Arizona Nurse Misdemeanor
Nurses contact our board of nursing attorney and frequently ask, does state law allow a nurse with a criminal misdemeanor conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Board of Nursing?
The short answer is yes.
A misdemeanor for an Arizona nurse will not necessarily prevent a nurse (like an RN, LPN, or NP) from obtaining a license or a career in the health or medical field. However, the Board has a public policy on its website which covers the details of what circumstances a nurse with a case that resulted in a felony criminal conviction can get licensed.
This policy does not apply to conduct involving misdemeanor charges or convictions. Once a nurse applies to the Arizona State Board of Nursing, they need to disclose any felony criminal court convictions on their application. It must occur no matter how much time or years have passed since the conviction.
The Board will also inquire about past misdemeanor charges that resulted in a conviction. It helps the Board ensure the nurse can perform safe patient care despite a felony or other conviction on their record.
Disclosing a Misdemeanor on an Arizona Nurse Application
Suppose a nursing applicant is not required to disclose a misdemeanor (like a misdemeanor DUI). In that case, the Board can still initiate an investigation based on fingerprint background check results.
The Board then contacts the nurse and initiates an investigation utilizing the Arizona Nurse Practice Act law. The 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 misdemeanor or charges occurred. The Board wants to know whether the applicant can provide safe nursing care.
The attorneys at Chelle Law assist nurses with interpreting Board policy (generally contained on the Board website). They also help nurses with their application to show the Board the nurse isn’t a danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the public and can provide safe care.
Reporting a Misdemeanor 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 the nurse to report any criminal misdemeanor charge that may affect patient safety to the Arizona State Board of Nursing. It must occur within ten business days; the nurse must report any felony charges.
It applies to both current licensees and applicants for licensure.
The Board has a page on its website which lists what misdemeanor charges the nurse must report. The board then reviews the investigator’s report to determine if disciplinary action is necessary. It’s important to note it’s considered unprofessional conduct when a nurse receives a misdemeanor or felony charge and fails to report it to the board within ten business days. It can result in additional disciplinary actions.
Arizona Criminal Charges Nurses Must Report
There are several criminal charges a nurse, nursing student, or applicant for a nursing license must report. These include:
- Assault and similar offenses such as battery, threat of violence, harassment, striking another, touching with the intent to injure, etc. This includes domestic violence.
- Theft and similar offenses such as stealing, receiving stolen property, looting, trespassing, passing bad checks, etc.
- Fraud, such as identity theft, credit card fraud, misrepresentation, welfare fraud, insurance fraud, etc.
- Abuse, neglect, and similar offenses such as child or elder abuse, physical or emotional abuse, abandonment, endangerment, etc.
- Sexual offenses and crimes such as rape, molestation, sexual harassment, unwanted touch, prostitution, pornography, immoral sexual conduct, etc.
- Drug and alcohol offenses such as DUI, theft of drugs, use of drugs, sale of drugs, growing, possession of drugs and/or paraphernalia, etc.
- Arson such as deliberately setting a fire.
- Animal abuse and animal cruelty.
Concealing Criminal Charges
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. Should they find out, the discipline will be not only for the criminal charge but also for concealing it. It could eventually lead to an Arizona nursing license suspension.
Arizona Undesignated Offense
Being convicted of an Arizona Nurse Undesignated Felony could have massive repercussions on a nurse’s career. In 2010 the state of Arizona made a slight change to SB1096 and Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) § 13-604(A).
The change allows the Board to treat an undesignated offense that occurs/occurred after 23 July 2010 as a felony until the court enters an order designating the offense as a misdemeanor. See the Arizona Board of Nursing Felony Bar update.
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.