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Afraid of losing your license in Arizona?

How Can DUI Charges Affect Your Nursing License?

A driving under the influence (DUI) charge can be crippling to many people. It may lead to fines and even jail time under Arizona law. While that in itself is worrisome, for some people, in specific professions, it can also make it hard for you to continue to do your job. How can DUI charges affect your nursing license? For many people, it could mean the suspension or revocation of their license.

If you are facing the loss of your nursing license, allow our professional Arizona nursing license defense attorney to help you. At Stewart Law Group, we work very closely with clients facing a wide range of legal challenges that put their professional licenses on the line – and we work to save them. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case.

What You Need to Know About Arizona Nursing License Requirements

The Arizona State Board of Nursing has very specific rules and regulations in place for alcohol or drug use complaints. You can read these rules, which fall under ARS 41-1091 (B), and the specific investigation and disciplinary guidelines that the Board follows for all aspects of DUI.

Can you lose your nursing license if you have a DUI? The most direct answer to this is yes, you can.

If you have a DUI on your record, does that mean you cannot obtain a license or work in the nursing field in Arizona? No, it does not automatically eliminate the potential for you to obtain a license, but there are numerous steps that must be taken to determine whether you are able to do so. For example, if you have a felony DUI conviction, it may make it difficult for you to obtain your nursing license. 

How Can DUI Charges Affect Your Nursing License?

What Is Going to Happen Now That You Have a DUI as a Nurse?

When you receive a DUI conviction, the Arizona Nursing Board does not automatically bar you from working as a nurse, nor does it automatically suspend your license. The Board does “reserve the right” to remove your license if it deems that necessary and beneficial. There are some situations where the Board will recognize the DUI occurred, issue a violation of the code of ethics or standards of practice to you, and then issue a warning.

That is not what happens in most cases, though. That is, without defense support and guidance, it is very hard to protect your license going forward. The Board may make the decision to revoke your licenses. This is more likely to happen if this is a repeat offense or if there are felony charges in relation to the DUI.

Make Sure You Self-Report Your DUI

It may not be something you want to do, but self-reporting your DUI to the Board is the first and most important step you need to take. You are required to do so within 10 days of the arrest being made. Keep in mind that even at that point, you may not be convicted of the DUI. You still need to report it now.

What to Expect After

Once you self-report and alert the Arizona Nursing Board of the DUI offense, you can expect them to conduct an investigation to gather more insight into what occurred. Your situation’s severity and specific circumstances will ultimately lead to the decision they make.

Often, the Board will decide that the circumstances warrant suspension of your license. Other times, removal may be the decision they make. They will look at factors such as:

  • The circumstances of what occurred
  • Repeat offenses
  • Complications involved, such as causing property damage or injury to others
  • Signs of alcohol abuse
  • Other factors related to your use of drugs or alcohol

DUI convictions may remain on your record for up to 7 years. That means that if you have a background check at a later time, that information will remain present and accessible.

Will The Board Require Treatment?

There are some situations where the Board may require that, to maintain your license, you need to seek treatment for suspected alcohol or drug abuse. These situations are very specific to the situation, but it is within the Board’s right to require this. A rehabilitation program could be a core component of the disciplinary action they issue at the time of receiving the DUI.

They may have other requirements as well. This may include providing progress reports from rehabilitation programs. You may need to show proof that you completed the program. Other times, they may want evidence of the completion of other penalties and requirements being met. For example, if the court orders you to do community service, you want to be sure that it is completed and that fines are paid. 

What Can You Do to Protect Your Nursing License?

This type of legal situation is terrifying for someone that is passionate about nursing and has put in a lot of work to earn their license. There is a lot on the line during this process. As a result, it is up to you to be aggressive in getting the best possible outcome. That does not mean navigating this process on your own or trying to wait and see what happens.

That means we recommend working with an attorney who can help you. We will help you to learn what the legal options are in your particular case, and that often includes working to protect your license, build a strong defense for you, and work passionately to navigate the licensing board’s requirements. We have specific experience working with the Arizona State Board of Nursing Disciplinary Actions. That includes ensuring that your nursing license or certificate remains intact whenever possible.

Call Stewart Law Group Today

Make us your first call. Contact Stewart Law Group now for a free consultation. Let us help you better understand how a DUI can affect your nursing license and what legal steps you can take to preserve your right to do what you love. We offer consultations with no obligation. There is nothing to lose by calling us to inquire about what we can do to support you through this process.