We all know that drinking and driving is against the law. But what many of us forget is that driving after only one drink can make a driver impaired if they are tired and have not gotten enough sleep. Unfortunately for those in the nursing profession, long and erratic hours can make proper sleep a luxury they don't have. And after a long, stressful day on the job, a nurse who wants a glass of wine or two to unwind with friends can end up being arrested for a DUI.
Under Georgia law, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 % or higher, they are considered per se intoxicated. However, even when the driver's BAC is not over 0.08 % the police may arrest a driver if they think they are impaired. This can come from alcohol interacting with other factors like medications, marijuana, or lack of sleep.
Whatever the reason for getting arrested for driving under the influence, the fact remains that you will be forced to deal with the arrest and the possible consequences. You need to make sure that a simple DUI arrest won't affect your nursing profession. If you are arrested, there may be no need to report the arrest yet. But if you don't fight the charge, and get a conviction, you will have to report the DUI conviction.
Georgia Board of Nursing Reporting
The Georgia Board of Nursing is responsible for licensing new nurses, and overseeing currently licensed LPNs, RNs and other nursing professionals. Any criminal conviction will be considered by the board. If the board makes a determination that the nurse is not fit to practice nursing, their license can be suspended or even revoked. The type of criminal conviction may determine what kind of disciplinary action, if any, the board takes.
Having a DUI arrest or other drug or alcohol related arrest is embarrassing, and you may want to keep it a secret. However, the nursing board can find out about any criminal convictions, and they will. Don't hide a DUI from the Board of Nursing. If they find out that you haven't reported a DUI, the consequences may be more severe than if you told them about the charge in the first place.
Luckily, most DUI convictions won't result in any real impact on your nursing career. Even the board of nursing understand that mistakes happen. A one-time DUI is usually enough of a deterrent for most people that they don't want to deal with it ever again. On the other hand, if a nurse has received multiple DUIs or a driving while impaired by drugs charge, this may signal an underlying substance abuse problem.
In some cases, a DUI can involve a drug possession charge, if the driver had any controlled substances when they were arrested, including marijuana. The board of nursing will be concerned about the possibility of substance abuse, and how it may impact the nurses fitness to practice. If the drug charge ends in a felony conviction, the nurses license will face a mandatory suspension or revocation.
If a nurse has to report more than one DUI, the board of nursing will more heavily scrutinize the convictions to determine if there is a substance abuse or addiction issue. As a result, the nursing board may have the nurse seek a medical evaluation to determine the presence of a substance abuse problem. The board may have the nurse seek treatment while under a probationary period.
Atlanta DUI Defense for Nurses
A DUI arrest is bad enough, don't let it become a conviction. You are innocent until proven guilty, and you have the right to have an experienced Georgia DUI defense lawyer fight your DUI charges. If you are a nurse charged with driving under the influence, give me a call. We will discuss just what happened, the possible outcomes, and decide how to defend your rights and keep your job.