Arizona Nursing Board Criminal History
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 a reportable criminal charge within 10 business days is a violation of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act and could result in Arizona Nursing Board Discipline.
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What Current and Past Crimes Must Be Reported?
A felony must be reported within 10 days of being charged. The following types of misdemeanor or other criminal histories are crimes that have been determined by the Board to be reportable pursuant to A.RS § 32-3208:
- 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
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 which could result in Arizona Nursing Board Probation.
DUI Criminal History
Nurses who contact our office frequently ask our attorney’s if state law allows a nursing professional with a DUI crime 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.
Nursing License Criminal Consequences
This specific policy does not apply to criminal conduct involving misdemeanor DUI charges or convictions. Once a nursing professional applies for a license to practice to 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 how many years have passed since the time of the conviction or case. The AZ Board may also ask about past DUI misdemeanor criminal charges or cases that resulted in a conviction. This is done to ensure a nurse can perform safe patient care and can have safe direct contact with patients or other providers.
Disclosing a Criminal Record for an Applicant
If a nursing license applicant (like an RN) is not required to disclose a legal misdemeanor DUI, the AZ Board can still initiate an investigation based upon the results of a health care 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 rehabilitated in the time 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 attorney’s at Chelle Law assist nurses with interpreting Board policy (which is generally on the Board website). Our attorney’s help the healthcare workers and nurses with their application to show the Board the nursing professional isn’t a danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public and is able to provide safe patient care.
Criminal Record and Convictions
One question our attorneys are frequently asked is whether state law allows a nursing professional with a felony criminal background to get a license with the Arizona State Board of Nursing? The short answer is, yes. An Arizona 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 (like an RN) with a case that resulted in a criminal sentence can get a license.
Criminal Charges for Nurses with the Arizona Board
When a professional applies to the Arizona State Bd of Nursing, they must disclose a felony criminal court sentence (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 Nurse Felony Conviction Bar
If a nurse discloses a criminal record on their application, Board policy and state law holds 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 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.
Arizona Nursing Background Verification Assistance
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.