Can You Lose Your Nursing License if You Get a DUI?

can you lose your nursing license if you get a dui


Need Legal Help With Financial & Professional Licensing (IDFPR)?

Contact us for a Free Consultation Below

Nurses are the backbone of the medical and healthcare industry, providing a vital service to those in need. As such, they must adhere to a strict code of conduct both on and off the job.

But what happens if a nurse violates this trust by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated? Can you lose your nursing license after receiving a DUI conviction?

The short answer is: maybe. Although state laws vary greatly regarding how DUIs are handled for nurses, many states (including Illinois) may take action against them if they are convicted or plead guilty to driving under the influence depending on the severity of the DUI.

This means that not only can you face penalties from law enforcement, but you can also be subject to disciplinary action from licensing boards which could include suspension or revocation of your nursing license.

In this article, we’ll discuss some important information about DUIs and how they can affect your nursing license.

DUI and Nursing Licensure

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is the state agency responsible for regulating and licensing nurses in Illinois.

Under Illinois Law a nurse’s license may be revoked, suspended, placed on probation, reprimanded, or IDFPR can take other action in a variety of situations, including:

Conviction by plea of guilty or nolo contendere, finding of guilt, jury verdict, or entry of judgment or by sentencing of any crime, including, but not limited to, convictions, preceding sentences of supervision, conditional discharge, or first offender probation, under the laws of any jurisdiction of the United States: (i) that is a felony; or (ii) that is a misdemeanor, an essential element of which is dishonesty, or that is directly related to the practice of the profession.

225 ILCS 65/70-5

When considering disciplinary action, IDFPR may consider several factors:

  • What type of license does the nurse hold?
  • Has the nurse been convicted of more than one DUI?
  • How serious was the accident? Were there injuries involved?
  • Is there evidence of substance abuse/addiction issues not reported to the board before the current incident?
  • Are there any prior disciplinary actions?
  • Was the plea or finding a misdemeanor or felony?

Based on these questions and other information, IDFPR has the authority to take various disciplinary actions against a nurse, including imposing fines, requiring education or training, placing the nurse on probation, or even revoking their license.

Professional Standards for Nursing Licensure

Professional standards are essential to nursing licensure, as they help ensure that licensed nurses provide safe and effective care to their patients. The Illinois Nursing Act sets forth specific standards of professional conduct that all licensed nurses must abide by.

Under the Illinois Nurse Practice Act, licensed nurses must maintain high professional conduct and ethics standards.

This includes:

  • Demonstrating competency in their practice
  • Respecting the rights and dignity of their patients
  • Maintaining confidentiality of patient information
  • Avoiding behaviors that could harm patients or discredit the nursing profession
  • Comply with all state and federal laws governing nursing practice
  • Maintain current licensure
  • Meet continuing education requirements
  • Report criminal convictions or disciplinary actions to IDFPR

DUI Consequences for Licensed Nurses

When it comes to DUI consequences for licensed nurses, the stakes are high. It is important to note that a DUI conviction can have other professional consequences even if a nurse’s license is not revoked.

Additional repercussions include:

  • Damage to reputation and career prospects
  • Difficulty finding employment in the healthcare industry
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Jail time or mandatory alcohol treatment program
  • A permanent criminal record

Reporting a DUI to IDFPR

Nurses in some instances should consider self-reporting certain arrests or convictions that could potentially jeopardize their licenses and livelihoods.

Reporting a DUI to your Employer

Review your employment handbook with an attorney to understand if you must report a DUI. In many instances, while a nurse won’t be required to report the DUI to IDFPR, once they report the DUI to their employer, their employer must then report the DUI to IDFPR.

Therefore, due diligence is necessary when considering how best to protect your career and reputation following a DUI arrest.

Strategies to Mitigate the Impact of DUI on Nursing Licensure

If you’re a nurse who has been charged with a DUI, it’s essential to take swift action to mitigate the impact on your nursing license.

Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Seek legal counsel. One of the most critical steps is to seek legal counsel from an experienced professional license defense attorney and criminal defense attorney. They can guide the legal process, advise you on the best course of action, and advocate for your rights and interests.
  2. Cooperate with the state nursing board. Be transparent and cooperative with the board throughout the process. This can demonstrate your commitment to patient safety and may result in a more favorable outcome for your case.
  3. Show responsibility and accountability. Taking responsibility for your actions and showing accountability is vital.
  4. Don’t talk. If IDFPR contacts you, tell them you are represented by counsel and your attorney will call them. Also don’t talk about your legal issues with your colleagues. Everything you say may be used against you, so say nothing.

If you are a nurse in Illinois facing a DUI charge and concerned about the impact on your nursing licensure, contact 1818 today. Our experienced professional licensed defense attorneys can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and advocate for your best interests.

With years of experience representing healthcare professionals before IDFPR, we are equipped to handle even the most complex cases.

Don’t risk your nursing license and livelihood—call now.

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas

LinkedIn | Google

Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association.