Can I Get a Nursing License With a Drug Charge?
Obtaining a nursing education can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor. Being convicted of a drug crime can derail your efforts to obtain a nursing license and put your future career in serious jeopardy. If you already have a nursing license when convicted, you could face disciplinary measures by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
If you are a nursing student pursuing a license, or are already a registered nurse, and have been convicted of a drug crime, an attorney may be able to help you get the charge expunged from your record, as well as offering advice on how to navigate the application or disciplinary process while having a conviction.
The California Board of Registered Nursing is in charge of issuing nursing licenses and, during this process, screens all applicants’ criminal history. On your application, you must disclose all felony and misdemeanor drug convictions, including those that have been dismissed or expunged.
Failure to disclose all of your prior drug convictions could result in your application being denied. Even if you were granted and successfully completed diversion and had the charge removed from your record, you still must report the drug conviction on your application.
However, if the drug charge involved marijuana, the rules on disclosure are different. In California, a marijuana conviction under Health & Safety Code Sections 11357 or 11360 will be sealed and destroyed two years after the conviction date. In this instance, you do not have to disclose a marijuana drug charge. By consulting a qualified attorney, you can ensure that any marijuana drug conviction has been removed from your record, pursuant to California law.
As of January 2015, an applicant cannot be denied a nursing license solely because of a criminal charge if that charge has been expunged from his or her record. An attorney who is experienced with expungements can help you remove certain drug convictions from your record to prevent your nursing license application from being denied solely on that basis.
If you already have a nursing license when you are charged with a drug crime, you could face disciplinary action by the California Board of Nursing. A California registered nurse can be disciplined for unprofessional conduct which, among other things, includes the illegal use of drugs. You may be disciplined for charges even if the drug convictions would later be eligible for expungement.
Penalties for drug convictions include public reprimand, probation, license suspension and license revocation, as well as the payment of fines and costs. If you do face discipline, you are entitled to an administrative hearing during which an attorney can represent your interests.
If you are a nursing student with a drug conviction who is applying for your license, or a registered nurse who faces disciplinary action for a drug conviction, a qualified attorney can help you expunge your record and represent you in an administrative disciplinary hearing.
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If you are trying to become a nurse and have been charged with a drug crime, speaking with a skilled drug crime defense lawyer with experience at your local court is in your best interest. Those facing charges in Southern California can have their case evaluated for free by calling (888) 250-2865. Attorney Collins has a “Superb” AVVO attorney rating and was previously a prosecutor and member of the narcotics task force. Contact us today to get help.
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