How a DUI may affect your Ohio nursing license

Happy New Year!

Over this holiday weekend, I have received calls from several health care professionals who have been charged with a DUI inquiring how or whether a criminal charge may affect their license to practice as a nurse in Ohio.

First, it is important to understand that the Ohio Nursing Board may take a disciplinary action against a nurse for certain criminal convictions, even if the charge does not relate to the practice of nursing. Second, it is important to understand that a DUI is not considered a “minor traffic violation”.  A DUI, even if reduced to a lesser offense, such as disorderly conduct or reckless operation of a vehicle, is still of concern to the Nursing Board and may result in a sanction to the nurse’s professional license.

If you have been charged with a DUI, you should seek competent legal counsel to assist you through the criminal case process.  In certain instances, you may be accepted into a treatment program which, if successfully completed, may result in no criminal conviction or the charges may be reduced to a less serious offense.

A conviction for a DUI or certain other criminal offenses may result in negative consequences for your professional license.  While you are not required to immediately notify the Ohio Nursing Board that you have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, you may need to disclose the criminal matter when you renew your professional license, depending on the matter.  At the time you renew your license, you should consider hiring legal counsel to assist you to accurately respond to the questions on the renewal application and to prepare any documents necessary or required by the renewal application.

The way in which the Ohio Nursing Board handles your criminal case will depend on a variety of factors.  In determining what sanction, if any, that the Ohio Nursing Board might impose, the Ohio Nursing Board will consider factors including but not limited to the following:

  • the seriousness of the matter;
  • whether the matter relates to your professional practice;
  • whether the matter is your first criminal matter; and
  • whether you fully cooperate and complete any requirements of the Court.

Depending on the circumstances of your matter, the Ohio Nursing Board can order the nurse to submit to a chemical dependency assessment to determine if treatment is needed and/or can require the nurse to submit to a period of random drug testing.  Additionally,  the Ohio Nursing Board has the authority to suspend a nurse’s license and/or can place the nurse on probation.

If you need treatment, you should obtain comprehensive treatment. The Ohio Nursing Board does not maintain an approved list of treatment providers.  The nurse may choose any treatment center that will provide them with the treatment needed for their addiction.

As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please contact one of the attorneys at the Collis Law Group at 614-486-3909 or email me at beth@collislaw.com.

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You can be licensed as a nurse in Ohio with a criminal history … depending on the crime

In Ohio, it is possible to be licensed as a nurse even if you have a prior criminal background. However, there are certain crimes that are considered absolute bars to licensure and if convicted of one of these particular crimes, you will be permanently barred from ever being licensed as a nurse in the state of Ohio. Crimes that are an absolute bar to licensure include: Aggravated Murder, Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter, Felonious Assault, Kidnapping, Rape, Sexual Battery, Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Burglary, Gross Sexual Imposition, and Aggravated Arson.

If you have a prior criminal history that does not include one of the absolute bars listed above, you may attend nursing school and apply for a license in Ohio. You will be required to inform your nursing school at the time of admission of your criminal history and the school can choose whether or not to admit you to their program based on the severity of the crime. However, each school has a different standard for their admission criteria. You should speak to the admissions director at the school prior to applying to determine if your prior criminal history would prevent you from entering the nursing program.

However, completion of a nursing program, even from an accredited nursing school, does not guarantee that you will be licensed as a nurse in Ohio. Even if you have not been convicted of one of the absolute bar listed above, you must disclose your conviction on the application for a nursing license in Ohio. The nursing board reviews all applications in detail and will decide on a case by case basis if they will grant you a license. In considering whether the Ohio Board of Nursing will issue you a license, they will consider factors such as your age at the time of the conviction, whether the conviction involved drugs or alcohol, whether you placed someone else’s life in danger, and whether the conviction involved a minor.

In addition, the Ohio Board of Nursing will not advise you in advance of you attending nursing school whether you will be granted a license. So, if you have a criminal conviction, you do run the risk of attending nursing school and not being licensed in Ohio or being licensed subject to disciplinary action. However, the Board will consider the individual facts in your case and if you have not been convicted of one of the absolute bars listed above, the Board has the authority to grant you a license.

For more information about seeking a license as a nurse in Ohio with a prior criminal history, go the following link at the Board’s website: http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/PDFS/Discipline/CriminalHistory.pdf

As always, if you have any questions about this post or the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please feel free to contact me at 614-486-3909 or email me at beth@collislaw.com.