What Could Happen When a Nurse Is Arrested for or Convicted of DUI?

nurse worried at work convicted dui
A DUI conviction does not have to be a career-ending mistake— even for licensed healthcare professionals. It IS important to address your DUI arrest quickly and with the right approach.

For Nurses Already Licensed in Washington State:

If you’re already licensed in Washington, there are no mandatory consequences for your license! This means that the Nursing Commission is not required by law to take action against you, though they may choose to. There are several things you should be aware of.

You are a mandatory reporter to the Nursing Commission. You are therefore compelled to report and explain the circumstances of your arrest and/or conviction.

You may be required to provide some documentation showing that your arrest and/or conviction do not impact your ability to provide patient care. The factors surrounding a DUI conviction that would likely be considered by the Nursing Commission include:

  • Your prior criminal history
  • The final outcome of the case
  • Length of time in the profession
  • The extent of your drug/alcohol problem

Though the Nursing Commission may not impact your license at this point, the collateral consequences of a DUI can be far-reaching. These types of consequences occur in all workplace settings, but their significance is healthcare can’t be ignored. They include:

  • Disciplinary action from your employer
  • Absences due to court, attorney meetings, and jail time.
  • Embarrassment, judgment from peers and colleagues
  • A criminal record can have a lasting impact on your reputation and subsequent ability to find new employment, receive promotions, etc.

The most important step you can take to protect yourself and understand your options is to discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney. Hopefully, if your charges can be reduced or dismissed, you won’t have to worry about these consequences.

For Nursing Students

If you’re thinking of becoming a nurse or are currently in nursing school, your DUI arrest might not impact your ability to start or continue school. It’s uncommon for universities to deny someone admission based on a misdemeanor DUI conviction. However, many schools will revoke the scholarships of those who have been convicted of DUIs. Remember, each school is different, as is each case.

The challenge for nursing students arises when it comes time to take listening examinations. At this point, the nursing commission uses the following criteria to assess potential licensees:

DUI – First Offense- (no bodily harm)

Conviction 0 - 3 years ago: Issue credential

Conviction 3 - 7 years ago: Issue credential

DUI – Second Offense

Conviction 0 - 3 years ago: Issue with sanctions

Conviction 3 - 7 years ago: Issue credential

Standard DUI Penalties

Even if a DUI conviction has no impact on your nursing license, if convicted, you will still face standard DUI penalties such as:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Drivers’ license suspension
  • An ignition interlock device
  • Lengthy Probation

Heroes Fighting for Heroes

While a single misdemeanor DUI arrest will most likely not put an end to your nursing career, it could cause trouble in your future. DUIHeroes value our first responders and medical professionals, and proudly offer discounted services to them. We understand that mistakes happen, and when they do, we want to be there to help you fight for the best possible outcome.

Give us a call today (425) 296-9358 for more information about how our team can help protect your future.

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