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The Effect of a DUI and Your Nursing License in Georgia

Some of the most common questions we get from Georgia nurses are:

What effect will my DUI arrest have on my Georgia Nursing License?

Can I complete my Georgia nursing license renewal with a pending DUI?

Do I have to disclose a DUI arrest to the Georgia Board of Nursing when I do my license renewal?

The Georgia Board of Nursing and DUI

The issuance and renewal of nursing licenses are the responsibility of the Georgia Board of Nursing. The Nursing Board's job is to ensure that nurses, professionals who command a position of trust, are not a danger to violate that position of trust due to a substance abuse issue.

Any sanction from criminal authorities will be carefully reviewed by the Board as it determines whether or not you are “fit to practice”.

Nurses in Georgia are required to report a DUI

Whatever you do, do not fail to disclose a DUI arrest or a DUI conviction. In other words, be transparent with the Board when applying for or renewing a nursing license. The law can be found in Title 43, Chapter 26 of the Georgia Code (titled the "Georgia Registered Professional Nurse Practice Act").

Nurses are required to renew their nursing licenses biennially (every two years). 

Under OCGA § 43-26-11 "the board shall have the authority to refuse to grant a license to an applicant, to revoke the license of a licensee, or to discipline a licensee upon a finding by the board that the applicant or licensee has: (1) Been convicted of any felony, crime involving moral turpitude, or crime violating a federal or state law relating to controlled substances or dangerous drugs in the courts of this state, any other state, territory, or country, or in the courts of the United States, including but not limited to a plea of nolo contendere entered to the charge." 

Thus, the Georgia Nursing Board can refuse application for a nursing license (or a renewal application) for: 

  • Any felony conviction
  • Any crime involving moral turpitude
  • a Federal or other State law crime related to controlled substance or dangerous drugs

Note also that even a "nolo" plea will not protect you. Nolo's are treated as guilty pleas. 

Is a DUI a "crime involving moral turpitude"?

No. Thankfully, a DUI conviction for alcohol is not a crime involving moral turpitude. And, a DUI conviction does not fall into any of these categories.

Does this mean I shouldn't report a DUI arrest or conviction?

No. In our experience it is much, much better to report it. Your honesty and demonstration of taking responsibility for the offense will likely be viewed favorably by the Board.

What will happen to my nursing license if I am convicted of a DUI?

A conviction for a DUI can result in the refusal of a new license, the revocation of a current license, or other disciplinary measures against you.

The Board will assess the circumstances of your conviction and make a judgement on a case-by-case basis.

How could a DUI affect your nursing license in Georgia?

If you are able to avoid a suspension or revocation of your nursing license, the Board may still take other (less drastic) measures. 

Several disciplinary measures may be applied, including:

  • Refusal to grant a license to a new applicant
  • Revocation of an existing nursing license
  • Suspension of a license for a definite period with restoration dependent on certain conditions being met
  • Suspension of a license for an indefinite period with restoration dependent on certain conditions being met
  • A public or private reprimand
  • Limitations or restrictions being placed on the license
  • Instruction to take up directed care, counseling or treatment for a condition
  • A fine (up to $500)

If you are charged with a DUI and are in need of a lawyer, call us at 770-249-4405

This is your life. Let us fight for it.

If you are facing criminal charges, you are in the right place. Give us a call at 770.249.4405, or send us a message.