An Arizona nurse who is charged with a DUI not only has to worry about the criminal consequences, but the professional repercussions with the Arizona Board of Nursing (“Board”) as well. Arizona law holds that any health professional who has been charged with a misdemeanor involving conduct that may affect patient safety (this includes a DUI) must notify their licensing board in writing within 10 business days after the charge is filed. There is confusion about the differences between a charge and a conviction, so here is an explanation differentiating the two. Being charged with a crime means that a police officer has issued an arrest or citation and has sent copies of their report to the prosecutor’s office for review. Being convicted of a crime means you have plead guilty, reached a plea agreement, been found guilty at trial, entered a diversion program or similar results.
Failure to report the criminal charge within 10 business days will result in an act of unprofessional conduct and the Board may impose a fine in addition to disciplinary action. Many professionals are given bad advice from their criminal defense attorney and are told they only have to report a conviction. This is not true!
Here are some common questions professionals have regarding reporting a DUI charge to a licensing board:
Q: If you have been charged with a DUI, what is the best way to inform your Board?
A: Contact me (an attorney) within 10 days of you being charged with a DUI and I can assist in drafting a response.
Q: What happens once I report the charge to the Board?
A: The Board will initiate an investigation and you will eventually have to go in front of the Board.
Q: What will the investigator look at?
A: Many things:
- What your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was.
- If you are charged with an Extreme DUI, it is likely that the Board will order an addiction evaluation.
- How many prior DUI convictions you have had.
- Whether you have a history of substance abuse.
- Do you have a record of substance abuse with your past employers.
Being charged with a DUI is an offense that every nurse should take seriously. The best advice I can give is to contact me immediately. Losing your driver’s license is one thing, but losing your professional license is something that must be avoided at all costs.
If you have been charged with a DUI and are concerned about the repercussions it will have with the Arizona Board of Nursing contact Arizona Board of Nursing DUI with Chelle Law.