Can I become a nurse with a DUI charge on my record?

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Can I become a nurse with a DUI charge on my record?

I am being charged with a DUI and was going to try and start a CNA program and eventually work my way up to RN. I have heard that some states don’t allow you to become a nurse with a DUI charge on your record. What are AK’s laws on this?

Asked on August 9, 2011 Alaska

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Each state has different requirements for their nurses.  The criminal background of potential nurses is reported to the state’s licensing board.  The least amount of offenses you have on your criminal record, the less issue you will have with the licensing board in attempting to become a nurse in your state.  Getting a DUI should not prohibit you from obtaining a nursing license, nor prevent you from actively practicing as a nurse.  However, you have an uphill battle to climb before obtaining your license, which you may have expected.  In addition to reporting this offense on your application, you may also need to attend an interview with a member of the licensing board for your state, you will need to submit a substantial amount of paperwork detailing your criminal history, and a letter explaining this specific offense. 

 

In addition to completing this initial process for your state, you will more than likely need to repeat this process for any other state in which you wish to seek a nursing license.  But again, although a lengthy process, it should not prevent you from obtaining the license.  You may feel more comfortable contacting a criminal defense attorney in your area that specializes in this field that could assist you further with this process.


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