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FAQ for Nurses in Michigan Charged with OWI

Jan 15, 2020, by Maurice Davis in OWI
Nurse who was charged with OWI

A drunk driving conviction can put your nursing career at risk. The Michigan Board of Nursing may take disciplinary action against you, such as refusing to renew your license if you have multiple charges for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), or even a single OWI charge if it involves serious aggravating circumstances. If you are fortunate enough to evade discipline from the Board of Nursing, you may still find your career options severely limited because of the OWI conviction on your publicly available criminal record. For these reasons, it may be in your best interests to fight your drunk driving charges if you want to protect your career.

Most people plead guilty to their OWI charges, because it avoids the expense and hassle of going to trial, and often involves the guarantee of a lenient sentence or a conviction for a lesser offense. But you should also keep in mind the collateral consequences of having a criminal conviction on your record. For many licensed professionals, this can cause serious employment issues down the road. If you are a nurse facing OWI charges, call Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238 or our online contact form for a free consultation about your legal options.

Should Nurses Plead Guilty to OWI Charges?

The answer to this question depends on the facts and circumstances specific to your case. But what always holds true is that if the prosecutor offers you a plea deal, you should consider the following factors: the strength of the prosecutor’s evidence, your chances of winning at trial, the effect a criminal conviction will have on your job, the number of prior OWI convictions you have, and the possibility of negotiating better terms to the plea deal.

An experienced lawyer can help you weigh these factors and make the best decision. For nurses and other licensed professionals, a criminal conviction for a substance related offense can have unpleasant repercussions, so they have more reason than most to reject a plea agreement and fight their OWI charges.

Will the Board of Nursing Discipline me for OWI?

The board of nursing will discipline you for a drunk driving charge, but only in rare cases will they go so far as to suspend your license. The most likely scenario is an official reprimand, and the obligation to attend a substance abuse evaluation and possible counseling. You may be able to avoid the expense and time commitment of substance abuse counseling if you present the results of an independent substance abuse risk evaluation to the nursing board.

Do I Need to Report my OWI to the Nursing Board?

You absolutely need to report your drunk driving conviction to the Board of Nursing. In fact, a failure to report an OWI conviction is the most likely reason your nursing license might get suspended. But you do not have to report a drunk driving charge. So as long as you win your case, you can avoid the issue of your licensing board learning about your OWI. If you get convicted of OWI, one the other hand, you have 30 days to inform the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs by filling out this form.

Will the Nursing Board Suspend My License for DUI?

Except in cases involving multiple convictions, or convictions involving aggravating circumstances such as an OWI causing injury, it’s very rare for the nursing board to suspend a nurse’s license after a drunk driving conviction. Usually, suspensions only occur after a third OWI conviction, so most second-time offenders are safe–although they will almost certainly have to complete a substance abuse treatment program. The most common reason for a suspension, as noted above, is the failure to report a criminal conviction within 30 days of judgement.

Call Davis Law Group Today for Help

Since you do not need to report an OWI charge to the state licensing authority, nurses and other licensed professionals have a real incentive to fight their criminal charges. Accepting a plea deal means the certainty of having to report your drunk driving to the nursing board and having to contend with potential disciplinary action. If you are facing OWI charges, call Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238 or our online contact form for your free consultation about the possible defenses to your case.