Getting a California RN License with a Criminal History: Misdemeanor - page 12

Disclaimer: This topic is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. This is simply an account of my experiences with the California Board of Registered... Read More

  1. by   xdrowe
    did you have any issues being clear for the clinical background check? Being that these charges you had were so old and I think nursing school background check is for the past 7 years.. did they not show up at all for that background check?
  2. by   xdrowe
    Quote from cheethaj

    This topic is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. This is simply an account of my experiences with the California Board of Registered Nursing. Individual situations will vary depending on:
    1)The nature and severity of the crime
    2)Evidence of any acts or crimes committed subsequent to the crime under consideration
    3)The time elapsed since the crime
    4)The extent that you complied with parole, probation, restitution, or other lawful sanctions
    5)Evidence of rehabilitation

    Background Information:

    -I'm a 26 year old male applying for my RN license from the California Board of Registered Nursing in December 2012. I attended a California State University for 4 years to get a BSN degree. I have been working in the emergency department of a hospital for 1 1/2 years; great place to get experience and references.

    Prior convictions include:

    1)Theft of personal property in 2004 at the age of 18 (8 years ago)
    2)Open container in 2004 at the age of 18 (8 years ago)
    3)Basic speed law in 2010 at the age of 24 (2 years ago)

    -I expunged my theft of personal property charge in 2008 after a three year probation. I highly recommend expunging your record after you serve probation even though you have to report it to the BRN and any government agency. This is because it looks good to the board and after you get your license you usually don't have to report the crime when applying for a job. For California expungement information go to:

    -I got my speeding ticket dismissed after completing a trial by written declaration. I also highly recommend trial by written declaration for tickets because all I wrote was "I am not guilty" and because the cop didn't write a response, I got back all my money and got the ticket dismissed.

    The Application Process:

    -Applications are relatively straightforward for the California Board of Registered Nursing until you get to the prior convictions section. You got your work cut out for you if you have any convictions and this includes tickets over $300 and yes...even things that were expunged or dismissed.

    -When completing the California BRN prior convictions section it is on you to get all the documentation needed and organized so I suggest starting early so that you can have things ready before you graduate and so that you don't postpone your application too much. For this section I organized it in the same order as it is listed on this guideline on the California BRN website. Enforcement Applicant Desk

    Prior Convictions Section of the Application:

    1)Letter of explanation: This must be very well written so make sure it is proofread (unlike this post) and make sure to include: circumstances surrounding the arrest(s), convictions(s), and/or disciplinary actions(s); the date of the convictions, the specific violations (cite the law if convicted...i googled it and cited it as a footnote), court location, sanctions or penalties imposed and completion dates. Also include what you have done since then regarding your rehabilitation and why you want to be an RN. I also included the roles of an RN to show that I know what my roles will be. Make the letter sincere and show how you have grown out of this experience.

    2) Arrest/Incident reports: These are NOT court documents and you cannot get these at the court house. You literally have to go to the police station and request one; even then, they may not give you one. It cost like $8 for mine. Make sure it is stamped and/or signed

    3)Certified Court Documents: You have to go to the court house in the county you were arrested/cited and get the documents from the office of records: It cost me $25 for each one (x3) plus a charge for the paper used to print them; so, this cost me like $79. Ouch

    4)Evidence of Rehabilitation: Here I just put my documentation that I completed my probation, I got my record expunged, and some volunteering experience.

    5)Reference Letters: These will take a while to get depending on the people you ask. I included 3 letters. One from a trauma nurse, one from my nursing supervisor, and one from a dentist that I know and that I have volunteered with in the past. Someone suggested that I get one from a nurse, one from a clergy member, and one from a political figure if possible but, I didn't really know the latter two people. I didn't need to include alcohol related letters because I didn't get a DUI, I only got an open container ticket. I wasn't actually drinking and driving but my friend was drinking in the car so that is how I got the ticket.

    6)A work performance evaluation. This will take a while to get depending on your supervisor. This doesn't need to be nursing related but mine was because I've been working in a hospital for 1 1/2 years.

    Waiting for a Reply:

    -I sent my completed application in on 12/5/12.

    -I got a letter 15 days later that said "An evaluation of your application for examination indicates that the following items and/or information are required to complete you application. Due to your disclosure of previous discipline or conviction, your application will require additional processing time. A FINAL DECISION REGARDING AN ENFORCEMENT CASE FILE CANNOT BE MADE WITHOUT THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS - REFER THE ENCLOSED NOTICE FOR DETAILS. If you have already addressed the checked item(s) above, please disregard this letter." Enclosed notice was this link: I thought I turned everything in. Well, actually I did but I guess they just sent this to confuse me.

    -I got a letter 15 days after that that scared the oop: out of me at first but it turned out to be a good letter. It read:
    "The board of registered nursing (Board) has completed its review of your conviction history. The conviction(s) you sustained is/are considered substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of a registered nurse. Business and Professions Code Section 480 authorizes the Board to deny a license for conviction of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions and duties of a registered nurse. However, when considering the denial, suspension or revocation of a license, the Board considers criminal history, mitigating or aggravating circumstances, evidence of rehabilitation and other criteria to evaluate the licensee's or applicant's present fitness or eligibility for licensure. The Board will not pursue any disciplinary action against you at this time. Your conviction history information has been reviewed and returned to the Licensing Unit to continue the licensure process. A licensed registered nurse is responsible for being honest and ethical. Future substantiated reports that you have engaged in similar behavior, been convicted of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions and duties of a registered nurse or otherwise violated the law or regulations governing you practice as a registered nurse may result in disciplinary action against you license."

    -I got my eligibility notice to take NCLEX 4 days later. YAY!!!

    -I took my NCLEX-RN and just found out I passed first try.

    I hope this helps somebody out there. I know from experience how nerve-racking it can be to have prior convictions but, if you stick with it you can become a nurse. I wish you all the best of luck because nursing is truly the best profession in the world. Oh..and thanks Board for giving me a chance to be a Real Nurse.

    Useful links:

    California BRN Website: California Board of Registered Nursing go to "Applicants" at the top, then go to "Licensure by Examination", then go to "Click here for additional information for applicants with criminal convictions or discipline"
    may i have a copy of the explanation letter
  3. by   NorthGoingZax
    Quote from cheethaj
    Sent the letter jrpena. Sorry if it is too late. Good luck.
    Hey Chetta, could you share a copy of your letter with me too? I'm in the process of applying in Ca and I would love some insight into a letter that was approved.
    thank you!
  4. by   stella_n
    thank you thank you and thank you sooooooooooooo much for posting this. I went through the same thing as you. I did my LVN before my RN. for LVN they did it backward. they let me sit for the broad than after I passed they kept my license and made me send all those papers. for my RN i was ready, so like you said I send everything ahead. I got that letter , but was scared and thinking once i take the exam they will hold my license again. but after reading your story , now I can relax and get ready to take my exam within two weeks.
    I appreciate your honesty.
  5. by   NorthGoingZax
    Hey Stella, when did you submit your application? I have been waiting since May 5th and still havent heard anything. I have no idea when they will get back to me. SO anxious about this process.
  6. by   nocturnallife
    Thanks for this post. It makes me feel less hopeless about my situation. I'm not sure how to send or recieve mail on this site. But I would like to see your explanation letter and one of the reference letters as well please.
  7. by   bsinkler
    Hi, cheethaj may you please send the letter to me as well? you have given me so much hope!
  8. by   _Nancy

    After long hours and days of research, I've come across your thread. I'm so happy to know there was someone like you who was able to fight through this and give others hope. I am going through the same situation right now with an expunged misdemeanor few years ago like 2008. As so, I was wondering if I can get a copy of your letter explaining your misconduct. I would like an idea how i should come cross in writing my personal letter relating to my case to the boards of nursing. I really don't want to mess up and can't wait for this to move pass me. If so, here is my email: ... I would greatly appreciate it in advance. xoxo
  9. by   doglover2017
    Hi cheethaj, BSN, RN!

    I am about to graduate this yer and will also need to submit paperwork for an embezzlement and burglary misdemeanor (It sounds A LOT worse, as I did not do anything violent... --- I gave discounts to friends when I worked as a cashier. As dumb and stupid as that sounds, I wish I could take it all back and I am still embarrassed to this day!!!). I am having a lot of trouble with the Letter of Explanation, as I do not know how to start it. Please let me know if you are able to send your letter. It would be such a great help, as I am struggling to start this process!
  10. by   HopefulandDetermined
    Could you please send me a copy of the letter you wrote?
    It would be greatly appreciated,

    a nervous wreck!
  11. by   Hellooo
    Hi there! I am going through the same issue. I am about to start my 4th semester of my nursing program. I have almost all the documents together but am having trouble with the letter. Would you mind sending me a copy of yours also? Thanks!
  12. by   nurseanonymous11
    Hi Cheethaj,

    Thank up so much for posting what you've done in order to obtain your RN LICENSE successfully. I'm also interested in getting my ADN, but I'm worried that I may not get licensed due to a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction I received in 2004 when I was 27 y.o. I've had the conviction successfully expunged in 2007 after the summary probation ended. First question is, do I need to disclose this expunged conviction to the school I'm planning to attend? Per my understanding in CA, I'm only supposed to disclose this to A. When contracting with the CA State Lottery, B. If running for public office, and C. When applying for State License i.e Nursing, Real Estate, etc. So I'm not sure if by law I can truthfully answer NO, I don't have a criminal conviction on the School Application?

    Also, how do I prove to the board I've been rehabilitated for shoplifting? That was my first and last criminal offense from 12 years ago. With the 3 year informal probation, restitution/fine I had to pay and 30 days community service I had to complete along with having a mark on my record, I've been a law abiding citizen ever since. There's no way I would ever think of repeating the same mistake again or commit another crime that will jeopardize my future any further.

    The other concern I have is since I'm too embarrassed about this incident, no friends or family know about this so I'm not sure how I'm going to provide character letters from people that know about my expunged misdemeanor conviction?
    Lastly, regarding statement/letter surrounding the circumstances that lead to the arrest, I would appreciate it if you can also email me the letter you provided the board, so I have an idea how to write mine. You can email it to ( )

    Thank you again!