Arizona Nurse DUI
Nurses who contact our office frequently ask our attorneys if state law allows a nursing professional with a DUI legal charge or conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
The short answer is yes.
An Arizona Nurse DUI will not necessarily prevent a nurse from obtaining a license or a career in the health field. However, the Board (which handles all complaints) has a public policy (updated as of September 2020) on their website which covers the details of what circumstances nursing professionals with a case that resulted in a felony DUI criminal conviction can get a license.
Health Care Criminal Consequences
This policy does not apply to criminal conduct involving misdemeanor DUI charges or convictions. Once a nursing professional applies for a license to practice with the Arizona State Board of Nursing, they need to disclose any felony DUI criminal court convictions (from previous years) on their application.
A nurse must report a felony DUI no matter how much time or years have passed since the conviction or case.
The AZ Board may also ask about past DUI misdemeanor criminal charges or cases that resulted in a conviction. The Board does this to ensure a nurse can perform safe patient care and have safe, direct contact with patients or other providers.
Disclosing a DUI on an Application for Nurses
Suppose a nursing license applicant (like an RN) is not required to disclose a legal misdemeanor DUI. In that case, the AZ Board can still initiate an investigation based on the results of a healthcare fingerprint background check.
The Board will then contact the nursing professional and initiate an investigation in their practice utilizing the law of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act (current as of October 2020).
This license investigation determines whether the nurse is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems, and whether the nurse has been rehabilitated since the criminal misdemeanor DUI or DUI charges occurred.
Simply, the Board wants to know whether the applicant can provide safe nursing care with a past criminal case involving alcohol or substance abuse.
The attorneys at Chelle Law assist nurses with interpreting Board policy (generally on the Board website). Our attorneys help the healthcare workers and nurses with their application to show the Board the nurse professional isn’t a danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the public and can provide safe patient care.
Reporting a DUI Charge to the Arizona Board of Nursing
When a police officer issues a citation or arrest (which usually includes official charges) to a person, Arizona law requires that the nursing professional report any criminal misdemeanor charge that may affect patient safety to the Arizona State Board within ten business days.
Nurses must report all felony charges. Notably, some jurisdictions will only charge an individual if someone files a complaint with the court. The AZ Board has a page on its healthcare website which lists what misdemeanor charges the nurse must report.
The Board then reviews the investigators’ report to determine if any healthcare disciplinary action is necessary. It applies to both licensees and applicants for licensure.
It is considered unprofessional conduct if a nursing professional receives a charge from a police department or court and fails to self-report it within ten working days. The person can end up with disciplinary action and/or a fine. Failure to self-report can result in additional disciplinary actions.
Health Care Nurse Felony Bar
Suppose a nurse discloses an Arizona Nurse Felony criminal conviction on their healthcare application. The Board policy and state law (for healthcare professionals) hold the nursing professional is not eligible to apply for a license or certificate with the Arizona State Board of Nursing until three years after the absolute discharge of the court sentence.
An absolute discharge from the sentence completes any sentence, including imprisonment, probation, parole, community supervision, or court supervision.
Of note, if enough time has passed since the conviction, state law may allow a nursing professional to have the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor (due to an undesignated designation), dismissed, expunged, set aside, or something similar. The bar of three years may not apply.
In this instance, a nurse can ask an attorney to assist the applicant in obtaining these felony reductions if they haven’t already pursued these options in the state where their case occurred.
The attorneys at Chelle Law assist nurses in interpreting the Board license policy (generally contained on the Board website). Our attorneys help nurses with their application to show the Board that the nurse isn’t a danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the public and can give safe care.
If you’re looking into a nursing career in Arizona but have concerns about your criminal record, you don’t have to worry. Though you may have a criminal record, you may still be eligible to be a healthcare nursing professional without collateral consequences. If you’re currently a nurse with a felony conviction, educating yourself on what you must do to protect your license and avoid discipline is important.
Chelle Law helps our nurse-client with self-reporting a misdemeanor DUI and other related misdemeanor charges.
Concealing Criminal Charges by Healthcare Professionals
The consequences can be dire if a nursing professional conceals a charge rather than a self-report. In most cases, the Board of Nursing will find out anyway. Thus, if they find out about an unreported criminal charge, the discipline will not only be for the criminal charge but also for concealing it. It can even lead to an Arizona nursing license suspension.
AZ Nurse Lawyer
If you’re interested in learning more about Arizona Nursing Board Criminal History laws and how to protect your rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney. Reach out to us today.