Criminal Defense Attorneys for Nurses

When a nurse or other health-care professional is charged with a criminal offense, the stakes are even higher. Not only must the nurse, CNA, RNs, LPNs or ARNPs, find an attorney to fight the criminal charges, but the nurse might also need an attorney to help resolve licensure issues that can arise because of the accusation.

If you enter a plea to any criminal offense, then you will be required to report the result of the case, even if the court "withheld adjudication" to the board of nursing. Avoiding the need to enter a plea to the charge is extremely important.

The best way to protect your nursing license is to hire a criminal defense attorney as early in the process soon as possible. The attorney can help you fight for the absolute best result after a criminal accusation is made. 

The best resolution in these cases is getting the criminal charge dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the court. Don't agree to enter a diversion program in Fort Lauderdale or Broward County, FL, until after you have spoken to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Diversion programs, for any felony or misdemeanor, might also have serious consequences for a nurse, physician, or other health care professions. 

Attorneys for Nurses Charged with a Crime in Broward County, FL

If you are a nurse accused of a criminal offense, either a felony or a misdemeanor, then seek out the services of a criminal defense attorney experienced in representing health care professionals. 

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represent nurses, CNA, RNs, LPNs, ARNPs, and other health care professional charged with a crime in Fort Lauderdale and throughout Broward County, FL. We also represent students in nursing school who face harsh consequences to their future career when a criminal accusation occurs. 

We represent nurses charged with a variety of misdemeanor and felony charges including: 

Call for a free and confidential consultation. We can help you understand the pending charges, the best defenses to fight the charges, and the best ways to avoid the typical penalties in these types of cases. Call (954) 716-8538 today to discuss your case. 


Applying for a Nursing License in Florida with a Criminal Conviction

When you apply for a nursing license, you should be careful to answer all questions completely. Leaving out information can, under some circumstances, be considered an untrue answer by the Board of Nursing. The most common problems including failing to disclose a prior conviction of a crime. You must report any conviction which includes an adjudication of guilt or a withhold of adjudication for a case resolved in Florida. Other states use the term "deferred adjudication" or similar terms. One of the most common mistakes that we see is a nurse failing to disclose a case resolved with a

You must report any conviction which includes an adjudication of guilt or a withhold of adjudication for a case resolved in Florida. Other states use the term "deferred adjudication" or similar terms. 

One of the most common mistakes that we see is a nurse failing to disclose a case resolved with a "no contest" plea for a "withhold of adjudication." Although not considered a "conviction" for some purposes under Florida, even a withhold of adjudication MUST be disclosed in the same way as a conviction with an adjudication of guilt imposed by the court even if the criminal record was later sealed. 

If you entered a plea in front of the judge, you must disclose the offense. Even a conviction, regardless of adjudication, for violation of a county ordinance or city ordinance or municipal ordinance must be disclosed if the offense could have resulted in jail time (even though jail time is rarely imposed for ordinance violations). 

Another common problem occurs when a drug or alcohol related offense leads to the decision to voluntarily complete an alcohol or drug rehabilitation or treatment. This fact must be disclosed even through the criminal charge that prompted the decision to seek treatment was dropped outright by the prosecutor, dropped after the completion of a diversion program, or was dismissed by the court. 

For instance, some people are required to complete DUI school which includes an alcohol and drug evaluation and follow-up treatment. Talk with an attorney about the particular facts of your case is you attended DUI school and submitted to either an evaluation or treatment even if your charges were "nol filed," dropped, dismissed or you obtained a "not guilty" verdict at trial on the underlying criminal case. 

Read the question carefully. You should not volunteer information not required by the question, but at the same time, you must answer the question truthfully and fully. If the question asks you about a prior felony conviction, then you do not have to disclose civil violations for traffic offenses such as speeding or running a red light. You would not even need to disclose a misdemeanor conviction if the question applied only to a "felony conviction." But if you were ever charged with a felony offense and are unsure about the final disposition, you should obtain a certified copy of the final disposition and have your attorney review it with you to explain your reporting requirements. 

You would not even need to disclose a misdemeanor conviction if the question applied only to a "felony conviction." But if you were ever charged with a felony offense and are unsure about the final disposition, you should obtain a certified copy of the final disposition and have your attorney review it with you to explain your reporting requirements. 

If you fail to disclose information, it will probably be discovered later. Keep in mind that failing to provide the requirement information can also be grounds for the denial of an application. If the application is approved and the failure to disclose information is later discovered, this can be grounds for the Florida Board of Nursing to take action no matter how many years have passed since the application was submitted. 

You must also disclose if you had a professional license in another state that ws suspended or revoked or if you were subject to another type of discipline. 

An attorney focused on representing nurses, physicians and other health care professionals in Fort Lauderdale or Broward County, FL, who have been charged with a criminal offense, can help you determine the best way to answer these questions on the application for the nursing license or to renew the license.


Notice to Appear Before the Credentials Committee

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. also represent clients who receive a notice that they must appear before the If  you  receive  notice  that  you  must  appear   Credentials Committee of the Board of Nursing. At these hearings, the Credentials Committee will address any concerns that the Board of Nursing has about your application. 

Those concerns often involve a prior criminal record, a prior disciplinary action against an out of state license, prior drug or alcohol abuse, or the fact that you sought out drug and alcohol counseling in the past. An experienced attorney can help you determine the best way to address the issues that will be raised at the hearing. 

At the hearing, the Credentials Committee may require the nurse to appear and answer questions about any of the following issues: 

  1. the nurse must be completely truthfulness when answering questions on the application;
  2. the failure to disclose required information on a question;
  3. the failure to disclose the fact that a criminal conviction (for a misdemeanor, felony or ordinance violation) occurred regardless of whether an adjudication occurred or not and regardless of whether a guilty or "no contest" plea was entered;
  4. information about something disclosed on the application related to a prior criminal arrest, conviction, or treatment;
  5. any issue that reflects on the ability of the nurse to practice nursing. 

An experienced attorney in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County, FL, can help you prepare for the hearing and gather any documents necessarily to correctly answer any questions. 

In some cases, you may be required to submit to an evaluation by the Intervention Project for Nurses or IPN, before going to the hearing. After the hearing, the Credentials Committee will make recommendations to the Board of Nursing at a meeting. The Board of Nursing will often follow that recommendation.

If the Board of Nursing agrees with a recommendation against granting a license, then you have certain rights to request a formal administrative hearing as provided for in the Florida Administrative Procedure Act (APA).  

The application requires you to report any conviction after a guilty plea or a plea of no contest. You are not required to disclose minor traffic violations that were not related to the use of alcohol or drugs. The most common offenses are driving under the influence after a BAC over .08, driving under the influence of any chemical or controlled substance, DUI with a refusal to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, felony drug charges, misdemeanor drug charges for the possession of marijuana and/or drug paraphernalia. 

You must report the conviction regardless of whether you entered a guilty or "no contest" plea. You must report the conviction even if it occurred out of the state or out of the country. 

If you truthfully report the felony or misdemeanor, you may still be able to obtain a license to be a nurse. The Board of Nursing considers several factors in making this determination including: 

  1. the facts of the case;
  2. the seriousness of the charge;
  3. any efforts to rehabilitate yourself after the offense; and
  4. any drug or alcohol treatment received. 

An attorney can help you gather the documents that you will need to include with the application if you have a prior criminal record including: 

  1. certified official court documents;
  2. police reports and other discovery material;
  3. a certified final copy of the judgment and sentence;
  4. the charging documents;
  5. the probable cause statement or criminal report affidavit;
  6.  the docket;
  7. the order of probation;
  8. documents related to entering a misdemeanor or felony diversion program. 

It is important to start the application process as soon as possible if you know that you will be required to disclose a prior arrest or disciplinary action because you will not be allowed to practice nursing until you are cleared by the Board of Nursing staff and reviewed by the board. If you fail to disclose any information, then your temporary permit might be revoked pending the national background screening process.


Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Nurses in Fort Lauderdale, FL

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale representing nursing professions and CNAs throughout Broward County, FL, in their quest to obtain a certificate or to continue practicing nursing or as a CNA, RNs, LPNs or ARNPs. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. are criminal defense attorneys who represent nurses and other health care professionals accused of engaging in activities that would subject them to discipline. Any criminal charge, whether a felony or misdemeanor or ordinance violation can subject the nurse to discipline by the Board of Nursing.

Any criminal charge, whether a felony or misdemeanor or ordinance violation can subject the nurse to discipline by the Board of Nursing. If you were charged with a crime, then let us put our experience to work for you to help you protect your good name and continue in your chosen profession.


Additional Resources

Intervention Project for Nurses - IPN helps to ensure public health and safety by providing swift intervention and close monitoring and advocacy of nurses whose practice may be impaired due to the use, misuse, or abuse of alcohol or drugs, or a mental and/or physical condition. Authorized by Florida Statute, Chapter 464/456, IPN helps nurses whose practice is affected by a drug or alcohol addiction. IPN also advocates for the nurse who has completed treatment when the nurse appears before the Florida Board of Nursing so that the nursing license can be maintained. 


 

This article was last updated on Friday, November 4, 2016.

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