My name is Jennifer Coalson-Perez and I am Partner and CEO of RN Guardian, a legal company that specializes in defending California nurses and representing student applicants.
We get many calls from nursing students with past arrests or convictions who are graduating, getting ready to apply for their licenses and looking for some help with that process. Thus, we are also hearing that incomplete, incorrect, or outdated instructions provided by some schools
are unfortunately resulting in the applicant having their licenses denied.

While I am not at all suggesting you are one of those schools, I thought it safest to reach out with a quick update as there are some big changes happening in regards to the licensing application process and laws around disclosures.

In short, a new law (AB2138) took effect July 1, 2020, closing a HUGE loophole in the existing policy for applicants with a prior conviction. So, if you have students applying for a new RN or LVN license who have a prior conviction from more than 7 years ago, they have a newfound advantage when it comes to receiving their license.

Before July 1, the BRN and BVNPT couldn’t deny a license based solely on a prior conviction that has been expunged. However, they COULD deny the applicant based on the incident that lead to the conviction. For example, if a student has a DUI that has been expunged, the BRN cannot deny their application for the conviction, but they can deny the license based on the fact that they were “using alcohol in a manner dangerous to yourself or others.” Under AB 2138, that changed.

Now, the BRN and BVNPT cannot deny a license for the conviction or the underlying incident as long as 1.) the conviction has been expunged OR 2.) there is a certificate of rehabilitation AND the conviction is more than 7 years old.
This is great news for applicants with old convictions, but what if the arrest or conviction is more recent than 7 years?

Well, then they can still apply for the RN or LVN license with a recent conviction or even an arrest, but the likelihood of their application being denied increases.

In some cases, it is a certainty. The BRN and BVNPT will deny a license application if the applicant is still on summary probation with the courts. The BRN and BVNPT will deny the license application if there is an arrest on the applicant’s record that has not been adjudicated. This doesn’t mean they won’t get their license, it just means they will have to go through the appeal process in order to get it.

If the applicant wins the appeal (and we almost always do) the license will be granted but it will have some sort of disciplinary action attached to it, like a letter of public reprimand or probation.

So, if you have students applying for a new RN or LVN license, here is what they need to know:

1. They must disclose convictions, even if expunged, dismissed, deferred, dropped, etc.

2. In most cases, they DO NOT need to disclose an arrest or detainment that did not result
in charges being filed (this is always a gray area).

3. They must still disclose any conviction, (including those in #1) even if it is more than 7 years old.

We are really happy about this new law, which is why we are taking the time to write you!

It gives your students with old mistakes the opportunity to get their licenses free and clear without having to go through the appeal process and without having old mistakes dragged back out and made public.

It doesn’t change anything for students who are applying with convictions less than 7 years old and it doesn’t change the fact that they still must disclose everything.
If you have student applicants with any past arrest or convictions to disclose, we are happy to offer them a complimentary consultation and if they would like representation during the process.

We offer excellent rates for that service. After investing so much time, effort, and financial resources into getting their licenses, I know many of our clients are happy to have a resource available to make sure the application for licensure goes as smoothly as possible.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. We are here as a resource for you and your school as well.

Jennifer Coalson-Perez
Partner and CEO
RN Guardian