Nursing can be a very stressful job. With long hours, strenuous lifting, and often with little gratitude, a glass of wine after work can help relieve some of the stress. Unfortunately, a couple of drinks may end with getting pulled over by the police, arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), and taken to jail. You may worry, that as if the DUI wasn't bad enough, could the arrest put your nursing career at risk?
Georgia Board of Nursing
The Georgia Board of Nursing is responsible for nurse licensure. This includes not only new nursing applicants, but also for current nurses. According to nursing board policies, they will review any disciplinary issues to determine whether or not the nurse is fit to practice. Any criminal conviction may raise the issue of nursing fitness with the board. Unfortunately, if an LPN or RN, or anyone with a nursing license in Georgia should report a DUI to the board of nursing.
The good news is that, in most cases, having one simple DUI conviction will not mean that you lose your job. It may not even result in any kind of suspension. There is no reason that one mistake should threaten your profession and livelihood. The problems arise when the DUI is accompanied by other charges, such as possession of a controlled dangerous substance, such as cocaine or marijuana. Another area of concern arises when a nurse has a DUI arrest, with prior DUIs.
Driving under the influence of drugs may come with a possession charge, if the driver had some controlled substance on them or in the car at the time of arrest. The board of nursing will likely be more concerned with a drug driving charge than a simple drunk driving charge. And a felony conviction for drugs will automatically result in a suspension or revocation of a nurse's state license.
Multiple DUIs could indicate a problem with substance abuse. If the Georgia Board of Nursing suspects substance abuse, the review will be more heavily scrutinized. Nurses are in a position of trust with patients, doctors and hospitals. If the board thinks substance use may be a problem for a nurse, then they may suspend or even revoke the nurse's license.
Substance abuse by a nurse can affect their ability to practice their profession safely and with reasonable skill. Multiple DUIs could indicate an individual's struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. The nursing board may ask a nurse to seek medical or physical evaluation and review any results to determine whether or not there is a substance abuse problem. If there is, the board may require the nurse to seek treatment for their addiction, while limiting their practice with a restricted license during the probationary period.
DUIs for Nursing License Applicants
After the years of nursing school, exams, and applications, it takes a long time to become a registered nurse, or licensed practical nurse. You don't want a DUI to derail your nursing career before it's even begun. You will have to report a DUI in your nursing application to the Georgia Board of Nursing. The more time that has passed since the DUI, the better. Unfortunately, the board will be most concerned about a DUI conviction that happened while the applicant was in nursing school.
As with any criminal conviction, the board will look at the applicant's record and determine approval on a case by case basis. Many factors will impact the board's decision, including how long ago the arrest took place, whether it was a felony or misdemeanor, how severe the crime was, and if it involved controlled dangerous substances.
DUI Representation for Atlanta Nurses
Nursing is a noble profession, that doesn't always get the respect it deserves. You shouldn't let a lapse of judgement be the end of your nursing career. If you are not convicted of a DUI, then you may never have to report the incident. Even if you were arrested for a DUI, you do not have to plead guilty. As an experienced DUI defense lawyer for nurses and other medical professionals, I know how to investigate the facts of each case, to get charges reduced or dismissed. Give me a call now, anytime day or night, and I'll tell you what we can do to erase your DUI charges.