Our client is an RN who was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) with a blood alcohol level measured at 0.20%. There was also a minor rear-end collision, but the registered nurse was off duty. This was an isolated incident by an excellent RN who has strong support from a supervisor and colleagues. Furthermore, an addiction psychiatrist determined that our client does not have an alcohol problem.
We proceeded to an administrative hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) in Los Angeles because we could not reach a settlement with the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). The obstacle to settlement was the BRN's insistance on probation for three years with its standard terms of probation 1-13 plus substance abuse conditions 14-19. (You can review these terms from the BRN's Disciplinary Guidelines, a PDF will open in a new window, but go to the BRN website for up-to-date documents.) At the conclusion of the administrative hearing, the Deputy Attorney General representing the BRN requested that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) order three years probation with terms of probation 1-19. We argued that probation is not warranted in this case and asked the ALJ to order that our client be reprimanded by Public Reproval pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 495. The ALJ agreed that probation is not necessary to protect the public and ordered that the nurse be reproved. Public reproval is a notation on the nurse's record published on the BRN's website for three years.
We are very pleased with the final result because this minor discipline did not affect our client's employment. Note that this result is very similar to the result published earlier at Nurse With DUI Wins Public Reprimand After Administrative Hearing.