California, like many other states, has strict rules when it comes to health care providers such as RN, LVN or MDs who are arrested for DUI. If a nurse pleads guilty or no contest to driving under the influence, the Board of Registered Nursing will probably take action to suspend or revoke a person's nursing license.
In a recently published Court opinion, that's exactly what happened. In that case, the Court described the facts as follows: a registered nurse lost control of his car one night while driving home from a party, and collided with the center divider of the freeway. A breathalyzer test measured his blood alcohol level at 0.16 %. As a result of this incident, the nurse plead guilty to a misdemeanor DUI, in violation of Vehicle Code section 23152.
The Board of Registered Nursing filed an accusation alleging that the nurse was subject to discipline. At the hearing, the nurse presented evidence that he was a highly respected nurse who had no prior disciplinary actions. His colleagues testified that they never seen any sign that the nurse was impaired on the job, and he did not have a habit of coming in late or calling in sick. A board-certified psychiatrist evaluated the nurse and testified that the nurse did not meet the diagnosis criteria or alcohol abuse or dependence, and that his conviction represented a single, isolated episode of poor judgment.
Nonetheless, the nurse's license was revoked, but the revocation was stayed subject to three years of probation. The administrative law judge found that the discipline was appropriate under Business and Professions Code section 2762 which defines unprofessional conduct the conviction "of a criminal offense involving the… consumption… or self-administration" of alcohol.
As a result, any health care professional who is arrested for DUI, needs to consult with an attorney and should proceed with caution.
If you are a nurse, LVN or a Doctor, and are facing driving under the influence charges, we offer a free and confidential consultation. Our law office is located near the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California. We represent health care professionals who have been arrested for DUI in Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Wildomar, Perris, Banning, Corona, Winchester or Riverside.