Jump to content

Expired license, Criminal Charges, Need some advice


Specializes in Cardiac.

Hi, I posted on another board awhile ago and someone suggested I post here. I’m having some trouble (and fear) figuring out how to move forward.

My RN license has been expired for 3 years, shortly after I let it lapse I got arrested and charged with theft, assault, legend drug possession (Ativan) and harassment. The assault charge was dropped (the charge said I bumped my purse into a loss prevention worker if it matters.) I got a deferral on the other 3 charges. I had to go to jail for almost a month to qualify for the deferral and also did about a year of intensive outpatient rehab followed by regular outpatient and was on monitored probation for 2 years which I completed at the end of January. I can’t get any of the charges expunged for almost 5 years. I thought having the charges deferred would help me get my license straightened out but I really don’t know if that’s the case and if the BON looks at a deferral and differently than a conviction.

Prior to getting the charges I was a nurse in a step down unit since right after graduating nursing school and was never disciplined at work or in any other trouble at any time in my life. I started having some problems at work shortly before I left, I was having a lot of stress in my personal life including being in an abusive relationship and one of my parents was diagnosed with cancer and I just couldn’t cope. I started getting migraines about 5 days a week that were impossible to manage and I took FMLA. I only worked a few shifts after I went on FMLA because I started taking (unprescribed) benzo’s and other drugs and was not safe to practice so I called in sick everyday, I was too embarrassed to ask for help at work and didn’t want to put my license in jeopardy. Eventually I used up my FMLA and was just taking sick days I didn’t have and was basically asked to resign or I suppose I would have been fired so I resigned as I didn’t have my drug problem under control and couldn’t work as I was.

I continued to spiral after I resigned, continued doing drugs, doing more drugs,..I did go to rehab myself eventually to get on suboxone but continued to use benzo’s. Eventually a few months later I shoplifted and got a bunch of charges tacked on. I have been afraid to try and renew my license because I think they’ll take my license away permanently.

I have tried to figure out how to go about reporting to my BON (Washington) but I don’t really understand the process. Do I just renew my license (I know if they let me renew it I would have to take a refresher course) and answer all of the questions accurately? Do I write a letter? I know I should have a lawyer but my husband and I really can’t afford it. The only one I would probably be able to afford one is if I told my parents everything that happened (I have kept it from them) and they might be willing to help me. I really don’t want to tell them, though. 😞 My parents didn’t raise me to do any of the things I ended up doing and I’m ashamed and embarrassed that I screwed up so bad.

To make matters worse my husbands job is in jeopardy because of Covid-19 and is likely to shut down within the month. This is causing extreme stress in our relationship, He thinks I can just apply to a hospital and get hired because of covid-19 and won’t listen to how things have to be done (which I honestly don’t even understand.) since I got my charges I’ve been taking care of my husband’s 90 year old grandmother so she can stay in her home and she pays me but it isn’t enough to live on, it just covers our rent each month.

I’m desperate to get this figured out so our family can survive but whenever I try to work on anything I can’t figure the exact steps to take to start the process. If anyone has taken the time to read this I really appreciate it, any suggestions or personal experiences would be very helpful. I’ve been clean for 2 years and have done everything else to get my life back to how it should be, this is the final piece but I’m so afraid of the outcome being terrible that I feel like I’m frozen in place. I miss being a nurse and can’t see myself doing anything else. Thank you.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

Most lawyers do offer a free consultation. Additionally, while you don't think you can afford a lawyer now, will the possibility of having a nursing salary help make that more palatable? www.taana.org is an excellent resource for finding lawyers familiar with nursing licensure issues.

First of all, I feel for you. I really do. I’m pre-licensure and got in trouble when I graduate my ABSN program. The *only* thing that honestly made me feel better was talking to a nurse attorney (I spoke to 2 whom I found on the TAANA.org website). I’m brokeeee too, since I’m in court ordered sobriety court for a 2nd DUI and the expense of that alone would drive someone to utter despair. Plus all the doctors I have to see.

I in Michigan and I know that due to the COVID-19 thing they are making some exceptions for nurses with expired licenses, so it would be worth hastily doing a free consult with a nurse attorney in you state to see if perhaps you could leverage this situation to your benefit.

I agree with what Rose_Queen said above. The money for a lawyer is really crappy but you’re going to end up needing one and if you can even take out a loan to do it, it could be worth it when you consider the wage of a fully licensed working nurse. I also think you might consider telling your parents and asking for help. I know for me, going through the shame of what I have was almost unbearable but being honest about it and seeing that people still loved me and would help me. It went a long way in my recovery in the long run because I wasn’t hanging onto the toxic amalgam of secrets, shame and anxiety.

Feel free to PM me if you ever want to talk!

You can PM me anytime! I know what you’re going through 💔