A cop car and sirens that pulled over an intoxicated nurse.

You probably already know what a DUI is, driving under the influence (of alcohol or drugs). It’s a severe offense and could cost you your nursing license. A “wet reckless” is considered a lesser offense and is similar to reckless driving, except your criminal record will have a note that drugs and/or alcohol were involved. Should you possibly be charged with a DUI, there are some things you should know.

Agree to Nothing

The most important thing you need to know is that you should not agree to anything right away. Most likely, you will be charged with a DUI and not a Wet and Reckless. If charged with a DUI, you might be pressured to agree to anything to make this nightmare situation go away quickly. Don’t. 


We strongly encourage you to seek representation. The proper legal counsel can help ensure you are not waiving your rights or incriminating yourself.

Shortly after the arrest, the BRN or BVNPT may ask you to make a statement or enroll in the Intervention or Diversion Program. Don’t. You should not make any statements about the arrest while your case is still open. Let an experienced attorney handle all initial disclosures for you. You don’t want to outright ignore any requests for information, but you need to disclose the situation in a timely manner. Otherwise, you could be charged with unprofessional conduct. It’s best to let an attorney handle everything on your behalf, so you don’t accidentally incriminate yourself.


Why a Wet Reckless Charge is Better than a DUI

On paper, there’s not much difference between a DUI and wet and reckless. However, as far as the California Board of Registered Nurses is concerned, there is a big difference, and these are the people that hold your career in their hands.

To the BRN and BVNPT, a ‘wet reckless’ is a more minor issue, and we can convince them it is not a violation of the Nurse Practice Act. 

With a wet reckless, you will likely receive a citation and a fine. But with a DUI, you could have your license revoked.

Of course, you will need legal representation to help you reduce the charge from a DUI to a Wet and Reckless.


Protecting Your License

As long as you properly and timely disclose your Wet and Reckless conviction with the BRN, the worst you are likely to receive is a citation and a fine, which will come with a charge of about $1,000. The citation will be removed from your record after three years. Neither of these is considered formal discipline against your RN license. But a DUI accusation is.


What Happens If You Get a DUI

As we’ve mentioned, a DUI is a much worse offense. Not only will you be disciplined based on state laws, but a nurse convicted of a DUI faces much more costly fines and could lose their license to practice. So basically, your career is on the line here.


What Happens if You Don’t Disclose Your DUI or Wet and Reckless

The BRN will find out, regardless. If you choose not to disclose, they will find out from law enforcement. This will worsen your situation, even if the charge is reduced to a Wet and Reckless. By not reporting promptly to the BRN, you are now also facing additional penalties for unprofessional conduct. It’s best just to report it.


You Need a Lawyer Who Knows DUI Law

Not only do you need a lawyer who is well-versed regarding DUIs, but you also need one who knows the nursing profession. This is the best way to protect your personal and professional life. 

Here at RN Guardian, we work specifically with nursing professionals. We have a proven track record of helping nurses keep their careers and dignity. We can help you.