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First-time DUI applying to nursing school in Fall 2012

erik88 erik88 (New) New

Hello everyone,

I was arrested on 12/23/2012 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I hired a lawyer for $1500 but now she wants $5000 more to defend my case. I dont have nay money to pay for any of it. My alcohol level was .18 and the lawyer advised me that we have a very low chance of winning the case. This is my first dui and i do not have any prior criminal history. I will be attending court on 5/2012 and plead guilty. I plan on paying the fines and doing an alcohol education program and whatever i need to do.

I had been planning to apply to the Entry Level Masters in Nursing at various schools in southern california in the fall 2012. I am TERRIFIED that im not going to ever be able become a nurse practitioner. I emailed my schools and they said they cant deny me admission based on criminal charges but down the road i may have trouble doing clinicals at hospitals. another thing would be getting a licence from the brn in ca...i hope that by the time i apply for my license i can get it expunged, if it helps.

has anyone else thats already a nurse or in nursing school n california had the same experience? i need advice...since my dui i been so depressed and trouble sleeping. ive had multiple nightmares about this and its all i think about everyday...iam very scared that ill never be able to do what i have been working for my entire life. I made a stupid misstake by driving drunk, but ive learned my lesson....please someone give me some hope

I think the hope you're looking for had better come from your lawyer.

Before worrying about whether or not the CA BON will issue you a license, whether or not you can get into schools, etc, you need to get this settled first. If there's a possibility of your doing jail time, or losing your driving license (even suspended), don't you think THAT will have a significant impact on whether or not you get into school?

First, see what your criminal history is going to be. Then figure out what to do about it.

Call the nursing board. They know the answer- At least regarding your license.

Call the nursing board. They know the answer- At least regarding your license.

And tell them what? That the OP might get a conviction or might not....or might get jail time or might not...or might get a suspended or revoked license--or, you guessed it--maybe not?

No, the thing to do is get out from under this first, and THEN call the BON with the results. Give them one question to answer ("will this outcome affect my possible future licensure"), not multiple possibilities.

I live in Texas, and got a DWI in 1997 prior to nursing school. I was on probation for 1 year while in nursing school. I had to write a letter to the board when it came time to graduate and take boards. I had no problem, nor have I ever had a problem getting/keeping a job. THANK GOODNESS. And, I learned a valuable lesson...I DO NOT drink and drive now. EVER.

jtmarcy12, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Oncology, Neurology, Rehab. Has 15 years experience.



Has 8 years experience.

I got my DUI in 2006 while I was an LVN. My BAC was 0.16 & I tried to fight it but lost the case although my lawyer kept pushing me (he was a terrible "new" lawyer who took advantage of my desperation & I got half of my $$ back after complaining - but that's a totally different story). My license went under review & after sending them all the paperwork they requested, I was able to keep my license.

When I applied for my RN license in 2007, I once again had to send lots of requested paperwork to the BRN & was able to obtain my RN license without further inconvenience. During RN school, I was stopped from doing my 1st day of clinical rotation at the jail because when doing the background check, my name triggered an alert, labeling me as a "convict". It was totally unexpected & embarrassing, but after clearing up the details of my "conviction", I was allowed to continue with my clinical rotation (although the missed day did count against me).

After passing the NCLEX in July 2007, I feared my DUI would prevent me from being hired. On every single job application I was required to provide information regarding the DUI. That, coupled with the tightening of the economy back in 2007, I felt hopeless & even more depressed. In January of 2008 I was able to land my 1st interview & accepted the job (med/tele) when offered. A month later I was called for another interview, which I declined because of having accepted a position already. Despite applying at many hospitals, I only got called for 2 interviews - not sure if it was related to my DUI or new grad ADN status.

I do not plan on having it expunged from my record. It has been over 6 years since that incident & if I ever apply for another job, I will give the DUI information as required. If it hinders me from being hired, then so be it. There are many reasons employers will choose to not hire an applicant - this is one of the points I have against me & I have accepted it as part of my past that has severe consequences in my life. It was probably the best things that ever happened to me because not only did I stop drinking & driving, I stopped drinking altogether. Luckily no one got seriously injured & through God's mercy I was still able to get a job in one of the highest-paying acute hospitals in the Bay Area.

Im a current Nursing student who has had a dui. All that I know from what others have told me is that the BRN will give me trouble when I apply to sit for the NCLEX. My DUI happened in 2005 and I have already got it expunged. I do not think you will have trouble completing school but I am not sure bout licensing. I plan on going t another state and trying to get my license there after I complete school in California.

It matters not at all whether or not your DUI arrest results in a conviction or not. The court side of a DUI has nothing at all do with the actions a BON will take once you are arrested for DUI, or any other crime. Once you are arrested, you have a permanent RAP sheet, that will never be cleared, regardless if you win an expungement. If you have a license, you must report your arrest to your BON. The chances are very good that your license will be revoked, or that you will be unable to pay for the various programs most BONs require after a DUI arrest (regardless if convicted or not). If you are still in school, in an increasing number of states now, a DUI arrest will prevent your BON from granting you a license. In the majority of DUI arrests, a lawyer has no bearing on your outcome, other to advise you to plea to the lesser charge levied against you (most DUI arrests incur multiple charges, in fact, to increase the likelihood of your taking a plea, as if the prosecutor has granted you some sort of a favor?). Also, if you are a student- a DUI may prevent you from attending clinicals, based on your hospital rules. DUI is the number one criminal offense now in the US, 1.5 million per year. And every year the sentences are being increasingly harsh and permanent, by the courts, by the MVDs, and by the BONs, etc.

I got a dui in my first semester of nursing school, also an Entry Level Masters for Nurse Practitioner. It wasn't a problem for me until I applied to take the RN licensing exam which they denied. I had to negociate a settlement with the BRN and the Attorney General's Office and I was given clearance to take the exam. I rec'd my RN licence a year later, have to comply with the conditions of probation including attending 1 AA and 1 Nursing Support group per week. I have to submit to random urine testing by checking in online daily. I must abstain from all mood-altering substances including some OTC meds. The Board must approve all employment and I am to have my work supervised. I must submit quarterly reports to the BRN within the designated time period. My probation monitor may take measures to rescind my probationary license if I fail to comply with the terms of our agreement. I have managed to graduate with a MSN, its been a big hassle but I think I've made it except that I have missed a few check-ins and my probation monitor has sent my case back to the Atty General's office, will likely have probation extended. I have heard different things from different people about where the Board stands as far as accepting applicants with DUIs in the future. Your best bet is to contact the board directly

i have a dui from 2010. i am now being charged with it. i just got into nursing school and was wondering will this effect the out come of the program and me finishing it this happen befor school have already done two sermester with two and a half to go cant find any thing out with illinois laws on that


Specializes in Mental Health.

You are being charged with a DUI 3 years later? huh? BTW please use periods when you write

Let me tell you about my experience with the CA BRN. I began an entry level NP program in the Fall of 2009. I got a DUI in December. I didn't have any problems with clinicals in the pre-licensure portion of my program. The trouble started when I went to apply for the NCLEX. The BRN declined my application which set in motion a process which eventually led me to get a probationary license. I got my license just in time to start clinical rotations as a NP student. There weren't any major obstacles while in school and I was able to graduate with my cohort. Keep in mind that the Board may change its protocol regarding enforcement but the way it is currently structured NP licensure is possible in your situation. My advice is to be hyper-vigilant about deadlines and getting paperwork in. Everything you do will need to be approved by the BRN and things take longer (ie. my application for furnishing license has not been approved yet and I applied in March).You will have lots of hoops to jump through so you'll have to decide if its worth the effort. The conditions of my probation are that I attend 1 AA and 1 Nurse Support group a week. I have to check in daily with a lab service and randomly submit to urine drug tests. All employment and volunteer positions requiring a license must be approved by the Board.You will also have to explain your probation status to any potential employers; some will find it unacceptable but others are sympathetic. Its just more difficult to get a job. My lawyer explained to me that if I had had him on my case initially he could've gotten me out of those requirements so hiring a lawyer could help you when negotiating your probationary license. BTW expunging your DUI doesn't make any difference to the BRN. Hope this is helpful.

Hi I was wondering how things went with you because I am in a similar situation at the moment

Everything depends on the board in your state. I got a DUI in 2011. I was already practicing as an RN and was in a nurse practitioner program at the time. I got a lawyer and reported the DUI to the AZ State Board of Nursing within the required 10 days after receiving it. The DUI didn't affect my clinicals at all since it took 2 years for the board to address it. By that time I was already finished with school. It did delay my NP license though. I had no problem taking my certification exam through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (which I was eligible to take in December 2012, halfway through my BSN to DNP program). I graduated in May 2013 and the board finally issued my NP license and put me on probation in October 2013. The probation restrictions will be for 2 years, and include: doing random drug/alcohol testing twice a month for the first year (then once a month for the second year), attending substance education classes, seeing a counselor specializing in substance abuse 1-2 times a month, and having another physician or NP on site when I am working who has to submit a quarterly evaluation form to the board. The last requirement is what has made it difficult to find a job as an NP. I do not want to work in the inpatient setting. I have applied for numerous jobs in clinic settings. I have had 2 interviews. This is probably partially due to the fact that I'm a new grad, although many applications require a description of any license restrictions. Both employers seemed eager to hire me until I told them about the monitoring requirement. This restriction means I can't be on-call, I can't round on patients in the hospital independently, and I can't see any patients when a physician/NP is not in the clinic. Both employers said that those restrictions were a deal-breaker. I had no problem at my current job since I work in a large hospital as an RN. Meanwhile my co-workers are wondering why I am still working as a nurse 8 months after I graduated from my NP program. A nurse in one of the groups I had to attend who had moved here from another state said she got 3 DUI's before the board in her state did anything (she eventually lost her license due to substance abuse issues/stealing medications). The outcome of your court case won't change anything with the board. I wouldn't pay a lawyer to fight that. Your alcohol level was elevated. What can they really do? Just plead guilty. FYI: I hired a lawyer specializing in medical/nursing law to deal with the board but I don't think my case turned out any better because of it.

Please do not despair. There absolutely is hope, and the first step is completing your program, paying your fine, and completing any other term of your probation. Sorry if I didn't disclose this, but I am an attorney that emphasizes in the field of DUI law. In California, an expungement pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1203.4 allows you to withdraw your plea of guilty, enter a not guilty plea, and gives the Judge discretion to dismiss your case in the interest of justice. The expungement would be your second step, but is essential to clear your criminal record.

Even though a DUI does carry a stigma, it is not considered a crime of moral turpitude. This means a DUI conviction once expunged should not prevent you from being licensed in the nursing profession. The key is that you must disclose the conviction in response to any direct question in any application for licensure by any state agency. However, if you disclose the conviction and explain it has been expunged, it will not prevent you from getting licensed.

If you are on probation, you may still be eligible for an early termination of probation under California Penal Code Section 1203.3. If the court grants this motion, they should expunge your case at the same time.

I hope the information above is helpful, and most of all I hope I was able to provide the piece of mind you needed.


Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Thank you, Bmironerlaw, for your input.

The key is that you must disclose the conviction in response to any direct question in any application for licensure by any state agency. However, if you disclose the conviction and explain it has been expunged, it will not prevent you from getting licensed.

I do want to add something that I highlighted above .... it should not prevent you from getting licensed. Everything by the BON is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Honesty (you must disclose the conviction in response to any direct question) is 100% true. The BON will individualize your case.

Good luck.

Edited by sirI

If you get your DUI expunged, you'd look better in front of the board because basically your conviction has been dismissed. This can be described in a positive light, and the Board can't legally deny an applicant based on an old conviction that has been expunged. For more details, check out this article: http://www.mironerlaw.com/expungement-nurse.php