Like every single one of you looking at this thread, I have been stressed out, worried, and have had this lingering feeling of doom hanging over my head. Are my dreams destroyed? Did I waste all of my time doing this for nothing? Is that thing I did when I was 19 or 20 years old really going to keep me from getting my license in California? Well, here are my thoughts. And again, this is just MY opinion.
Are you dreams of being an RN in California destroyed? Well, I hate to say it, but probably so. But again, this depends on how far you want to go with nursing and what type of nursing you want to do. If you don't mind paying 15 thousand dollars to meet the probation requirements, being monitored and having your hand held like a baby, having negative remarks permanently branded on your license, waiting up to TWO YEARS AFTER graduation to get a RESTRICTED license, don't mind the very real possibility of being unemployed for a very long time, and taking the jobs that no one else wants, then read no further; this thread is not for you. But for the rest of you, who want to start your career without all of this bull crap, continue reading.
We all know by now that getting SOME sort of license is very doable...but is it worth it? UNLESS you have a job lined up and they have no problem hiring you while you are on probation, and you don't mind the negative remarks and the three year sentence, then NO, it is ABSOLUTELY not worth it. At all. Unless you are one of the few who have an in with someone, you might as well throw your BSN in the garbage, because the inconvenient truth is that MOST hiring managers will toss your application in the trash the second they find out you have a restricted license. That's the cold hard truth of it all. And to get off probation, you have to be EMPLOYED.
And just to remind you, the BRN examines everything on a case by case basis. I'm sure you've read or heard of a student nurse with a misdemeanor or a dui getting their unrestricted license. Sure. This happens. After about a year to two years. And most of these students have hired a lawyer for THOUSANDS of dollars. Do you really want to do that? Spend two years of your life waiting, working at Star Bucks with a BSN, and dumping money into attorney fees? I don't know about you, but I don't.
Ok, so what do we do Carl Winslow? How can we possibly avoid this? Well it is very simple. Apply to another state.
California is one giant mess. Argue with me all you like, but aside from beaches, this state is a giant dump as far as I'm concerned. And it is no surprise, that this goofy state is probably one of, if not THE hardest state to get licensed in. I mean just look at all of these posts, Ca, Ca, Ca, Ca, Ca...all California. Doesn't that strike you as odd? I've heard about people having a dui TWENTY years ago and then being denied or put on probation. Isn't that insane? Yes, yes it is insane. And you don't have to put up with it.
The second you apply to California with a criminal history, they are more than likely going to deny you initially. Then over the course of months or years, they will discuss your stipulated agreement, which as I said before, is a f'ing joke.
What does this do? Well, for EVERY SINGLE state you apply to there on after, you MUST disclose that you have been denied a license or that your license has been restricted...for the rest of your life you have to answer this question when applying to other states. This stain is there forever.
Now, your life is already complicated enough without having to tell the board that you were denied a license. Answering yes to this question does not immediately bar you from getting licensed in another state, but it is one more hurdle and one more red flag you're going to have to deal with...so why do it at all?
But, aren't other states more or less the same? NOPE. NO WAY.
California states that even if your case has been dismissed, sealed, or expunged, you HAVE to disclose this. Total bull right? Yeah, well other states think so too. After spending countless nights worrying and stressing, I found that ALMOST every other state says, "If your case has been expunged or dismissed, you do NOT have to disclose this to the board". Do NOT have to disclose that you shoplifted at 18 years old, do NOT have to tell them about your DUI you got when you were 22 years old if it was expunged; how great does that sound? Pretty great if you ask me.
Other states also do not care about non felony offenses beyond 5 or 7 years.
Texas for example, even considers misdemeanors committed at the age of 22 or younger as "acts of youthful indiscretion". Meaning that they get it, when your young your dumb, and when your dumb, you do dumb things. So you actually have some sort of answer right away. Have you ever called the Ca BON? My god, it's a nightmare, no one can tell you anything and you'll get a different answer every time you do call.
Indiana also passed a law prohibiting licensing boards from denying licenses because of expunged records.
I doubt you want to read through all of that but here's the gist of it:
Sec. 10. (a) It is unlawful discrimination for any person to:
(3) refuse to employ;
(4) refuse to admit;
(5) refuse to grant or renew a license, permit, or certificate necessary to engage in any activity, occupation, or profession; or
(6) otherwise discriminate against;
any person because of a conviction or arrest record expunged or sealed under this chapter.
(b) The civil rights of a person whose conviction has been expunged shall be restored, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to serve as a juror, and, to the extent not prohibited by federal law, to own or possess a firearm.
© In any application for employment, a license, or other right or privilege, a person may be questioned about a previous criminal record only in terms that exclude expunged convictions or arrests, such as: "Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime that has not been expunged by a court?".
So, if you are unlucky enough to have a criminal history, don't give up hope! Just give up on California. Wasting your money and time is NOT worth a stipulated agreement, and it is not worth having permanent blemishes attached to your license.
If you are able to get your misdemeanor expunged, do it NOW. It is pricey though, I got my two DUI's done for 1500, but it is totally worth it! Also, once you're licensed guess what? You NEVER have to say you were convicted of a crime on any job application. Also, it is illegal to even ask about expunged records.
Again, this is my opinion and I wanted to let you all know that you AREN'T doomed! Your dreams of becoming a nurse are still very much alive! This is going to be my course of action when I graduate. You can roll the dice on California if you'd like, but I for one am going to take the sure thing and apply in a state I KNOW I won't have issues with.
I can't speak for every state, as I have not researched every single state, but do some research. You'll find that a lot of states aren't like California.
As for me, I'm either looking at Texas, Arizona, Massachusetts, or Pennsylvania. These all seem like really cool states to live in, and have whole lot more going on than my little podunk California town.
Best of luck to you, don't give up and keep fighting the good fight! Cheers!