How will a DUI, Felony or Misdemeanor Affect My Nursing Licence?

The California State Board of Nursing may discipline any action considered “unprofessional conduct”, such as a DUI,  under the Nurse Practice Act located in the California Business & Professions Code and Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations.  The board also may take disciplinary action against a certified or licensed nurse for drug-related transgressions, including using drugs or alcoholic beverages in a way dangerous or injurious to oneself or others.  The Board of Nursing has the power to discipline for issues relating to controlled substances and substance abuse.

What equals conviction for a DUI?

According to the Business and Professions Code, a plea of guilty or a verdict of guilty or a conviction following a plea of no lo contendere are all considered convictions, thereby giving the Board the right to take action.

Should I report my DUI to the  Nursing Board?

You should report to the Board of Nursing any felony conviction, DUI and substance-related convictions whether felony or misdemeanor, misdemeanor convictions for any offense substantially related to professional duties/activities, misdemeanor convictions for charges that might be considered unprofessional conduct, and situations where a court orders you to participate in an in-patient or out-patient substance abuse program.

What if I don’t report a conviction or guilty plea for my DUI?

If you do not report a conviction you are required to report, you may face more severe professional discipline. Most professional boards receive notification from the courts every time a licensed professional is convicted of a crime. Even if your professional status never came up during your trial or plea, your identifying information is cross-indexed with the professional directories so that the Board can receive notice. You may remember supplying the board with your fingerprints upon applying for or renewing your license—that was so that the Board of Nursing could obtain notification of future criminal convictions you may receive.

When can the Nursing Board take action?

The board is permitted to take disciplinary action after the time for appeal has elapsed, or if the judgment of conviction has been affirmed on appeal, or when an order granting probation is made suspending the imposition of sentence. If you have been convicted or pleaded guilty, the board likely has received notice from the court but is waiting to take disciplinary action against you until the conviction rests. Boards generally look more favorably upon members who are forthcoming about their actions and attempt to cooperate with the disciplinary process—this system is different than the typical criminal defense system. Although of course you would not want to disclose prematurely in case you receive a favorable outcome in the courts and are then under no obligation to report.

What is the Board of Nursing’s legal backing?

The Board has the power to discipline members convicted of a criminal offense involving any controlled substance as defined in Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code or any dangerous drug or dangerous device as defined in Section 4022. The Board’s power to discipline applies to improper possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance.In addition, the Board may discipline members who use any controlled substance or alcoholic beverages to an extent or in a manner dangerous or injurious to himself or herself, any other person, or to the public.

This means that the Board can discipline its members for DUIs, especially where an injury has resulted. The Board not only has the power to discipline members convicted of a criminal offense involving any controlled substance, but also to discipline its members who are committed or confined by a court for substance abuse or addiction.

Am I doomed if I receive a conviction for my DUI?

No! The Nursing Board reviews matters on a case-by-case basis, considering factors such as the nature of the act, harm or potential harm to the public, prior criminal and/or disciplinary history. The Board takes a conviction as conclusive evidence of unprofessional conduct, but that is not the end of the story because although you may not be able to dispute that the circumstances giving rise to the conviction occurred, the Board will likely be interested in your explanation and you’re your entire record. In addition, the board considers any mitigating circumstances and evidence of rehabilitation, so it behooves you to self-report and, if the cause of the conviction is something that can be addressed through therapy or a substance abuse program, to enroll immediately.

What should I do next?

The Nursing Board takes felony convictions and misdemeanors related to job performance, controlled substances, and substance abuse seriously. If you are a professional facing a potential criminal conviction, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who has your personal and professional interests at heart.  Do not delay; contact Defense Attorney Thomas Greenberg now to set up a time to consult about your case.  Your carreer is on the line, call (650) 242-0021 now.

Open Container Laws in California

It is not uncommon to hear stories from the 1970’s and 1980’s when our grandparents generation still drove on road trips with a six pack of beer or a fifth of whiskey to make the trip go by faster.  Having an open container while driving wasn’t uncommon during our their generation; it was a very different era.  However, California open container laws have changed.

Possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle in the State of California is now a violation of law.

open container law california

Under Vehicle Code section 23222(a), no person may have an open container of alcohol in their possession in a vehicle.  The good news is that this violation is only an infraction and will not result in jail time.  A conviction for all open container violations under the vehicle code, except Vehicle Code section 23223(which does not result in a point on your record), will result in a fine and a point on your record for a moving violation.

Open Container Under 21 Years of Age

If you are under the age of 21, California’s zero tolerance law will result in a one year license suspension for either having an open container or under Vehicle Code section 23136, having .01% blood alcohol or greater if you are convicted.  It is the DMV administrative per se hearing, not the court action, which causers the license suspension.  Those under age 21 will also receive a one year license suspension for possession of marijuana in a searched vehicle under Vehicle Code section 23222(b).

California Municipalities Treat Open Container Laws Differently

Different municipalities in California have different regulations regarding alcohol.  Many of these are misdemeanors.  Contact Top San Mateo County DUI Lawyer Thomas Greenberg to consult about your local regulations regarding alcohol possession laws for localized information.  Call (650) 242-0021 to review what defenses options you have available to you.

California Changes Penal Code section 4019

The glory days of receiving half time credit in county jail for individuals sentenced on DUIs or other misdemeanor and felony probationary sentences are officially over.  The California legislature apparently feels that our jails are not overcrowded enough with DUI, simple drug possession, and drunk in public cases.  California’s most popular free hotel, the county jail, is opening up more beds.

Penal Code section 4019 has recently been amended (again).  Effective September 29, 2010, inmates serving misdemeanor or felony probationary sentences will receive only one third credit against their sentences.

Inmates will no longer receive half time credit on misdemeanor charges in county jail.  The California law is reverting back to its previous state in which inmates will be receiving one third credit towards their sentences.  Defendants sentenced to state prison will still receive their half time credit towards their state prison sentence.

Sex offenders and inmates sentenced to prison on strikes or strike priors will receive a maximum of one third credit for time they serve in county jail.  Those inmates sentenced to prison on violent felonies will still have to serve eighty-five percent of their sentence.

To learn more about probation & probation violations in California, contact Attorney Thomas Greenberg.

Can a DUI affect Visa Restrictions?

DUI affecting Visa to Untied StatesDUI or drunk driving convictions can negatively affect your ability to obtain a visa for travel to the United States and potentially result in a denial of a visa application.

In cases where an applicant has received a DUI conviction, the United States government will refer the applicant for evaluation by a panel physician.  This evaluation is required in cases where an applicant has had one conviction within the past three calendar years or two convictions in their lifetime.  The applicant may also be evaluated by the physician for current signs or symptoms of alcoholism.

Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), makes inadmissible any person with a mental disorder who is deemed to a threat or potential threat to themselves or others.  Section 212 makes inadmissible any applicant who is a drug user or addict.  Alcohol abuse or addiction is included in Section 212 regarding inadmissibility.  Applicants should disclose any DUI or alcohol related arrest on their visa applications.  Failure to disclose a DUI or alcohol related arrest is considered misrepresentation and will result in admissibility.

DUI convictions can also have negative consequences on citizenship applications.  A foreign national receiving a DUI while traveling in the United States can have an immigration hold placed on them.  The individual may also be deported at the conclusion of the DUI court proceedings.   Our law office frequently receives phone calls from family members of individuals who have immigration holds due to criminal arrests while in the United States.

Contact Top San Mateo DUI Attorney Thomas Greenberg to learn more.

This blog is for informational purposes only.  Reading or responding to this blog is not intended to create, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Do not act based upon this information unless you consult with an attorney first.  Please consult with an attorney for case specific information.  You may contact the Law Offices of Thomas Greenberg at (650) 242-0021 for case specific information.