Will a DUI cause my nursing license to be revoked?

If you are a California Registered Nurse who has recently been arrested for a DUI, this question has been burning in your mind since you saw the flashing blue and red and they pulled you over. You thought about it all the way to the station. You thought about how the DUI was going to impact your RN license and your career the whole time you were being printed and for the hours you were in holding. In fact, this is probably the first search you do when you get your phone back, so let me answer your question and put your mind at ease:

The BRN CAN revoke your registered nursing license for a DUI.

We have NEVER had one of our clients have their RN license revoked for a DUI.

Here’s the scoop: A DUI conviction is a violation of the Nurse Practice Act. It is “using Alcohol in manner that is dangerous to oneself or others,” and it is absolutely a revocable offense. Because you are live-scan fingerprinted, the BRN will receive notice of the DUI arrest through the DOJ almost immediately. The BRN will send you a letter that offers you the option to participate in their Diversion program (more on that in the Diversion section of the Blog.) 

If you do not reply to that letter, they may send you a second that is exactly the same. Also, the BRN has recently been sending out letters asking for an explanation of the arrest, but prior to the conviction. It is important that you DO NOT REPLY TO THIS LETTER!

The next step of the DUI that pertains to your nursing license is the mandated disclosure upon conviction. You MUST disclose the CONVICTION to the BRN, not the arrest, the CONVICTION. You must do this within 30 days. It is at this point that most nurses choose to get some legal assistance. The disclosure requires a letter of explanation regarding the DUI. Statements made to the BRN cannot be changed or altered once made and this disclosure can help or hurt you. Done right, it is possible that the only impact to your RN license will be a citation and fine (more on that here.)  Done wrong and the case gets turned over to the deputy attorney general who will file an accusation against your nursing license.

It is at the Accusation stage that the BRN calls for your nursing license to be revoked. Obviously, if you can avoid the case progressing to this stage, that is the best scenario. If the matter does get to this point, then legal assistance is essential. Remember what I said: RN Guardians’ panel attorneys have NEVER had a nurse lose their RN license for a DUI. Not Ever. At the Accusation stage, our attorneys negotiate directly with the deputy attorney general to reduce your nursing license discipline from revocation to something less, like a letter of reprimand or probation.  You can also go to a Hearing to achieve the same result.

So while this may sound self-serving and sales pitchy, the reality is that your recent DUI arrest CAN result in your RN license being revoked but that doesn’t mean it WILL be. Nurses who call us immediately following the DUI arrest are ushered through the entire process by a team of legal specialists and attorneys whose sole focus is you keeping your registered nursing license and your job and we’ve been successful in accomplishing that in every single case prior to you. We can represent you with the DUI itself, ensuring that protecting your RN license and job is the focus (see why that is important, here). We will represent you with the disclosure to the BRN, giving you the best chance at a low-level discipline like a citation and fine. If it gets to the Accusation stage, we will save your RN license from being revoked.

So now that you know you don’t have to lose your nursing license, you’re thinking about how much it is going to cost you to keep it. You may have heard horror stories of RNs spending $10,000.00 or more just to defend the RN license itself, that’s on top of the fees to the DUI lawyers! We are able to represent you in the DUI, handle your DMV Hearing, do your BRN conviction disclosure and represent you if you have an accusation filed, for about ¾ of that amount.

If you are a registered nurse recently arrested for a DUI, please give me call (800) 506-9766, for a complimentary consultation. I will listen to the details of your case, let you know what you can expect based on your unique situation and offer you a no-pressure option to keep your nursing license and your career.