The reason that stories like this LVN’s are so sad is because I totally understand what happened and why. I understand that this woman is the type of person who takes responsibility for her actions, and so she plead no contest to a DUI because by law, she WAS driving under the influence. I understand that she didn’t disclose it on time to the BVNPT, because who knows all of the rules and regulations of license reporting requirements (other than us, of course)? I understand that she didn’t retain an attorney to help her once the Accusation was filed by the BVNPT, because attorneys are expensive and she probably thought she could do ok at a Hearing on her own and keep her license. And finally, I understand that she was scared into accepting an atrocious settlement deal at the 11th hour to avoid the Hearing altogether.
WHY AN ATTORNEY WOULD HAVE COST $15K LESS
The problem with it all, is that the deck was so stacked against her. The legal system will chew you up and spit you out for “accepting responsibility for your actions”, for not knowing all the crazy little rules, policies, regulations and laws and for not knowing your rights and how to fight for them. It’s true. Attorneys are expensive, but because it is our job to know all of this, 90% of the time, it ends up being less expensive to hire a lawyer than it is to dig yourself out of the trouble you get into for not having one. Let’s look at the numbers.
DUI defense to get a reduction to a Wet and Reckless is $3500.00. Disclosure to the BVNPT is $2000.00. This is where this should have ended. The nurse should have got a wet and reckless and a citation from the BVNPT. She would have spent $5500.00 for an attorney and $750.00 in fines to the Board. Had she skipped this step and had the Accusation filed and retained an attorney at that stage, we would have charged her $4000.00 to reach a settlement with a Letter of Public Reprimand and she would have owed around $2000.00 to the BVNPT in fines. As it stands, she has had to pay $400.00 per month in compliance costs for the probation requirements she accepted, fines to the BVNPT of $4000.00 and needs to retain us now for a hearing to save her license from revocation at a price tag of $6000.00. It will cost her total of $24,400.00 for not using an attorney from the beginning.
The silver lining in all of this is that she found us now. I am 100% confident that we will be able to save her LVN license from being revoked and I think we have an excellent chance of getting the Judge to agree that her probation be modified so she doesn’t have to do the expensive drug and alcohol requirements for the rest of probation. As a working LVN, she will be able to pay off her fees eventually and keep the career she loves.
If you are an LVN and have been recently arrested for a DUI, please call us. We have defended tousands of nurses, none of whom have EVER had a license revoked for a DUI and we have never had a client pay us anything close to $24,400.00 for help. I will listen to the details of your case, give you a concrete idea of what to expect moving forward and provide you with a dependable and affordable fee to protect and save your LVN license.