How Long Does an Arizona Nurse Have to Report a Criminal Charge? | Criminal Reporting
In reporting a felony, it is often asked how long does an Arizona nurse have to report a criminal charge?
A.R.S. 32-3208 requires that nursing licensees and applicants for a nursing license must report misdemeanor criminal charges involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Board of Nursing within 10 working days after the charge is filed. A working day would be considered Monday through Friday.
Failure to Report is a Violation
Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within 10 business days is a violation of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act and could result in disciplinary action.
What Crimes Must Be Reported?
A felony must be reported within 10 days of being charged. The following types of a misdemeanor or other criminal offenses/charges are crimes that have been determined by the Board to be reportable pursuant to A.RS § 32-3208:
Types of Criminal Offenses
- Assault and Related Offenses
- Theft and Related Offenses
- Fraud, Deceit, and Related Offenses
- Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation of a Child or Vulnerable Adult and Related Offenses
- Sexual and Related Offenses
- Drug and/or Alcohol Related Offenses
- Arson and Related Offenses
- Animal Abuse, Cruelty, and Related Offenses
How quickly do you need to report a DUI?
Self Reporting a DUI for an Arizona Nurse is important. All DUIs must be reported to the Arizona Board of Nursing within ten days of being charged. Besides handling a possible conviction in a criminal court, nurses must also quickly notify the AZBON in writing. If you’re facing a DUI it is not a good idea to avoid reporting the violation. Should the Board find out by other means the discipline you would face would be more extensive? If you have been arrested, we recommend contacting an attorney immediately.
It’s important for any nurse to know, if you’re facing charges you must report them to the AZBON within ten working days. This includes misdemeanor and other criminal charges, offenses, or citations. Drug and alcohol-related offenses include driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs, the sale of or the use of drugs, distribution, growing, or manufacturing of drugs, and possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia.
Some cases do not need to be reported to the Board. This is because they are low risk and do not involve patient care. These cases include:
- Co-worker disputes or personality conflicts
- Rudeness to peers
- Labor/management disputes and more.
But of course, anything related to drug or alcohol charges would not come under this heading.
Criminal Charges for Nurses with the Arizona Board
When a professional applies to the Arizona State Board of Nursing, they must disclose a felony criminal court conviction (and other similar offenses) on their application. A nurse must self-report a felony no matter how much time or how many years have passed since the conviction. After self-reporting occurs, the Board contacts the nurse and initiates an investigation utilizing the law of the AZ Nurse Practice Act. The investigation helps to determine whether the nursing professional is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems, and whether the nurse has rehabilitated in the time since the criminal incident occurred. Simply put, the Nursing Board wants to know whether the RN, LPN, or NP applicant can provide safe nursing care.
Arizona Nursing Mandatory Reporting
Current nurses who have received a conviction (or have been charged) since the time of licensing must self-report to the AZ Board of Nursing Examiners. When self-reporting remember to include all facts on record of the criminal charges. No matter the type of felony, you will be better off self-reporting to avoid severe penalties (like continuing education). These penalties could show up on your license verification with the scope of the offenses listed including some details.
Can a Felon Become a Nurse in Arizona?
One question our attorneys are frequently asked is whether state law allows a nursing professional with a felony criminal conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Board of Nursing? The short answer is, yes.
A past felony for nurses will not necessarily prevent a nurse from obtaining a license or a career in the medical field. However, the Board has a public policy on their website which covers the details of under what circumstances a nurse with a case that resulted in a criminal conviction can get a license.
Arizona Nurse Undesignated Felony
The job of the Arizona Board of Nursing is to protect and promote the welfare of the people of Arizona and one what they protect the public is to have laws about Arizona Nurses’ Undesignated Felony. They do this by ensuring each person who holds a license as a nurse in the State of Arizona is competent to practice safely. Thus, the Arizona Board of Nursing has the authority to discipline the license of any nurse.
The number of applicants in Arizona that applied for nursing licenses or certificates between 1995 and 2008 increased by 1400%. The sheer volume of nursing applicants caused the Arizona Legislature to take action and create Senate Bill 1096 (“SB1096”) which bars nursing applicants from certification and licensure if they have prior felony convictions (“felony bar”). However, the felony bar is lifted three years after their felony sentencing has been completed successfully(or complete discharge from probation). If a nurse has had the felony reduced to a misdemeanor, set aside, dismissed, expunged, etc., the three-year waiting period may no longer apply.
Arizona State Nurse Felony Bar
If a nurse discloses a criminal conviction on their application, Board policy and state law hold Arizona nursing professionals are not eligible to apply for a license or certificate with the State Board of Nursing until three years after the absolute discharge of the court sentence. An absolute discharge from the sentence is the completion of any sentence including imprisonment, probation, parole, community supervision, or any form of court supervision (no committee instructions are given).
Of note, if enough time has passed since the conviction, state law may allow a nurse 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 nursing professional can contact an attorney to assist the applicant in obtaining these reductions if they haven’t already pursued these options in the state where their case occurred.
Fingerprint Clearance Card Denial and or Suspension
A felony could also have repercussions with Arizona Nurse Fingerprint Clearance Cards. Applicants face fingerprint card denial if child abuse, welfare fraud, theft, or robbery are found during the background check. Possession or use of any controlled substance can also result in a denial. These are just a few of the offenses that cause a denial. If a person already holds a fingerprint card but receives a new offense they face a fingerprint card suspension. Losing a fingerprint clearance card may also result in the loss of work.
Arizona Nursing Misdemeanor
The attorneys at Chelle Law assist nursing professionals in interpreting Board policy. This information can be found on the Board website. Our attorneys help nurses with their application to show the nursing professional isn’t a danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the public and is able to 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 nurse. If you’re currently a nursing professional with a conviction it’s important to educate yourself on what you must do to protect your license. Chelle Law helps nurses with self-reporting a misdemeanor DUI and other related misdemeanor charges.
Consultation wih Chelle Law
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.