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Will a CA DUI Stop Me from Becoming an RN?

Are you planning on a career in nursing? If you are studying to become a Registered Nurse (RN) in California, or if you plan to begin studying to be an RN in the near future and you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you may be worried that a DUI could bar you from becoming an RN. Continue reading as we discuss this issue in detail.

First question: Ae you required to report convictions on your application? According to the California Board of Registered Nursing, “All convictions must be reported, except for minor traffic violations.” The Board goes on to say that applicants are required to report misdemeanor and felony convictions, including those for driving under the influence (DUI).

What About Expunged DUIs?

Even if an applicant had a DUI and it was expunged under Penal Code Section 1203.4, he or she is still required to report it on their application. Does that mean that a DUI automatically disqualifies someone from becoming an RN? Not necessarily; the Board does review an applicant’s criminal record history, including DUIs. A DUI, especially a drug-related DUI, can certainly affect an RN’s job since nurses have direct access to medications.

If the DUI was an isolated incident and it happened a long time ago, the more likely the Board will be willing to overlook it. If the DUI was recent and involved a high BAC, child endangerment, an accident or bodily injuries, then it may be more of an issue. Each DUI conviction is handled on a case-by-case basis; however, the Board does consider the following:

  • When the DUI took place
  • The severity of the offense
  • If the applicant enrolled in rehab

Essentially, the Board does not render a decision about a DUI without examining the facts of the case and the totality of the circumstances. Can a DUI lead to a denial? Yes, it is possible, but it’s not for sure.

If you’re facing DUI charges and you have a promising nursing career ahead of you, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to see what can be done to shield you from the negative consequences of a DUI.