FAQContact usTerms of servicePrivacy Policy

What is the best approach when revealing past criminal charges to the board and how will they affect my RN license?

Friday November 9, 2012
Printer Icon
Select Text Size: Zoom In Zoom Out
Share this Nurse.com Article
rss feed

Dear Nancy,

I am an RN, and in 2010 I was charged with driving under the influence twice. On one of the charges, the prosecution was deferred. The next year I was charged with trespassing and possessing alcohol illegally in a park. The alcohol charge was dismissed. After the DUIs and deferred convictions, I was ordered by the court to undergo intensive outpatient treatment and join Alcoholics Anonymous for two years. I took a leave of absence from nursing to focus on my overall health and help my family with other responsibilities. I've been sober and completed the two-year treatment with no other violations, other than a trespassing charge, for which I am seeking legal advice. Ive not been able to go back to work as a nurse for more than two years, because of various factors such as family obligations and the economy. So far, my record is clean because I never reported these charges to the board, because I was misinformed about the need to do so. I have heard horror stories about severe actions being taken against an RN after DUI charges, and I need some advice. I have not worked since I was sentenced and completed my treatment. Before returning to work, I plan to take refresher courses. What is the best approach when presenting these charges to the board? How will they affect my RN license?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Ginger,

Your best approach to your situation is to seek specific advice from a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who you can help you with presenting this matter to the board of nursing. One aspect is that you state you were misinformed about reporting the charges to the board. If this can be proven to the satisfaction of the board, it may be a mitigating factor that works for you. Obviously, intentionally not reporting subsequent charges to the board, when you knew you should have, is a very different thing than not reporting because you were not aware that you had a duty to do so.

Also, the attorney representing you for the trespassing incident may be very helpful to you. He or she can attest to your subsequent charges if you discussed this with the attorney and particularly whether the issue of reporting alleged violations was brought up during your current representation.

You should be commended on successfully completing treatment and being clean and sober since then. That is an accomplishment. The board may want to monitor you for some time, possibly place you on a probationary status to ensure no further problems arise but you still would be able to work and maintain your RN license, if that is what they decide.


Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.