DUI & Your California Nursing License
The BRN and BVNPT has increased disciplinary actions against California nurses arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Unfortunately, DUI convictions not only affect Registered and Licensed Vocational Nurses, but also nursing students. If a DUI has resulted in a Statement of Issues, Accusation or delayed Authorization to Test for the NCLEX call license defense attorney Michael Benavides at (916) 596-1018.
Michael Benavides represents nurses before the Office of Administrative Hearings against the Board of Registered Nursing and Board of Vocational Nursing & Psychiatric Technicians. In addition, Michael Benavides helps nursing students receive their ATT for the NCLEX. To learn more about defending your nursing license for a flat fee call Sacramento Law Group today for a free phone consultation.
Why Does The BRN & BVNPT Take My DUI So Seriously?
“driving under the influence reflects a lack of sound professional and personal judgment, threatens the safety of the public, and demonstrates both a disregard of the medical knowledge of the effects of alcohol and the legal prohibitions against drinking and driving.” (Sulla v. Board of Registered Nursing, citing Griffiths v. Superior Court).
The California Nursing Practice Act identifies unprofessional conduct that may jeopardize the health, safety and welfare of the public and consumers of nursing services. With regard to alcohol, section 2762 states:
[I]t is unprofessional conduct for a person licensed under this chapter to do any of the following:
(b) Use any…alcoholic beverages, to an extent or in a manner dangerous or injurious to himself or herself, any other person, or the public or to the extent that such use impairs his or her ability to conduct with safety to the public the practice authorized by his or her license.
(c) Be convicted of a criminal offense involving the prescription, consumption, or self-administration of any of the substances described in subdivisions (a) and (b) of this section…in which event the record of the conviction is conclusive evidence thereof.
In the eyes of the BRN and BVNPT, a DUI arrest or conviction is evidence of unprofessional conduct warranting disciplinary action including revocation or suspension of the nursing license.
The DUI arrest or conviction evidences use of alcohol injurious to oneself and the public, and such off-the-job misconduct shares an implicit causal nexus with the professional fitness to practice nursing. Accordingly, to downplay the BRN or BVNPT’s public safety concerns and perceived causal nexus between the DUI and professional fitness to practice, your license defense attorney will utilize rehabilitation evidence.
Evidence of alcohol rehabilitation can demonstrate that Driving Under the Influence was an isolated instance of poor judgment not rising to the level of unprofessional conduct warranting disciplinary action. Such rehabilitation evidence may include
- completion of an alcohol treatment program meeting the BRN’s criteria
- nursing employment of 6 months or more with documentation from the employer attesting to (1) knowledge of past alcohol issues and (2) while employed the nurse performed job functions in a safe manner with no evidence of continued alcohol use.
- Written statements from coworkers and supervisors testifying to the nurse’s competence, professionalism, sobriety on the job, etc.
- Written statements from counselors supervising the nurse’s rehabilitation group that include the counselor’s diagnosis of the nurse’s condition and current state of rehabilitation.
- Employer job performance evaluations
- Drug screen reports, if appropriate
- Transcripts or certificates evidencing completion of continuing nursing education taken since the DUI.
Don’t Be An Easy Target
Your nursing license defense attorney will have great bearing on the success of your case. With potential outcomes including revocation, probation and full licensure, you need to hire an attorney with experience and affordable fees. To receive a free phone consultation with attorney Michael Benavides call Sacramento Law Group at (916) 596-1018.