Prior to 1990, the California Board of Registered Nursing did not require nurses submitting renewal applications to provide fingerprints at the time of application. Background information was also not required for license renewals. Since then however, the rules and the law have changed.
Title 16, California Code of Regulations, Sections 1419, 1419.1, and 1419.3 require the submission of fingerprints when a nurse renews his or her California nursing license if the licensee was not previously fingerprinted by the Board or if a record of fingerprint submission no longer exists. Since 2010, the Board of Registered Nursing has been enforcing the mandatory collection of fingerprints and background information on California nurses seeking to renew their nursing licenses. Failure to submit a full set of fingerprints to the DOJ on or before the date required for renewal of a license is grounds for discipline by the Board of Registered Nursing.
Live Scan fingerprinting of California nurses now allows their licensing agency (such as the BRN) to conduct background checks on nurses. Live Scan prints are shared with the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for California and are used for nationwide criminal record checks.
What is little known is that DOJ had the right to grant access of criminal records to tangential agencies (lenders, realtors, employers etc.). It is not unheard of that realtors, employers, lenders etc. now can gain access to all the background data associated with fingerprint records.
What To Do If You Have A Prior Criminal Conviction
If you know you have a past or recent criminal conviction that will surface when you renew your California Nursing license, you should immediately contact and engage the help of an experienced licensing lawyer.
Here are some important factors to consider if you find yourself in this situation:
- While the California BRN has no statute of limitations, you can get a qualified legal opinion about the likelihood that the BRN will actually seek to discipline you for a past undisclosed conviction. The factors the Bureau may consider include the number and severity of the conviction(s), any pattern of behavior shown by the convictions, and the implications in terms of the need to protect public safety associated with your act(s). Building a case for license renewal is also critical including showing stable, credible fulltime employment, positive employer references and performance reviews if you later need to appear at a BRN hearing.
- Assess your employment options and financial resources before you face any disciplinary outcome. Many licensees are fired by their employers just for being accused of a crime even if they have a valid, unrestricted license at the time. Plan ahead for the financial requirements associated with protecting your license and proceeding through the disciplinary process. These costs include not only legal fees, but also the Board’s investigation and prosecution costs, which the Board can recoup at the time disciplinary action is taken.
- Finally, if your criminal conviction relates to some form of substance abuse, you should collaborate with a licensing law attorney so that the nature of the rehabilitation program improves your efforts to show progress to the board while your recovery maintains its anonymity. Your attorney will assist you find a rehab and/or counseling program which is credible and well-respected.
If you are a California nurse with a past criminal conviction or negative “rap” sheet worried about your California nursing license renewal, call the law offices of Lucy S. McAllister immediately. Our law professionals have successfully represented a wide range of California licensees and we are experienced in handling all types of licensing accusations and licensing issues as well as criminal cases. Let us help you protect your professional nursing license, your reputation, and your livelihood.
For additional information or to schedule a consultation on a professional licensing issue, please contact our law offices today at (877) 280-9944.