Why Bother Having My DUI Expunged if I’m a Nurse?
A criminal conviction for a Registered Nurse can be devastating to your career and the most common for RN’s are Driving Under the Influence, or DUI convictions. In California, these records are automatically forwarded to the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) enforcement unit and are usually followed by a formal accusation by the Board against your Nursing (RN) license. So just as you are in the midst of completing your punishment for the DUI, your criminal record will very likely be held against you with the Board of Nursing.
Despite popular misconception, a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction in California does not go off of your criminal record in seven years. In fact, it stays on your record for life unless you are proactive and have the DUI expunged. Only a judge can authorize a change to your criminal record. An expungement does not erase your California criminal record, but it will make it so your prior criminal conviction cannot be used against you in most situations. Applying for, or renewing a Nursing license is NOT one of those. You must still disclose a criminal conviction to the BRN, even if it has been expunged. According to the BRN itself, “you are required to report a conviction that was expunged. The law specifies that it does not relieve you from the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct questions contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency.”
So why bother? Because the expungement will be considered by the Board of Nursing with regards to license discipline. Title 16, California Code of Regulations, section 1445 states in part, “When considering the suspension or revocation of a license on the grounds that a registered nurse has been the has been convicted of a crime, the board, in evaluating the rehabilitation of such a person and his/her eligibility for a license will consider the following criteria: …(5) If applicable, evidence of expungement proceedings pursuant to Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code. Also, if you obtain and expungement and find yourself in some new criminal trouble, the first conviction cannot be used as a “prior conviction” for purposes of defending your new case.
The California expungement process is not overly complex.
- You have to know WHAT you were convicted of and the exact nature of the penalties imposed; certain crimes as well as serving time in state prison make you ineligible for criminal record expungement in California.
- You will need to have completed ALL of your probation requirements in order to be entitled to expungement In California.
- Also, depending on your circumstances, there may be additional steps involved in expunging your record.
So even though you are still required to disclose a conviction to the Board of Nursing, having your DUI expunged can go a long way toward helping you avoid what many consider the most critical consequence for a nurse: having your Registered Nursing License revoked. If you would like more information, would like assistance with your expungement or have questions regarding how a DUI can impact your Nursing License, feel free to call me at 916-851-1900.