Driving under the influence is a criminal offense, attracting severe penalties for guilty parties. As a registered nurse, you risk facing harsh criminal punishments like jail time, fines, and losing your license. Based on this, you need to understand the effects of a nurse arrested for a DUI and the essential factors to consider in your case.

If you are a first-time DUI offender, consider also working with a license defense attorney to help you navigate the charges. Partnering with a trusted license defense lawyer can help you defend your nursing license and reduce your chances of losing your career over a DUI charge. You will retain your practice privileges with a reliable legal team, so consult their services as soon as possible.

How DUI Charges Affect Your Nursing License

Driving while drunk attracts legal repercussions for your actions, including arrest and conviction for the offense. Additionally, your professional license may be jeopardized, so understanding how a DUI charge can affect your nursing license is essential.

As a registered professional, you are under the supervision of the California Board of Registered Nursing. The board is responsible for ensuring that all nurses comply with the standards of practice, including upholding proper behavior. Additionally, the board oversees complaints and criminal issues related to registered nurses, giving them the authority to handle license disputes.

Since you are answerable to the board after your involvement in any actions undermining your behavioral standing, you should consider working with a license defense attorney to help you prepare for the upcoming procedures. After facing a DUI, you should also identify your responsibilities as a nurse to ensure you comply with the specifications within the required time.

Complying With Your Affirmative Disclosure Requirement

When you face arrest and face your DUI charges, you will follow a specific course of action based on the severity of your case. The first step is to attend your DUI hearings for determination, where a Department of Motor Vehicles officer or a judge will preside over your case. If found guilty of the alleged DUI accusation, you are also answerable to the Board of Registered Nursing and may be subject to additional professional consequences.

Based on this, the board expects you to adhere to an affirmative disclosure agreement that requires you to inform the board members in the event of a criminal conviction. You must present information on your sentence within thirty days of receiving a formal court order, making it necessary to follow the correct procedure in obtaining the court details. Therefore, partnering with a license defense attorney is advisable, as they have experience handling similar cases.

When preparing the information to present to the board, you must include all relevant details, regardless of whether your matter was determined after a full trial or after pleading guilty to the DUI charge. The board will assess each case based on its unique circumstances, so you do not have to worry about justifying the DUI case outcome during the disclosure stage.

The duty to disclose your criminal history also extends to expunged cases, as you will still undergo trial and conviction. Usually, a record expungement means that your case details are inaccessible to the general public because the court found it suitable to seal them. Despite this, your court records may still be relevant in assessing your suitability to continue practicing as a nurse.

Further, you must continue your disclosure duties every time you renew your nursing license to update the Board of Registered Nursing on your current status. Based on this, you can keep your nursing license provided you observe the required updating obligations to the board.

Punishments Issued to Parties with a Guilty DUI Charge

To understand how a DUI conviction may affect your nursing license, you need to assess the possible penalties issued after the DMV officer or a judge finds you guilty of an offense. Some punishments directly help with your reform, while others limit your access to the outside world, making continuing your nursing practice less feasible.

The following are the main DUI penalties you may receive after a conviction and their possible effects on your license:

License Suspension

 Having your driver's license suspended can be disadvantageous, as it limits your mobility as a driver. Subsequently, moving to your workplace is more complicated, and you may miss essential work schedules. If you work in the emergency response unit, a driver's license suspension prevents you from attending to patients during emergency ambulance runs.

Although a driver’s license suspension is temporary, it may still affect your practice as a nurse and reduce your effectiveness during work hours. Avoiding the penalty is helpful, as you will have an easier time readjusting to your everyday life. However, the penalty can deter you from repeating the offense if you are already convicted and have completed your sentence.

 Serving a Jail Sentence

 Receiving a jail sentence is also common after a DUI hearing, especially if your actions caused a menace and resulted in significant losses to a third party. Jail sentences vary based on the nature of your DUI charge. As a misdemeanor DUI offender, you may face between six months and one year in jail, while felony offenders may face additional jail sentences of up to three years.

Spending time away from your nursing practice may interfere with your ability to deliver services with the same quality as before, as you will be out of practice for a while. Further, spending time in jail may attract further scrutiny of your records compared to someone who received an alternative penalty like finent or probation.

The DUI penalty can thus have a severe adverse effect on your nursing license, and you need to consult your license defense attorney on an effective way to defend your license. Further, you can discuss the possible decisions that the board of registered nursing may arrive at based on your conviction circumstances and prepare defenses accordingly.

 Mandatory DUI School Attendance

 Attending mandatory DUI school can help you reform from future involvement in drunk driving, making it a positive aspect to persuade the board to let you retain your nursing license. DUI school provides training on safe driving, the adverse effects of driving while under the influence, and how to keep yourself and other road users safe.

Additionally, you can learn more about how to manage your addiction after receiving a diagnosis, making it a crucial step in readjusting to society. Completing DUI school, therefore, allows you to demonstrate your ability to reform after receiving the relevant information on how to avoid repeating the offense.

 Mandatory Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device

 Alternatively, you may have received a mandatory order to install an ignition interlock device in your car. It locks your engine system and only allows you to start your vehicle after blowing into the device, which captures your alcohol concentration.

Since you will be restricted to only driving if your blood alcohol concentration is below a specific limit, you are in a better position to demonstrate your effort towards avoiding drunk driving. You can also show your ability to remain consistent if the ignition interlock device has always worked since its installation.

As a registered nurse trying to retain your professional license, you can also state that the presence of an interlock device is a deterrent to driving while intoxicated. Based on this, the board may be more convinced to allow you back to work, provided you can also show that you will uphold the practice even after you remove the interlock device.

 Community Service

 Performing community service requires you to participate in a court-mandated volunteer program around your community. You will often work in a large group to complete a project to improve the society around you, and you must complete it to close your case.

Having faced a DUI conviction, community service may include providing primary education on why drunk driving is dangerous. If used well, the experience can help persuade the Board of Registered Nursing to allow you to retain your license. Your basis for the request would be that you have participated in service, similar to your role as a nurse.

 Serving a DUI Probation Sentence

 DUI probation sentences are an alternative to spending time in jail. They encompass most court orders discussed above, like mandatory DUI school attendance and community service. However, you are answerable to a DUI officer in this case, and they constantly report your progress to the court.

If you have a positive case progress report, you can use these details to justify retaining your nursing license as you demonstrate your commitment to change. Thus, consider requesting your license defense attorney access the relevant information to present to the board of registered nursing if a license hearing occurs.

Preparing for Your Hearing Before the Board of Registered Nursing

After the board of registered nursing reviews your DUI conviction, they may decide to call for a hearing on your matter. The main goal of holding the hearing is to give you a chance to justify why you should not have your license suspended or revoked.

The license hearing is essential to safeguarding your career, so you must adequately prepare for it. Your license defense attorney steps in during the preparation process to ensure you obtain the relevant evidence, documents, and additional argument points so you do not have to worry about undertaking all responsibilities alone.

Your legal team helps obtain relevant information about the hearing from the board, including the hearing location and time. Additionally, your attorney reviews the claims the board intends to refer to when determining whether to allow you to retain your license.

Additional preparation measures that the board may undertake include establishing that you have disclosed your DUI record on time to avoid other punishment from the board. Once all factors are in place, you will appear for the hearing and present your defenses to help you retain your nursing license.

Elements for the Board of Registered Nursing to Consider During Your Hearing

During the hearing, the Board of Registered Nursing use certain elements to determine whether to suspend, revoke, or retain your nursing license. Based on this, they have specific aspects that they must assess to establish how serious your DUI charge was and whether you can continue with your duties as a nurse. They include:

The Nature of Your DUI Charge

 DUI charges vary in severity, making it essential for the Board of Registered Nurses to establish your case's circumstances. For example, if your charge was a simple first-time DUI offense, you are less likely to receive a severe professional license suspension or revocation.

On the other hand, involvement in serious DUI charges that cause severe harm, damage to property, or death raises your chances of losing your practice license. The board reviews the court or DMV proceedings that resulted in your DUI conviction to establish the main elements. If outstanding circumstances caused another person harm, you can expect the board to ask for a justification to retain your nursing license.

 Whether You Have an Existing Criminal History

 A criminal record beyond your DUI charge is disadvantageous, as it attracts additional scrutiny of your character and professionalism. Although the board may be aware of your previous criminal records because of the mandatory disclosure requirements, they will raise the issue in the current hearing.

The main factor for the board to consider when assessing your criminal history is whether a pattern of character flaws exists. If they make a reasonable conclusion that you are prone to violating the law, you are at a higher risk of a professional license suspension or revocation.

 The Success Rate of Your DUI Probation Period

 As discussed, having a successful probation period can positively impact the board hearing, giving you a better chance of retaining your nursing license. The board assesses reports that indicate your conduct, consistency, and ability to reform during the probationary period.

If your probation officer left a positive review at the end of your probationary duration, you can look forward to having an easier time persuading the Board of Registered Nursing to allow license retention.

 Whether Your DUI Record is Expunged

A record expungement is also a positive sign of reform during the board hearing, and it may help you retain your nursing license. This is mainly because you only receive a record expungement after convincing the judge that you served your sentence accordingly and fulfilled all court requirements.

Therefore, parties with an expunged record can advocate retaining their licenses easier than someone whose previous criminal records are still publicly accessible.

Consequences of DUI Punishments on Your Nursing License

After assessing the main elements of your DUI case, the California Board of Registered Nursing will determine whether to allow you to retain your license. You are likely to receive this verdict if you are a first-time DUI offender facing misdemeanor charges.

Alternatively, you may receive a nursing license suspension if your case involves more severe charges or if you are a second-time offender. A suspended license lasts for a defined time, after which you can apply for license reinstatement to allow you back to work.

The most severe outcome of a license hearing is a revocation, which involves losing your license indefinitely. You may receive this verdict after facing a felony DUI charge, often issued for violating DUI laws four times or more. If so, you may lose your right to continue practicing entirely, and you may need additional help to reinstate your license with your attorney’s help.

Defenses to Help You Retain Your Nursing License

If you are dissatisfied with the decision that the California Board of Registered Nursing makes, you can raise the following defenses to persuade them to reconsider their verdict:

  • The arresting officers did not present a probable cause for arrest
  • You did not operate a vehicle
  • The DUI testing process involved errors
  • Your blood alcohol concentration levels do not indicate intoxication
  • A health condition triggered false DUI results
  • You failed the DUI field sobriety tests because of external environmental factors

Contact a License Defense Attorney Near Me

When you face arrest for driving under the influence, you risk more than facing criminal penalties. Your nursing license may be at risk due to the disciplinary requirements the nursing board imposes on you. Due to this, you need to understand the effects of a DUI charge on your nursing license soon after arrest to help you determine the most effective solutions for your case.

At The Legal Guardian, we dedicate our services to helping you retain your nurse license even after facing DUI charges. We understand the effects of a criminal record on your professional life and are equipped to help you avoid severe outcomes like losing your license. By engaging us, you can look forward to receiving sound legal advice and representation in court.

We also remain available for consultation on additional matters that may concern you and our services are accessible in Long Beach, California. If you or a loved one faces DUI charges that jeopardize your nursing license, call us today at 866-448-6811.