What Is the Impact of a DWI on a Nursing License?
While the consequences of a DWI charge vary from state to state, the Missouri Nursing Board takes any criminal charge against its nurses very seriously.
In addition to potential jail time and criminal record, these criminal charges can result in disciplinary actions ranging from probation to license revocation. In other words, DUI convictions can be life-changing and negatively impact someone’s nursing career.
What Are Potential DWI Consequences for Missouri Nurses?
There are several potential consequences if you are convicted of driving while impaired. The determination of penalties can vary based on the nature and severity of the offense, as well as whether it is a first-time or repeat offense.
Common penalties for a DWI include probation and license suspension. The suspension period depends on your past disciplinary history with the board. You may also have to attend counseling or recovery programs, go through random drug or alcohol tests and intervention programs as well as pay fines ranging from $500 to $10,000. In some cases, you may need to surrender your license to practice nursing until an investigation or any required probationary period has been completed.
The Nursing State Board may initiate a disciplinary proceeding against nurses violating the Nursing Practice Act. Even if no action is taken against you by the board, your employer may decide to terminate your employment due to the charge or conviction.
DWI can also severely impact your ability to practice medicine in other states since many states require disclosing all prior formal disciplinary actions when applying for licensure.
How Will a Nursing Board Find Out About a DWI Conviction?
The Missouri Nursing Board is often notified of criminal convictions by employers and through background checks. In addition, federal law requires states to report certain crimes directly to the relevant licensing agencies within 30 days of conviction.
The board also regularly monitors court records for criminal activity and will issue an investigation letter if they find anything that could be considered professional misconduct or grounds for additional discipline.
What Charges Can Negatively Impact Someone’s Nursing License in Missouri?
Missouri law (RsMO 335.066) allows the Nursing Board to revoke a license of someone who has obtained a felony conviction or is convicted of a crime or offense such as:
- Professional misconduct or negligence
- Sexual misconduct
- Acts of violence
- Moral turpitude violations
Although a DUI conviction is often not considered a crime of moral turpitude, it can be the reason for a revoked license. That is especially the case if someone is a repeat offender or convicted of a felony DWI.
How Can an Attorney Help a Registered Nurse With a DWI Conviction?
A DUI has collateral consequences that can severely impact nurses practicing in Missouri beyond facing criminal charges. The Missouri Board of Nursing takes any criminal activity very seriously. It will investigate all reports they receive before deciding whether or not disciplinary action should be taken against an individual nurse’s license.
That’s why it’s essential for nurses who have been charged with driving under the influence to seek legal advice from a qualified DWI lawyer as soon as possible. That way, they can understand their rights and responsibilities under state law before taking further action regarding their case.