My newest nurse client has had her RN license suspended for the last 8 weeks and is losing her job as the result of a first time DUI arrest that hasn’t even gone to court yet. Why? Her DUI attorney gave her horrible advice because he had no idea what he was doing when it came to the nurse’s RN license or dealing with the BRN. Here is what happened.
The nurse was arrested for a DUI early in December 2016 with a relatively low blood alcohol content of .11% BAC. She hired a local DUI attorney who assured her that he was familiar with the BRN and had represented nurses before. She had done some research online (RN Guardian’s Blog, actually) and knew that getting her DUI reduced down to a Wet and Reckless was going to be important when it came to the BRN and her RN license. Her DUI attorney told her that getting the reduction was very possible and began negotiations with the DA. But here is where he totally screwed up: he told her to call the BRN and self report the arrest, and she did.
The BRN transferred her to Maximus, the provider of their Diversion or Intervention program. They did their typical intake call and deactivated the nurse’s RN license. They told her they would send her a packet of information for enrollment. Once the nurse received the Diversion packet and read it over, she realized it was not a good fit for her and called the BRN back, telling them she was not enrolling and to reinstate her license to active status. That was 7 weeks ago and the BRN still has not reinstated her license. She is losing a job of 8 years that she loves, becasue she can’t work without her RN license. She hired us to write a demand letter to the BRN and to properly disclose the CONVICTION to the BRN as required, once her criminal case with her DUI is over.
This never had to happen. This nurse should still have an active license and her job and her income. If our nurse’s DUI lawyer had handled any RN cases before, he would have immediately known that a RN is not required to disclose an arrest, only a conviction. He would also know that “self-reporting” meant calling Maximus and the BRN’s Diversion program and essentially admitting to a dependancy problem. If he had handled more than a few RN DUI’s he would have known that the worst advice you can possibly give to a nurse is to call the BRN to self-report while the criminal case is still pending. He would know that a Wet and Reckless properly disclosed, again upon CONVICTION, would result in a citation and fine from the BRN and nothing more. He would know the call to Diversion would be an unnecessary hassle at best and a three-year nightmare at worst!
Finally, the nurse’s call to Maximus will probably make defending her case with the BRN more difficult in the long run. Think about it… why would someone self-report a DUI arrest and call Diversion if they didn’t have a dependency problem? Regardless of whether this nurse meant to enroll in Diversion or not, she was enrolled and now she is a drop out. It just looks bad.
This is why people hate lawyers, because of situations exactly like this. This guy shouldn’t have touched the BRN side of this client’s case with a 10 foot pole. He should have stuck with what he knew, a simple DUI defense and should have been honest and told our client to find another lawyer who specializes in RN license defense with the BRN. Our nurse lost her license for 2 months. She had to call off work for this entire time. She has had no income and she is probably going to lose her job. It’s repulsive and it is 100% the fault of her prior lawyer who told her knew what he was doing when he emphatically did not. I’m angry about it, can you tell?
Listen, there are literally thousands of DUI attorneys in every jurisdiction. DUI’s are easy-peasy and any yahoo who has passed the Bar should be able to muddle through one with some semblance of competancy. This is NOT the case for RN license defense. You need an attorney who knows the BRN and its lawyers. You need an attorney who knows what the heck they are doing if you want to protect your RN license and your job. If you are serious about defending your RN license following a DUI, your best bet is to hire an attorney who REALLY does know the BRN and can handle your DUI with the sole purpose of protecting your RN license at the end.
I tell clients this every day: We don’t care about your DUI… our only goal in defending your DUI is to protect your RN license at the end of the day. Our sole focus is your career as an RN and preserving that. Defending the DUI is merely a means to an end.
If you are a RN who has been recently arrested for a DUI, please, please, please give us a call first. Even if you don’t end up retaining our panel RN license defense attorneys for your DUI as well, let me give you some pointers so you don’t end up in the same situation as my poor client. Just as you are passionate about nursing, my passion is protecting nurses and I would rather have your RN license and career safe, even if you don’t become my client.