A criminal history does not mean that you cannot become a nurse, but it may mean extra work and extra expenses. If you have a previous offense, maybe you, like Ashley, must now write a letter of explanation regarding your offense or DUI to the BON. Your Letter of Explanation is highly important. It determines your future. You will be judged as to your level of remorse, insight, and personal responsibility for the incident. It must be genuine, concise and honest. STEP 1 Factual Start with the incident. State what happened simply, factually and chronologically. Do not offer excuses or cast blame, but do include underlying circumstances. It's in your favor to describe the conditions in your life that affected your decisions and behavior at the time. Most bad choices don't come out of nowhere, and the people who will be reading your letter understand that. It's important to convey that you are not making excuses for your behavior. You are simply describing the circumstances that contributed to your choices. STEP 2 Personal Insight Perhaps the most important and the key to success is showing insight into your own behavior. Everyone makes mistakes...but have you learned from your mistakes? Tell the BON exactly what you've learned about yourself, and how your values have changed. Maybe you were impulsive and immature at the time, but now you value long-term gratification over instant gratification. STEP 3 Rehabilitative lifestyle changes Show the BON without a doubt that you have taken responsibility. What have you changed in your life to ensure that this behavior would not happen in the future? List everything you've done to prevent future occurrences. Did you receive counseling, attend a recovery program, do community work? Include compliance with terms of probation, restitution, or parole. You may live in a different location with positive influences now, or maybe you've joined or even lead support groups. Show that you are not the same person who committed the offense. You have different friends and you make good choices. STEP 4 Show remorse You are genuinely sorry for what you did. You now understand that you could have harmed yourself, or other people. You can't change the past, but you can control your future behavior. You have grown from this and regret the choices you made in the past. You are remorseful. STEP 5 Enlist help It's best to get help from someone to write this, unless you are very confident in your writing skills. At the very least, have your letter proofed for grammar and spelling by 3 separate individuals who will be honest with you. Some applicants find it helpful to retain a lawyer during the process, to ensure that the licensing process goes smoothly. This can be expensive, and not all attorneys accept payments over time. Start saving for legal expenses in advance if you anticipate a problem,. STEP 6 Letters of Reference Letters of reference should be on official letterhead from employers, nursing instructors, health professionals, professional counselors, parole or probation officers, or other individuals in positions of authority who are knowledgeable about your rehabilitation efforts. They must be signed and dated within the past year. What to expect You may face probation, a conditional license with probation terms, a fine, or citation. If your DUI was a fairly low BAC, you may only face a letter of reprimand or a citation and fine. Do not ignore any mail from the BON or Attorney General's office. Make sure your current address is on file at all times. Your failure to respond to the Statement of Issues will result in the denial of your license application by a default process. Cases are decided on an individual basis, and may take some time. Be patient and persevere.