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Nurses: report every conviction

Professional licensing boards in California can set very high standards for license renewal. None is tougher than the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). By state law they are required to deny license renewal for many felony convictions. In practice, a license can be revoked for even minor infractions.

If you have been convicted of any crime there is a good chance that it will influence your license. There are ways you can stay on top of this, however, and minimize the possibility that it is suspended or revoked pending a lengthy appeal process.

The law

Under the California Nursing Practice Act, the BRN is authorized to revoke a license for “Conviction of a felony or of any offense substantially related to the qualifications, functions, and duties of a registered nurse.”

In practice, this has been taken to mean that you are required to report any conviction where the fine is over $1,000 or any jail time, or the offense involves drugs or alcohol.

The BRN requires you to report any conviction or plea of no contest within 30 days of the hearing in which it was entered. This includes anything which fits the criteria above. It does not include anything which you were arrested for but not convicted.

What will happen?

In most cases, any conviction that has no bearing on your profession will be ignored. For example, it is possible to have a traffic ticket for over $1,000. That needs to be reported as soon as the fine is paid. It would be unlikely to impact your license, however.

If you do not report it, the failure to report may come up when your license needs to be renewed. That is a more serious infraction and can result in suspension of your license.

What can be done?

If you have failed to report any conviction within the time allotted you may have issues with your license. It is best to consult with a professional license attorney about your situation.

Even if you license is suspended, it can be appealed. If you’ve done the time for your crime, it’s important that you take steps to not make it worse and take your livelihood away.

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