Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, and other controlled substances is a serious charge in the state of Nevada. Offenders of DUI often face harsh penalties such as high fines, possible jail time, revoked driver’s licenses, community service, and mandatory treatment. For nurses who are charged with DUI, the penalties may be even more severe, possibly resulting in devastating complications regarding their careers.
Even first-time criminal offenses can affect a nurse’s license depending on the severity of the crime and the circumstances surrounding the offense. While DUI charges are taken very seriously in Nevada, the state also recognizes the need to help those struggling with substance abuse, especially nurses. So, if you’re wondering “can you have a DUI and be a nurse?”, or “can a DUI affect your nursing license?” read below to learn more.
How Does a DUI Charge Affect Nurses in Nevada?
Due to the nature of a nurses’ responsibilities, they are held to high standards of accountability and professionalism. Chapter 632.120 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) discusses nursing in the state of Nevada which includes proper conduct, duties, and regulations. These statutes help determine whether an applicant meets the criteria to hold a nursing license in Nevada. As part of this statute, all eligible nursing applicants are required to disclose any and all criminal convictions, including DUI misdemeanors or felonies in the application process.
According to Nevada law, a nurse that has been convicted of a misdemeanor who fails to disclose such information in their license application may have their license denied or revoked by the Board of Nursing for fraudulent or false representation. Several considerations will come into play to determine the licensee’s outcome. Not only will the Board weigh the nurse’s risk to themselves as well as public safety, but they will also consider the following conditions:
- The circumstances surrounding the conviction such as the nature and severity of the act
- The nurse’s prior record of DUIs and time elapsed between the convictions
- Whether the conviction is a felony or if the offense resulted in another person’s injury or death
- Probable harm to the public and to patients in the nurse’s care
- How the nurse plans to prevent future infractions and include other rehabilitation plans into his/her life
Can You Have a DUI And Be a Nurse?
In short, the answer is yes, you can have a DUI and be a nurse in Nevada. However, that doesn’t guarantee that the Board of Nursing will allow you into the field or approve your license to do so. As stated above, many factors are taken into consideration when deciding if an applicant with a misdemeanor DUI charge is eligible to become a registered nurse. Even if a nurse charged with DUI is approved by the Board, it’s likely that they will face certain repercussions in order to continue practicing.
Can a DUI Affect Your Nursing License?
DUI charges come with a variety of penalties set forth and enforced by the law. Nurses who are convicted of DUI will face such penalties along with additional disciplinary action from the Board of Nursing. Penalties will vary case by case and are determined and agreed upon by the Board. Discipline from the Board may include:
- Revoked or suspended nursing license (NRS 632.347)
- Probation period where the nurse is not allowed to work
- May be allowed to continue working under strict supervision
What Happens If a Nurse Doesn’t Report a DUI Charge to the Board of Nursing?
It is the responsibility of the nurse to report and disclose all criminal convictions, including a DUI charge. Trying to keep such information from the Board or your employer may result in serious repercussions, more so than if you simply tell the truth about your crime. Remember, just because you don’t tell the Board about your charges doesn’t mean that they won’t find. In some cases, law enforcement may report the incident to your employer or office talk may get around to the wrong person. The best thing you can do is be honest about your convictions, and request legal aid from a qualified Nevada DUI attorney.
Contact a Nevada DUI Attorney Today
Spartacus Law Firm will fight to make sure that your rights are protected. A DUI is a serious legal matter and should be handled by a serious legal defense team. We will aggressively represent you to avoid penalties, fines, and damage to your nursing career. Contact us today for a free in-person or virtual consultation. We are available 24/7 to assist.